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Warning Signs That a Loved One Is Abusing Drugs

Posted on :  October 9th, 2014  |  By :  towardsrecovery

The signs of drug abuse are not always apparent, even if the person is a loved one and is living in the same household. Substance abuse often remains a secret, and people devise numerous ways to conceal their symptoms and hide their drug problem. If you are concerned that a loved one is abusing drugs, look for some of the following warning signs:

Changes in Behaviour

Behavioural changes are symptomatic of substance abuse, and they are not always easy to hide.

  • There are changes in work or school attendance. If your loved one is missing work or skipping school, this could indicate a drug problem, particularly if the individual denies doing so. Feigned or unexplainable illness is also a common excuse.
  • Incidents of trouble are on the rise. Whether it is getting into arguments, physical altercations or actual trouble with the law, take heed. It could be a result of drug abuse.
  • Sudden, often unexplained financial problems occur. If your friend or family member has a sudden need for cash or always seems broke, be aware. It could signal money being spent on a drug habit, particularly if there is no other apparent explanation for the lack of funds.
  • There is a sudden change in friends and activities. Has your loved one been hanging out with a different crowd lately? Perhaps he or she no longer frequents the same places or enjoys the same hobbies. This conduct could signal a problem as well.
  • Suspicious behaviour occurs. If you notice any strange, secretive or suspicious behaviour, it could also signal drug abuse. Follow your instincts.

Physical signs and symptoms

Aside from behavioural issues, there are also physical signs and symptoms that indicate a potential drug problem.

  • Impairment in motor skills. Drugs affect one’s motor skills or muscle movement. Look for things like faulty coordination, shakiness and tremors or slurred speech.
  • Neglecting personal appearance. If your loved one has been lax in personal grooming habits, or no longer takes pride in his or her appearance, it could be a cause for concern.
  • There are changes in eating and sleeping patterns. Substance abuse can result in sudden weight loss or gain, as well as appetite changes. Also be mindful of differences in sleep patterns.
  • There are changes in the eyes. The eyes are not only the windows to the soul; they can indicate a drug problem. Bloodshot eyes or extreme changes in pupil dilation (either smaller or larger) are warning signs.
  • Unusual body odors are detected. If you notice unusual smells on your loved one’s clothing, body or breath they could also be clues.

Psychological changes

Finally, substance abuse results in some observable psychological changes. These are just a few of the most common signs.

Displays of anxiety, fear or paranoia happen for no apparent reason. Watch for unusual displays of these emotions. They are often signs of drug-induced hallucinations or other effects.

Frequent periods of lethargy occur. If your loved one frequently appears lethargic or “spaced out,” with no reasonable explanation, it is a likely warning sign of substance abuse.

Mood swings occur more frequently. Barring issues like hormonal changes or other logical reasons, if you notice sudden emotional outbursts or mood swings, be mindful.

Sudden bouts of hyperactivity or silliness occur. Aside from the lows of lethargy, substance abusers often exhibit periods of hyperactivity, giddiness and extreme agitation.

There are sudden personality changes. Finally, if you notice something “off” about your friend or family member, it could signal a problem. Sudden personality changes or a change in attitude often result from drug use.

You probably know your loved one pretty well and can tell if things don’t seem quite right with him or her. Trust your instincts when dealing with your friend or family member, but also be aware of the warning signs of substance abuse. Sometimes we are so close to those we love that we fail to notice issues right away.

If you’d like to learn more about understanding a loved one’s drug abuse and addiction, and live in or around Hamilton, St. Catharines, or Brantford, Ontario, you can make the first step by contacting Towards Recovery on 519-579-0589 to locate your nearest clinic and kick start your journey.

Make sure you have an unexpired OHIP card or call 1-866-532-3161 to find out how to get one.

Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.
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