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Signs of Drug Abuse, Dependency and Addiction

How to recognize signs of drug abuse and addiction

The answer is not a simple one, especially in the initial phase of drug consumption when neither the psychological nor the physical health of a person haven’t been disrupted, and they’re still trying to keep old habits and leave the impression that everything is fine. If you suspect that you or someone you love is having a problem with substance abuse, there’s a list of universally accepted symptoms.

According to the World Drug Report, 29.5 million people worldwide suffer from drug use disorders. Even the first use of an illicit drug qualifies as drug abuse. It usually starts willfully, and most commonly due to curiosity, boredom, stress or depression. Addiction is a strong urge to obtain the use of illicit drugs regardless of the consequences, and it’s a product of prolonged drug abuse.

If you suspect that someone close to you is under the influence of drugs, you are not alone. Around eight percent of employed adults have issues with substance abuse, and this is thousands and thousands of people, some of them you might be seeing on a daily basis.  Knowing the most common warning signs of drug abuse creates a better chance to address the problem before it turns into addiction.

Signs of Drug Abuse


Eyes are mirrors of the soul. This proverb has been around for ages, and for a reason. It’s easy to recognize eyes of someone who has substance abuse issues. They’re red most of the time, with a glazed appearance. The majority of substances dilate the pupils to let more light in.

Personal hygiene

One of the common signs of drug dependency is gradual decline in personal hygiene and appearance. It’s not that a person forgets to shower or shave. It becomes irrelevant. In later stages of addiction, a person often lives in a house full of garbage.


The body of a person addicted to drugs is often full of inexplicable marks and bruises. Drug abuse affects the skin in several ways. It can be that someone is using drugs intravenously, so the marks are either on their arms or other and more hidden locations on the body. People using crystal meth often develop sores on their skin because of the itching. Crack causes burns on the fingers and mouth of a user. If the bruises are large, it can be from losing balance and falling down. Intoxicated person is very likely to become injured.

Sudden changes in weight

Drug abuse makes people gain or lose weight, depending on the type of drug a person is using. Marijuana makes people lazier and develops food cravings, especially craving for sweets.

Stimulant drugs such as crystal meth or cocaine often lead to losing weight because they reduce the appetite, sometimes evento a point where an addicted person stops eating completely. Any sudden and significant weight change may be due to drug abuse, so pay attention if you notice it in someone close.

Behavioral changes


Substance abuse changes a personality too. From someone shy and quiet, a person suddenly goes out a lot, has a group of friends and starts partying. Most addictive drugs result in pleasure and euphoria, and this is the reason why most people continue the use.

After the initial feeling of euphoria subsides, a person becomes irritable, angry, anxious, sometimes even depressed. We all have bad days when we can’t fully engage in work or even family, but if a person has more “off days” than good days for no apparent reason, it might be the sign of drug abuse that’s slowly becoming an addiction.


Having new routines with new people is a common behavioral sign of substance abuse, but losing old acquaintances too.  Temper outburst and similar shifts in communication in people that were once calm and becoming more guarded can mean that the person is trying to hide substance abuse.

Criminal activity

A person becoming dependant on drugs suddenly needs more money than usual. They may engage in criminal activity to get obtain money. If you have someone close who has unexplained need for more and more money, or you notice that you’re missing some valuable possessions, it might be the sign you’re having someone close who’s becoming an addict.

Importance of treating the addiction in a supervised detox facility

People with addiction are afraid of detox facilities because they may seem like a torture. They don’t know how withdrawing from addictive substances looks like as the majority has never tried it. Or even if they did try to quit on their own, at home environment may have been so harsh that they gave up fast. Fear of the unknown is among the most potent fears out there, and able to prevent individuals from accomplishing important things in life.

That’s why we’re trying to inform population about the benefits of professional detox facilities and how important is to be monitored by professionals when trying to go drug-free. When you or someone dear to you signs for a detoxification in our facility, our team of specialists approaches them with a specialized detoxification plan, since everyone’s addiction level and health condition is different. We then figure out what are the best options for any person that comes to our facility, and make a personalized treatment program that a person is able to follow.

To remain drug-free, it’s important to enroll in a treatment program that involves psychological counseling. Therapy sessions with a psychiatrist can help to determine what led an individual to the addictive substances in the first place. Therapy recognizes triggers, whether emotional or environmental and helps to modify the old thought patterns and behaviors.

A person who displays most of the symptoms listed above is very likely to have a substance abuse issue. As long as there’s motivation to quit using drugs, recovery is possible.