Signs of a Drug Problem

drug problem

Drug addiction is a serious problem that can only be treated if the addict is ready to make a change. Often, a person may not even realize they have a drug problem until things progress to a low point. If you think you or a family member may have a problem with substance abuse, there is help available. For those who are unsure if their loved one is suffering from an addiction, or if they have a mental health problem, there are a few signs of drug addiction to look out for.

Signs of a Drug Problem

How Does Drug Addiction Happen?

Drug addiction most often starts with social drug experimentation. Addiction can also occur when a person is given prescription drugs for health reasons but continues to take them after they are healed. All substances have the potential of being abuses, but some of them have a higher instance of causing dependency than others. The earlier drug abuse is identified, the easier it will be to treat. All habitual drug use carries with it common and easy signs to spot. Many drugs also have unique signs that occur only with that particular substance.

Common Signs of Drug Abuse

Knowing the signs is one of the best ways to identify if you or someone you love needs help. Some of the most common signs are;

  • Lack of interest in grooming.
  • Difficulties at work or school.
  • Poor performance at school or work.
  • Lack of interest in regular activities and hobbies.
  • Declining work reviews or grades.
  • Sudden changes in behavior.
  • Drastic relationship changes.
  • An increased but sudden need for privacy.
  • Very low energy levels.
  • Poor general health.
  • Increased or decreased appetite.
  • Sudden problems with financial management.
  • Constantly borrowing money without legitimate cause.
  • Changes in skin tone and eye health.

These are only some signs of drug abuse. Many of these signs may also be related to health, depression, or mental health concerns and not drug abuse. Some people may also be able to hide their drug use more effectively than others. There are more signs and symptoms to keep an eye out for depending on the substance being abused. Luckily, there are treatment programs available to help those who suffer from substance use disorders.

Signs of Drug Abuse In Adolescents

Adolescents and adults alike may struggle with drug abuse, however, it may be harder to spot. Children and teens are generally moody, simply because they are going through life changes. If you notice even more changes outside of their usual range, it is a good idea to pay attention. Some common signs of drug use in adolescents; are increased hostility, depression, lethargy, and withdrawal from social activities. As with adults, these are also signs of other problems such as mental health issues, bullying, or even sexual abuse.

When the signs above are paired with other behaviors, it is most likely due to substance abuse. Adolescents who change peer groups suddenly and also start missing classes or going to school altogether generally are struggling with drug abuse. Sudden changes in eating and sleeping habits are also a key sign that something is amiss. There are many slang terms for most drugs, pay attention if your child starts to use them more often. If you think your child may have a problem, it is critical to intervene as soon as possible.

Drug Specific Signs Of Abuse

Most drugs have specific behaviors. Knowing these behaviors is a good way to spot when a person is suffering from drug abuse. If you notice one or more of these signs, consider reaching out to your loved one or a professional for help with addiction. Types of drugs include:

Club Drugs

Club drugs such as GHB, ketamine, and ecstasy have risen in popularity in recent years. They often cause excessive sweating, poor coordination, slurred speech, raised body temperature, and teeth clenching.


Stimulants come in many forms, from cocaine to speed and other over-the-counter options. They usually cause aggression, rambling, boosted energy levels, dilated pupils, and an increased rate of breathing. Regular use can lead to paranoia and hostility. Snorting stimulants damages the nasal passages which often leads to unresolved congestion.


Marijuana may be legal in most of the country, but many people suffer from addiction to the drug. Signs of frequent use are increased appetite, slower reactions, paranoia, and lethargy.

Benzodiazepines and Barbiturates

Benzodiazepines and barbiturates are usually given to people who suffer from sleep disorders or anxiety. Dependence and abuse of these drugs are often accidental but can lead to a serious addiction. Signs of abuse are issues with balance, confusion, involuntary eye movements, and depression.


Hallucinogens can cause impulsive actions, sensitivity to noise, and the inability to feel pain. Twitching of the muscles is also common. Opioids can lead to memory loss, difficulty with concentration, lethargy, and constant issues with digestion. Mood swings are also a common problem with both Opioids and Hallucinogens.

Blue Sky Counseling Omaha

I, Carly Spring, M.S., LIMHP, LADC, CPC, offer my specialized expertise to assist in the healing process to anyone who may be experiencing and suffering from a vast spectrum of mental health issues such as behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, grief, loss, trauma, addiction issues, and life transitions. I believe strongly in applying a holistic perspective addressing your whole person not just the bits and pieces of you. Contact us with any questions or to explore substance abuse counseling in Omaha today.