You do not have to be a medically trained professional to spot an addict. People can be addicted to a number of different things but there are a few commonalities that addicts share that can be easy to spot if you know what you are looking for. If you are a parent, you should familiarize yourself with the signs of addiction so that you can be vigilant if you begin to notice these changes in your child. Of course, the most effective way to protect your children from drugs is to educate them and communicate openly with them so you notice when something is bothering them.
If you are not a parent, you may still come in contact with a family member or loved one who is struggling with addiction. Being aware of the signs will enable you to take the proper action to help them toward recovery. Addiction can develop at any age, so never let the age of a person be a disqualifier for them struggling with addiction. These are the most common changes and signs that show when someone is an addict.
Physical changes are some of the easiest to spot. Most drugs have some effect on a person’s eating habits so fast weight gain or weight loss can be a sign that someone has been abusing drugs or alcohol. Drugs cause a strain on your body and often cause major changes to the area of the body where the drug is being consumed. Chronic nose bleeds are often common among addicts who snort their drug of choice. One of the most widely known physical marks of a drug addict is track marks, in their arms, legs, or another area of the body. These marks are caused as drug addicts shoot the drug into their veins which causes bruising, scarring, and eventually causes the vein to collapse. When a person is coming down off of a drug they usually have a hangover. These periods of detox can include headaches, vomiting, blurred vision, and other physical symptoms. After long periods of drug use, the addict’s teeth can begin to darken and even fall out. Often their complexion will change as well.
Sometimes less obvious than the physical signs of addiction, which can take more time to develop, are the behavioral changes. New addicts often stop hanging out with old friends and find new ones or withdraw completely. An addict does not want their old friends to know about their addiction and as they begin to use more frequently there is less time they can be around old friends because they are either taking drugs or trying to find the next ones to take. Mood swings are also common among addicts. One minute they may be the happiest person on the planet and then next they will fall into a deep depressive state.
An abrupt change in a person’s willingness to open up to others is also a common sign of addiction. Most addicts want to hide because they are ashamed of their drug use. Many of them think if they just use one more time they will be able to get their life together. Unfortunately, this just leads them back into the ups and downs of drug use.