How to Spot the Signs of Drug Abuse in a Loved One

By on November 28, 2016
How to Spot the Signs of Drug Abuse in a Loved One

Contrary to popular belief, drug problems are not restricted to a narrow sub-set of society. People of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds can fall victim to a life-limiting drug addiction. There is some evidence to suggest that addiction problems have a genetic root, but anyone can end up addicted to drugs of one sort another.

Drug abuse is not just about heroin, cocaine, meth and other high profile drugs. Drug abusers are just as likely to be addicted to opioids and depressants such as Xanax or Valium. Many addicts are fully functioning individuals on the surface: they hold down jobs and maintain relationships. They know how long Valium or heroin stays in your system, so they can beat the drugs tests at work. The problem is that drugs are insidious and over time, an addict needs more and more.  Eventually their addiction wrecks their career, relationships, and life.

You cannot always help someone in the throes of a drug addiction, but you can try to persuade them to seek the help they need. Here are some of the signs to watch out for if you suspect something is not right.

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Risky Behaviors

People who are addicted to drugs will do anything to ensure they have a regular supply. Typical behavior patterns include stealing from family members or friends, engaging in risky sexual relationships, gambling, selling drugs to finance a habit, or becoming involved in other criminal activity. Even respectable people slide into risky behavior patterns, as drugs affect a person’s judgement.

Financial Problems

Drugs are expensive, so it costs a lot to maintain a serious drug habit. People with a drugs problem often end up in financial difficulties. Once they have exhausted their savings and sold assets to pay for their habit, they may start stealing. If your loved one is spending large amounts of money and has nothing to show for it, this is a red flag.

Unhealthy Relationships

People who are addicted to drugs typically form unhealthy relationships outside of their normal peer group. They want to spend time with other addicts who are engaging in similar behavior. If a child or grandchild has drifted away from their old friends, and is spending increasing amounts of time with a new group of friends, pay close attention to other behavioral red flags.

Social Isolation

Drug addiction carries a huge social stigma. Drug addicts do not want family and friends to know they have a problem, so they may isolate themselves in an attempt to hide their addiction. If a loved one is spending less and less time with family and friends, you need to find out why.

Poor Health

Drug addiction causes all kinds of physical health problems and it is rare for an addict to appear to be in the best of health. Look out for the physical signs of addiction, including needle marks, red eyes and a permanently running nose.

If you do see any of the above signs that a loved one may have a drugs problem, it may be time to stage an intervention.

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How to Spot the Signs of Drug Abuse in a Loved One