10 Drug Addiction Behavior Signs and Traits You Should Know About

10 Drug Addict Behavior Signs and Traits You Should Know About

Do you suspect that someone you know is on drugs? Here are 10 drug addict behavior signs and what to do about it.

Keyword(s): addict behavior

Drug use has a very real, very frightening dark side. Between 2002 and 2017, illicit substance overdoses caused over 70,000 deaths.

And with an ongoing opioid crisis, things may soon grow worse.

Because of this ever-present threat, it’s important to know what to look for if you suspect a loved one may be using and abusing drugs. Knowing how to spot addict behavior may even save their life.

Though there is hope, you’ll first need to know how to spot a problem in the first place. Here are 10 signs of addict behavior you’ll want to keep an eye out for.

1. Irritability

Everyone feels frustrated or angry sometimes. In fact, a little frustration is even healthy in some cases.

But if a loved one seems to be acting angry all the time, or it takes nothing more than a minor inconvenience to set them off, they may be using.

Stimulants like cocaine, methamphetamine, or synthetic marijuana can cause users to switch moods in a matter of seconds, turning a lovely, meek person into an erratic stranger.

In many cases, this new sense of anger is caused by the user’s guilt. They know what they’re doing is wrong — and may even want to stop. But they’re too ashamed to reach out and ask for help.

Of course, this isn’t an excuse. If a loved one becomes physically or verbally abusive, remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible and alert the authorities if necessary.

2. Isolation

The saddest thing about watching a person sink deeper and deeper into substance abuse is seeing their personality change in real time.

Drugs have the ability to take a normal, healthy, social person and turn them into an introvert who refuses to even leave their home at times.

Note that isolation isn’t always a sign of drug abuse. In some instances, a loved one may be dealing with a bout of anxiety or agoraphobia which require addressing as well, albeit in a very different way.

But if you note a sudden and long-lasting change in a person’s social habits alongside any of the other drug addiction signs, it may be time to approach them about seeking treatment.

3. Impulsive Behavior

Addiction changes a person on a chemical basis. The very way they think can often change after using for only a few short weeks.

Chief among these behavioral changes is an increased desire to engage in risky behavior. An addict may be willing to do anything and everything necessary to get their next hit.

Frequent risky behaviors include:

  • Unprotected sex.
  • Shared needle use.
  • Theft.
  • Selling one’s self or physical goods online.

What’s the reason behind these risky behaviors? Drug use directly impacts the basal ganglia, the area of the brain responsible for feelings of motivation and pleasure that you often feel when sober.

Once the brain starts to acclimate the higher levels of dopamine, the basal ganglia become overactive.

4. Sudden Lying

It starts off innocently enough. Your loved one comes home a little later than usual or brushes off a question in a way that makes you think twice.

Next thing you know, you can’t be sure if anything they’re telling you is the truth.

Lying is perhaps the sign of addiction that hurts the most. This is a person that you love and trust. You’ve likely spent years with this person developing a friendship or relationship.

But trust your gut. If you suspect you’re being lied to, follow up. Track their stories, and if the story seems to change, confront them about it or make a note.

5. Lack of Sleep

Because drug use affects the brain in such a monumental way, aspects of a person’s life, such as their sleep habits, will often change.

A person may stay up for days on end. And make no mistake, this affects more than just how sleepy they are.

A lack of sleep can cause an array of physical symptoms like higher blood pressure while also affecting the areas of the brain responsible for decision making. They may hurt themselves or someone else as a result.

6. Physical Tics

Physical tics are among the most common signs someone is using drugs. The classic example is cocaine.

Visible signs of cocaine use like sniffing, snorting, or nasal twitching are all common examples of how it’s more than just brain chemistry that drug abuse can impact.

7. Deteriorating Physical Appearance

If used long enough, substances can even change the way a person looks. In fact, if you were to picture a drug addict right now, chances are you’d envision someone with a sunken in face.

The stereotypical drug addict face exists for a reason.

From rashes and bumps to open sores and sunken in eyes, substance abuse can fundamentally change even the strongest genetic makeup.

8. Sudden Weight Loss or Gain

That goes for more than facial features. Many addicts experience rapidly fluctuating weight gain and loss.

This is caused by an overly-stimulated hypothalamus, which also controls hunger. A user may not feel hungry for days or may become so high that they forget to eat entirely. After a while, the pounds seem to fall off.

9. Financial Problems

One day a friend comes up to you and asks for $30 for some gas and food, claiming that their paycheck was lower than usual. You love them, so you say yes.

Two weeks later, the same things happen. You start to notice a pattern. This behavior often goes hand-in-hand with lying and can become quite destructive to a person’s long-term financial health.

A drug habit can make even the most financially stable person bankrupt.

10. Paranoia

In many cases, addicts feel as if they’re being watched. Or like their friends and family are out to get them.

This increased sense of anxiety and paranoia can cause them to act in rash, destructive ways that they’ll often blame others for.

Learn How to Spot Addict Behavior Before It’s Too Late

If your loved one is struggling with addiction, or you yourself are battling substance abuse, you’ll want to keep an eye on these addict behavior signs. Spotting them early on and confronting them can be the difference between an overdose and a happy, healthy life.

If you’d like more advice on how to spot signs of drug abuse or wish to learn more about Arise Recovery Center’s rehabilitation services, get in touch today for a free consultation.