Signs and Symptoms of Drug Abuse


Professional Care


Medical Intervention

Intervention for drug

Coping Mechanisms


There are many signs to be on the lookout for if you suspect that a person you love may be struggling with substance abuse. If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned here, it is essential that you discuss them with the person before jumping to conclusions about whether they are using. Before attempting to confront someone about suspected drug abuse you should consult with a professional about what to expect, and how to best approach a person that you suspect may be using.

Some Common Signs of Substance Abuse

  • Deceptive Behavior
  • Unexplainable financial issues
  • Changes in personality and behavior
  • Having valuable items turn up missing
  • Changes in physical appearance

The signs listed above are consistent between all types of substance abuse. Other signs and symptoms may vary and can be different depending on the substance a person is abusing. For example, a person who is abusing heroin will display different behaviors from a person who is abusing stimulant drugs such as cocaine or meth.

Signs of Opioid Abuse

  • Constricted pupils that do not return to normal in low light
  • An increase or boost in mood that is followed by a crash and extreme tiredness
  • “Nodding out” or falling asleep at inappropriate times…struggling to keep eyes open
  • Strange marks, bruises or scabs over the body caused by injection
  • Out of season flu-like symptoms that go away and repeatedly return (from withdrawal).

Signs of Stimulant abuse

  • Dilated pupils
  • An increase in energy
  • An increased desire to discuss ideas (to the point of seeming manic)
  • Sinus issues and continuous sniffing
  • Going large periods without sleep
  • Psychotic episodes without a history of mental illness


Psychedelics are not physically addictive, but in some cases, people with escapist tendencies abuse them to avoid dealing with day to day reality. Hallucinogens usually cause the user’s pupil to dilate to an extreme diameter. Psychedelic experiences are long lasting can cause a person to isolate themselves from the sober people around them due to the intensity and inability to appear sober.

The symptoms listed above are just a few of the most common symptoms that are associated with opioid and stimulant abuse. There are many opioid and stimulant drugs that all have unique signs and symptoms associated with them. If you notice any of the signs above in a person that there is a high chance that they are abusing drugs and may need treatment.