Drug addiction is usually an insidious affair, beginning with simple recreational pleasure seeking and gradually darkening into a much more destructive and compulsive process. This dependency on certain substances and the “pleasure high” associated with the substance can be a potently destructive cobination.

There are several key signs of drug addiction, each of which can be thought of as representing a continuum between mild behaviour on one end and more extreme behaviour on the other. Generally, the earlier a potential drug addiction problem is spotted, the easier it is to treat.

One of the first signs of drug addiction is increasing tolerance of a substance – the brain and body adapts to pleasure-inducing substances, so that more of the drug or alcohol has to be consumed to deliver the same effects. If extra bottles of wine or crates of beer are added to the weekly shopping, for example, an addiction problem could well be emerging. Related to his this increasing tolerance is secretive or deceptive behaviour – the substance is beginning to get a hold of the person’s entire way of life and is becoming an over-riding priority. This often drives people into pursuing it secretively, hiding evidence of misuse and covertly spending – or stealing – larger and larger amounts of money to finance it.

Other signs include increasing self-neglect and deterioration in personal hygiene, increasing forgetfulness, low and irritable mood and progressive withdrawal from social interaction. Taken together, these behavioural changes should alert loved ones, colleagues or friends that a potential drug addiction problem is underway.

When suspicions are aroused that a friend or loved one is suffering from a drug addiction, the mind can go into overdrive. Suddenly each and every factor of all interactions are analysed in detail in order to prove or quash the suspicion. Although every person who is addicted to drugs will act in subtly different ways, there are a number of warning signs that should be looked out for in order to find out one way or another. The presence of one or two of these signs on their own will not immediately confirm an addiction. It is more important to observe the changes in the person over time and look for several of these signs together.

Physical Signs of Drug Addiction

As drug addiction can affect people’s appetites and outlook on life, there are a number of physical signs that can be indicative of a problem. Rapid weight loss or gain can be a pointer towards drug addiction. A sudden lack of interest in appearance and grooming can also be an indication of drug use. One of the more obvious signs is the appearance of needle marks, although all but the most deeply addicted will probably wish to keep these covered at all costs. A blank stare or dilated pupils can also be a warning sign.

Psychological Signs of Drug Addiction

If a person’s demeanour has changed rapidly, whether they have suddenly become lazy or hyperactive, this could be an indication of drug addiction. The specific way in which their behaviour has changed will indicate the sort of drugs they are taking. A change in sleep habits is another sign to look for.