It’s important to understand that drug addiction does not discriminate based on socioeconomic status. It can affect anyone and manifests in varying degrees of intensity. Often, the most long-term and damaging addictions are unknown to anyone but the individual’s closest friends and family. If you think that a loved one is struggling with addiction, there are several signs that can help ground your suspicions.
The first thing to look for are physical signs. While different drugs trigger different physical responses, there are several symptoms that are universal. These include bloodshot eyes and pupil dilation, unkempt appearance and lack of hygiene, sudden weight loss or weight gain, bodily tremors or slurred speech, and runny noses.
Many people struggling with addiction also display behavioral abnormalities. These are easiest for family members of addicts to identify because they are familiar with the individual’s standard behavior. These may include neglecting responsibilities for questionable reasons, an unexplained need for money, uncharacteristic legal troubles, and engaging in secretive behavior.
It’s also possible to identify psychological signs that suggest substance abuse. These may include an uptick in anxiety or depression, unexplained mood swings, unusual bouts of energy or lethargy, and/or paranoia.