7 Signs Someone Has An Illicit Drug Use Addiction

Illicit drug use is one of the biggest addictions that people can get caught up in. Here are 7 signs to help you decipher if someone you may know is suffering through drug addiction.

Do you know someone that may have a problem with illicit drug use?

You aren't alone.

The Pew Research Center estimates that nearly 46% of all adults in the United States have a family member or close friend addicted to drugs.

If you suspect someone you know could be struggling with drug addiction, we're here to help.

A Note On Signs and Symptoms

For this post, we're going to focus on more behavioural signs than physical symptoms.

Different kinds of drugs have different effects on people. Someone that's abusing methamphetamine will have different symptoms from someone that's abusing opioids.

Signs like excessive drowsiness or intense bouts of energy can be near sure signs of drug addiction, but there are more subtle signs that someone is struggling with addiction.

Some of these symptoms may be more pronounced than others depending on the drug being abused. If you suspect any signs and symptoms of addiction, don't hesitate to reach out to your friend.

Signs Of Illicit Drug Use

It's important to note that acknowledging addictive behaviors and opening up to help can be difficult. Your friend, co-worker, or loved one may not be ready to deal with their problems.

If you notice someone exhibiting the following symptoms, don't be afraid to reach out to an intervention specialist for help. They can help you find ways to talk about addiction in a helpful manner.

1. Reclusive Or Excessively Private Behavior

Everyone is entitled to their privacy, but sometimes people can take this to an extreme level.

Do you notice your friend getting defensive when you ask simple questions about their day or how they spend their weekend? Do they seem reluctant to talk in general, or to share details about how they spend their time?

Try to take notice of how they spend their day. Do they spend a lot of time behind closed or locked doors? Are they spending excessive time in the bathroom, or find excuses to be alone from others?

All of these could be signs of drug addiction. Drug use can be very isolating. Many addicts are compelled to hide their behavior from others.

2. A Change In Routine

When people struggle with drug addiction, their daily routines can change to accommodate their illicit drug use.

See if this person seems to be late for work or school often. Take notice of if they keep finding excuses to leave work or class early, or if they try to not attend usual social obligations.

3. A Change In Appearance

Drug use can start to take a toll on people physically. Sometimes as people's addictions get worse, their outer appearance starts to deteriorate with their health.

Does this person look more tired than usual? Has the color gone out of their cheeks? Do they seem sweaty or feel clammy?

These can all be signs of a drug addiction.

Sometimes addiction can be so bad that people can start to look physically ill. Look for signs of sallow or yellowish skin or hair loss.

There can also be other more obvious physical signs that can be potential signs that someone is struggling with addiction. Scars from picking at skin, track marks, bruises, or extensive dental problems can be caused by addiction.

4. Erratic Behavior

Erratic or strange behavior are common signs of drug abuse. This behavior goes beyond a change in routine, this can be troubling or disturbing to see.

Someone may become very energetic and may be close to seeming manic. They may be eager to take on a lot of tasks or do physical work when they're normally calm people.

The opposite side of this can also be true. Someone abusing opiates may seem very lethargic or sleepy. Sometimes they may fall asleep or seem disoriented or unable to pay attention to conversations.

Mood swings can also be a sign of addiction. Someone may be very happy and energic one moment, then angry and closed off the next. Excessive laughter or weeping can be a sign of intoxication.

5. Apathy

Your friend used to love working out in the morning, but now they barely find time to go to the gym. Your spouse used to attend every PTO meeting and soccer game, but now they can barely remember when they are.

Changes in behavior are troubling, but a general sense of apathy can be just as bad.

When people struggle with addiction, they may not feel interested in things that used to make them happy. People losing interest in things they used to enjoy can be a sign of addiction.

6. Discovery Of Paraphernalia

Things like needles, syringes, water pipes, or rolling papers can be sure signs that someone is abusing drugs. But sometimes drug paraphernalia can be harder to spot.

Identifying drug paraphernalia can be difficult if you aren't familiar with drug use methods. Many people use common household objects to help their drug habits.

A burnt spoon could be the result of a cooking accident, but it could also be a sign that someone is using the spoons to make drugs easy to inject.

Staws, mirrors, or razor blades can be found in most houses, but finding them together can be a sign that someone is using them for drugs.

7. Unexplained Financial Problems

Your friend is currently employed and earns a good salary, but they always seem to be short on money. They constantly ask you for small loans, and they struggle to pay back what they take.

You notice that your bank account balance is lower than it should be and that your spouse keeps making multiple cash withdrawals.

These may be signs of people that are bad with money, but they can also be signs that your spouse is abusing drugs.

Drug use can cost a lot of money over time. Eventually, as addictions grow, people will need to spend more money to keep their supply up. This can cause people to go to desperate lengths to keep their addiction funded.

Next Steps

Do you suspect that you know someone with illicit drug use problems after reading this post?

We're here to help.

Find a rehab center by you and reach out for additional help. In case your friend comes to you, be sure to read our post on what to do when a friend reaches out for help.