Author: John Carter

Signs of Drug Use and Addiction How To Tell If Someone Is On Drugs

how to find out if someone is on drugs

Our team of addiction medicine experts are compassionate and committed to making addiction treatment accessible, understandable, and affordable. It’s important to note that you cannot indicate the level of intoxication solely based on the condition of the eyes. Some substances may cause dilated pupils at recreational doses, while others (like benzodiazepines) only dilate the eyes when the person has overdosed.

how to find out if someone is on drugs

Paranoia is a real mental health issue outside of substance abuse and drug abuse, but it is exacerbated by drugs. This person may believe that special hidden messages are being transmitted just to them. They may also have an inflated sense of self and that they have a special role or significance that is unrecognized. In addition to the physical signs, there are several behavioral signs of drug addiction. Generally, someone who has a drug addiction will not be “themselves.” Think of all the times someone said they were an “angry drunk” as an example. This is because alcohol changes the way they process information and react to it.

Understanding the Signs of Addiction

When drugs are abused, those areas in the brain are altered. This disrupts normal functions and may cause a deficit in memory. Forgetfulness, Trouble Concentrating, or Paying Attention. Some drugs may cause impaired memory, inability to focus, or loss of time due to blackouts. The fact that drug use can often become a top priority may also cause them to lose interest in any other responsibilities. They may forget about plans or things they were supposed to do.

Many people struggling with addiction cannot support healthy relationships because their priority is drug use. They often let drug use get in the way of their relationships with friends, family members, and romantic partners. Various treatment options are available, including visiting opioid specialists and taking drugs designed to help people with addiction. A patient’s primary care doctor — or the doctor who prescribed the opioid — can help assess the situation and recommend options. Drug abuse and addiction are scary to talk about and think about, but it’s not impossible to mitigate with addiction treatment.

When you’re wondering how to tell if someone is using drugs, physical signs can be your first indicator, followed by behavior and psychological changes. Most people struggling with addiction are going to have some form of financial problems considering most, if not all, of their money is supporting their habit. They might have also lost their job due to a lack of productivity. Your loved one may show signs of an increased need for money with little explanation as to why.

how to find out if someone is on drugs

Seeking medical attention is critical in these situations, even if you are unsure of what they’ve taken or if they’re even using drugs. Knowing what withdrawal symptoms and overdose symptoms look like may save your loved one’s life. Another behavioral sign in someone with an addiction is private and reclusive behavior.

Signs of opioid abuse

Being Dishonest or Sneaky, Hiding Things, or Needing Increased Privacy. Most people are not going to be very public about their drug use, especially if it’s to an illegal substance. You may notice your loved one is lying about where they are or who they’re with.

It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers. Paranoid thoughts can happen in people who struggle with substance use disorders. Individuals who misuse drugs may mistrust the people around them, become highly suspicious of family and friends or ascribe unrealistic motives to other people’s actions. During addiction treatment, paranoid delusions can be addressed through counseling options like cognitive behavioral therapy.

This means the drugs are injected directly into the bloodstream. Getting drugged without consent makes a person vulnerable to other kinds of harm and can result in significant long-term trauma. Most importantly, if you believe you are being drugged or have been drugged by someone who still has access to you, get yourself to safety. Contact your local domestic violence agency and make a safety plan with an advocate.

  1. “If you use opioids for the intended purpose, you ideally should get no high,” Morrow says.
  2. If your loved one is experiencing withdrawal or overdose symptoms, there is a good chance that they may be struggling with addiction.
  3. Illicit drugs are known for their psychoactive properties or ability to alter brain function.
  4. Keep in mind that not everyone reacts in the same way and this list is not all-inclusive.
  5. Depressants or “downers” are drugs that slow down brain activity.
  6. The rape kit/tox panel establishes a chain of custody for evidence and preserves evidence that otherwise would rapidly deteriorate if not collected, analyzed, and documented.

One of the more severe psychological signs of drug use is hallucinations. Those without addictions can experience hallucinations as well, which is exhibited in Schizophrenia, another severe mental health issue. These often occur when the person has taken a hallucinogen such as LSD, psilocybin (mushrooms), or DMT. If your loved one is experiencing withdrawal or overdose symptoms, there is a good chance that they may be struggling with addiction.


If you believe that your loved one is, in fact, abusing drugs or alcohol, talking to them about getting help is critical. If you have a friend or loved one that you suspect has a drug abuse problem or has a drug addiction, contact the Master Center for help with addiction treatment. Addiction is a sensitive subject that not a lot of people talk about. For that reason, people don’t often make it known that they are struggling with addiction. However, certain signs indicate a person may need support. The knowledge of these signs and symptoms could potentially save the life of a loved one.

Substance use and drug abuse can be an isolating activity, so the person who is using may seem very secretive. They might have the appearance of hiding something, spend a lot of time locked in their room or alone, or refuse to answer questions. If they are typically an open book but suddenly become private or secretive, they may be using drugs.

When to Seek Help?

There may also be no drive to complete work or perform how they once did, especially if work-related stress is what led to substance abuse in the first place. As drugs become the primary focus of someone’s life, they often spend more and more time using and obtaining drugs. You may notice that their school work or participation in school starts to decrease. They may stop caring about their grades and choose to neglect the work they need to do to improve academic performance. Outbursts, Resentful Behavior, Intense Irritability, or Mood Swings. They may become moody and not want to talk to you or anyone that may notice changes due to drug use.

The Summit Wellness Group is located in Georgia and all of your calls will be directed to one of our local staff members. Our sincere passion is helping people recover so that they can live full, meaningful and healthy lives. It may take several tries to get an individual to get help, however. Families and loved ones must “come from a position of love and understanding and genuinely want to help that person instead of coming at it as punishment,” Morrow says. Doctors use an 11-point checklist to help determine if a person’s opioid use signals a deeper problem. Over 14 million people (5.4 percent of the population) have tried meth at least once.