With the flood of new drugs available, it can be hard to understand the dangers and know the signs. Everyone knows street drugs are dangerous — and illegal. However, many prescription and even over-the-counter drugs can be dangerous when not used according to dosing instructions and for the medical conditions for which they were intended.
If you suspect someone you love is addicted to drugs or using them in a way they aren’t intended for, it’s crucial to seek help as soon as possible.
Signs of Drug Use
Knowing how to tell if someone is on drugs is important in recognizing and potentially intervening in a dangerous situation. There are certain physical drug addiction symptoms you can look for, such as:
- Extreme feelings of euphoria or relaxation — the “high”
- Increase in blood pressure and heart rate
- Unexplained vomiting
You might notice some other changes in your loved one as well, including:
- Poor School or Work Performance. Drug addiction turns your focus away from the important things in your life and makes drugs the center of your universe. Someone suffering from addiction spends more and more time getting high and recovering. Work and school will noticeably suffer from a lack of attention.
- Borrowing or Asking for Money. Young adults, especially college students, tend to be short on cash anyway, but drug addiction will intensify that financial need. Addiction means an ever-increasing need to get drugs at a complete disregard for the budget. Someone becomes so focused on getting the drugs they crave that they will spend their rent money or food budget for the week if they have to.
- Unexplained Injuries. People often engage in risky behaviors when they are under the influence of drugs, and sometimes they get hurt. For example, an addict may not even remember how they got a bruise or cut, and they are certainly not going to want to explain it if she does. As drug use escalates, the number of unexplained injuries may, too.
- Severe Mood Swings. Everyone has their ups and downs, but drug addicts experience violent mood swings. You may notice your loved one is elated one day and nearly catatonic the next. He or she may become irritable and pugnacious very quickly. The high moods in addicts can most likely be attributed to the drugs. When your loved one is craving another dose, their mood will most likely be depressed or grumpy.
- Unusual Social Behavior. People who are addicted to drugs tend to be ashamed of their behavior, although they may be powerless to stop it. They may withdraw from social situations and spend more time alone than usual. They may also become secretive, and hide their activities and whereabouts from you and others who care about them. It’s possible they’ll pull away from their usual friends and begin spending time with new people who are part of their new drug culture as well.
These are some warning signs that someone you love may be addicted to drugs. Often, a person addicted to drugs doesn’t even realize the addiction and does not believe that they have a problem. Be assured, though, that any type of drug abuse or addiction is a problem, and the sooner it is addressed the more successful recovery will be.
How to Help a Loved One Who Is Using Drugs
When someone you love is taking drugs, you want to help in any way you can — but it can be difficult to know where to begin. You might begin by talking about the unusual behaviors you see and offering your love and acceptance no matter what the problem is.
Getting someone you care about to admit that they have an addiction is the first step, and seeking help is the second. When your loved one is ready to seek professional help for their addictions and any co-occurring mental health issues, contacting an inpatient addiction treatment center may be their best option for recovery.
Brookhaven Retreat is a mental health and addiction treatment center for women. Contact us today to start your loved one on the path to recovery and healing.