Identifying an Addict

No one sets out to develop a drug dependency problem and by the time it has occurred, the addict herself may not even realize that there is a problem. Addicts often begin to take drugs as a way of overcoming stresses or problems in their life and tend to repress whatever feelings or emotions led them to take drugs in the first place. As a result, drug addiction can tend to mask deeper emotional or psychological problems that the individual is unable to cope with or unwilling to confront head on.

Consequently, what usually begins as a way to ‘feel better’ about yourself only makes things worse in the long-run. The important thing to remember is that addicts need professional help and until they enter some form of rehabilitation program, whatever problems they are causing or undergoing themselves will not disappear on their own and will most likely worsen over time.

Knowing the Symptoms

While the symptoms of someone who has become addicted to drugs vary, the following is a list of the more common physical behaviors associated with drug dependency:

  • Sudden or rapid weight loss
  • Sudden or rapid mood swings
  • Changes in sleep patterns; insomnia, hypersomnia (oversleeping); fatigue
  • Loss of appetite; changes in eating patterns
  • Red, watery eyes; dilated or constricted pupils; blank stare
  • Depression; loss of motivation; laziness; decreased self-esteem
  • Loss of physical coordination
  • Cold, sweaty palms; shaking hands
  • Constant cold-like symptoms; persistent runny nose, persistent cough
  • Tremors or shakes
  • Persistent and excessive sweating
  • Unexplained nausea or regular vomiting
  • Puffiness in the face, around the eyes; pale or reddened skin

It is important to note that no one single symptom or combination thereof is sufficient to diagnose someone as a drug addict. However, should the individual in question exhibit several of these symptoms at once, professional help should be sought immediately.

Apart from the physical symptoms, other signs of possible drug addiction include the following:

  • Change in friends
  • Secretive or suspicious behavior
  • Paranoia
  • Memory loss; forgetfulness
  • Frequent lying and dishonesty
  • Run-ins with police
  • Problems at school or work
  • Increasing absenteeism
  • Increased or unexplained spending; stealing
  • Excessive demands for privacy; locked doors
  • Change in personal grooming habits; lack of personal hygiene
  • Violent or bizarre behavior
  • Loss of interest in family and friends
  • Defensiveness
  • Moodiness, nervousness and irritability
  • Constant boredom
  • Change or loss of interest in regular activities
  • Hyperactivity; excessive talkativeness