Six Hidden Signs of Drug Use
Addiction and drug use are stigmatized topics. As such, if a family member or loved one is suffering from addiction, they will not necessarily tell you. Many people whose occasional drug use has gotten out of control are not even aware of it themselves. If you are concerned about someone you care about, here are some warning signs that might indicate hidden or problem use.
Some drugs require specific items to use them. These can be more or less obvious depending on the drug and the level of secrecy surrounding its use. For example, bongs, glass pipes, and grinders all indicate marijuana use. However, a user also might only use cigarette papers – a sign that households with cigarette smokers might overlook.
Some injected drugs require “cooking” before use, which is done over a small flame or lighter. Missing or burnt spoons and bottle caps in your loved one’s room may indicate this long before you see a syringe or cotton ball. Cutting surfaces such as mirrors or glass and instruments like razor blades can suggest use of a powdered drug. Prescription bottles from multiple doctors are a significant warning sign in people with addictive medication.
2. Physical Changes
If your loved one is taking a substance in private, you may notice changes in their physical appearance, especially after being away on their own. Many drugs have side effects that are recognizable in the user’s face during or after intoxication. Watch out for:
- Flushed or washed out color
- Bloodshot eyes
- Dilated or pinpoint pupils
- Slurred speech
Long term, you might see more considerable changes. Many drugs kill appetite, which you may notice as rapid or persistent weight loss. It gets harder to take care of yourself overall when you’re struggling with drug abuse, so personal grooming may also start to fall by the wayside.
3. Changes in Schedule
Many commonly abused drugs affect people’s sleep rhythms and alertness, making it difficult to keep their regular routine. As a result, your loved one might start keeping odd hours – staying up late or getting tired at unusual times during the day.
4. Mood Changes
Emotional dysregulation is a common side effect of many addictions. This makes it much harder for a person struggling with substance abuse to deal with challenging feelings and conversations they were once able to cope with.
Moreover, periods of highs and withdrawal will come with drastic shifts in positive and negative emotions. For example, waves of irritability or anxiety following a calm or euphoric mood can be a distressing but telling sign.
5. Relationship Changes
Drug abuse is also likely to put stress on relationships, as changes in emotionality and mood swings start to take their toll. At the same time, your loved one may be suffering from guilt due to their behavior or fear of you discovering their addiction.
When addiction takes over, many people become far more secretive and isolated than before, and their friendship circles may change. Your loved one may get defensive when asked with whom or where they have been.
6. Loss of Interest
When substance use disorder develops, people find their interest in the things they enjoy rapidly declining. Addictions, both physical and psychological, are constantly distracting. Addiction comes with obsessive thoughts and planning around access, use, and recuperating from using the drug. Because of this, it becomes more challenging to engage with hobbies, relationships, work, and school. You might see this as falling through on plans, not practicing, or keeping up hobbies, and feelings of distance when you’re together.
Treatment at Enlightened Solutions
It can be hard to accept that a loved one struggles with addiction, but you don’t have to watch them waste away. Enlightened Solutions is a holistic detox treatment center founded to help people begin their journey to recovery. Our intervention specialists are here to help you start the conversation, and when your loved one is ready, our center on the New Jersey shore is a place they can come to take back control. For more information on detox and intervention, please call us today at 833-233-7336.