Shoreline Sober Living, San Diego, CA
Early warning signs of drug use

Drug addiction will often begin with individuals merely experimenting with substances in a social setting. No one ever tries drugs with the intentions of becoming addicted; however, many are unaware of how strong the chemicals within specific drugs like cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and more can be on the body and mind.

Figuring out if your loved one is abusing either for the first time or relapsing can be a challenging situation to be in, especially if they are a young adult. Many symptoms and signs that a typical adult will experience can include possible mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. While this does not confirm that your loved one has a drug addiction, it can be an indication.

It is vital to know the symptoms and signs of a drug addict; the substance can quickly change the individual’s visual appearance and how they act and feel, and express their emotions. Thankfully, you can look out for sure signs that a loved one has become addicted to drugs through observing their subtle common signs.


Early physical symptoms of drug users 

There are a variety of common physical signs that communicate an individual has succumb to drug abuse; these can include the following:

  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Interrupted sleep patterns or insomnia
  • Sudden weight loss and visible fatigue
  • Sudden change in skin complexion
  • Bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils
  • Slurred speech
  • Dry mouth

Individually these symptoms are not necessarily directedly associated with an individual abusing, however, if you notice two or more of these physical symptoms there is a high possibility that the individual is substance using. If these symptoms progressively worsen over time, and you begin to observe more of the symptoms, the likelihood is that the drug addict would have been abusing for a good couple of weeks, if not months.


Changes in behaviour 

In addition to the various physical changes an individual may portray, a person who abuses drugs may also begin to act abnormally. There are three main behaviour signs that we would suggest you look out for if you are suspicious your loved one may be abusing:

Financial distress: The majority of illicit drugs can be rather expensive; an individual abusing drugs may need to start borrowing money without reason. They may also begin to cut back on expenses and start selling their belongings to ensure they have enough money.

Secretive behaviour: If an individual begins to withdrawal from family, friends and social situations, this could be an indication that the individual is abusing.

Ignoring all responsibilities: Early signs of a drug addict will often avoid their usual duties such as going to work, school, taking care of their kids, cleaning the home etc.


Changes in an individual’s performance 

The last set of signs to watch out for is concerning their performance. When they begin abusing again, many individuals will not be performing as well within their careers or just day-to-day jobs. An individual’s mind will become preoccupied with the thought of abusing again, which can lead to poor decision making and an increase in conflicts either with managers at work or friends and family.

Many drug abusers are considered “high functioning”. This allows the individual to consume the drug but still perform at a high level; however, these employees are costly to businesses in many ways. While the company’s turn over rate may increase, the likelihood of the drug-addicted individual stealing company property, increased absenteeism due to being ill, and inappropriate behaviour will also significantly increase.

Theft in the workplace can often be the ultimate give away within a person’s performance that the individual may be abusing. Stealing items either from the workplace, family or friends is a vital sign that the individual requires money to most likely fund a recent addiction.


You will need to act quickly and efficiently

If left untreated, drug abuse can have devastating harmful effects on the individual’s body and mind.  Negatively affecting almost all parts of the individual’s life, from relationships with family members to falling behind in work or school, there often can be profound consequences. If you believe your loved one is substance-abusing, you will need to figure out how to approach the situation with love and without any form of the blame on either yourself or the individual.


What to do it you identify these early sign of a drug abuser

Signs and symptoms of drug abuse rarely exist on their own; if you have been observing an individual for a duration of time and have acknowledged several of these signs and symptoms, then you may need to begin figuring out how to address the issue. It can be a challenging situation to be in; you must communicate your concern for the individual health and well-being in a calm and comforting manner.

You must reach out to the individual to stop them from possibly falling deeper; below, we have highlighted a few steps that you can take to create an intervention plan:

  • Invite close family and friends who you trust will not negatively impact the process
  • Work with a professional interventionist to help you communicate in the correct manner.
  • Plan ahead with what you are going to say. You will need to make sure that there are no outbursts of emotions as this could encourage the individual to run away from the situation.

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Shoreline Sober Living has been providing evidence-based substance abuse treatment for individuals who have relapsed or succumb to a life of drugs. Here we will prove professional guidance and support to ensure you are set on the right trajectory to achieve your personal goals and long-term sobriety.