Drug Rehabilitation Blog

Addicted to Drugs

12 Telltale Signs Someone is Addicted to Drugs

Posted by Myra Davis to Addiction

Do you know how to spot an addict? In my experience, drug users don’t shout, “Hey, look at me! I’m using drugs!” However, you can watch for 12 telltale signs that indicate whether or not someone is addicted to drugs.


1. Someone Addicted to Drugs Neglects Responsibilities

Missing work, cutting classes, or not taking care of chores at home could be a sign of addiction. You can also expect an active addict to frequently break commitments, blow off dates, or always have an excuse for missing important events.

2. Stops Enjoying Hobbies

An avid athlete, artist, or chef who stops enjoying activities they previously loved could be distracted by drugs and the depression, anxiety, and paranoia that often accompany addiction.

3. Problems With Relationships

Addicts often fight with their friends, parents, and partners. They might even separate, break up, or be estranged from the people for whom they used to care the most.

4. Financial Troubles

Someone who gets behind on bills, always asks for money, and never has the cash for dinner could be addicted to drugs. After all, a drug addiction is expensive.

5. Weight Changes

A person who rapidly loses or gains weight could be struggling with a drug addiction. Addicts often would rather use than eat, and some drugs cause weight changes.

6. Unusual Odors

Smell an unusual odor on a person’s clothes or in their hair, and you could be smelling drugs. An addict will also use tons of mouthwash, perfume, or body spray to conceal their habit.

7. Lack of Hygiene

Dirty teeth, clothing, and hair can be a sign of drug use. That’s because addicts don’t have time to take proper care of themselves when they’re focused on getting or using their drug of choice. Plus, certain drugs can cause bad breath and hair loss, additional signs to watch for.

8. Impaired Coordination

An onset of stumbling, tremors, or slurred speech indicate a possible addiction. When you notice impaired coordination, the addict either needs a fix, is high, or is coming off a hit.

9. Mood Swings

When you’re never sure what kind of mood someone will be in from one day to the next or even from one moment to the next, they could be suffering from addiction.

10. Keeping Secrets

A person who hides spending, activities, or friends could also be hiding an addiction. Be aware that addicts are excellent liars.

11. Increased Risk-Taking

Drugs can make people feel on top of the world, invincible, and capable of leaping tall buildings in a single bound. Notice your loved one taking more risks than usual, and you may be looking at a drug addict.

12. Legal Troubles

Citations or arrests for actions like disorderly conduct or stealing can indicate that a person is suffering from addiction.

I’ve seen addicts struggle with one or all of these 12 telltale signs. As you look at your friends, co-workers, and neighbors, though, remember that an individual sign does not indicate that someone is addicted to drugs. One or more of them, however, can be a telltale sign that someone struggles with drugs. Encourage a person who is addicted to drugs to get help.


  • Diane C

    This is good information as there are some things on this list I may not have noticed as a possible sign of drug addiction. It’s good to know that what you are looking at with your friend or family member could be a problem with addiction rather than just thinking that they are just being lazy or shirking their responsibilities. Knowing these things can help you get the person to someone who can help them sooner than you might have.

  • Amanda

    This is a great article. You can see what to look for or what you may already see if some one may be using drugs. Being able to see whether or not a person may be addicted to drugs is so important. But a lot of time a person can perceive when something is happening with a a friend or family member. See these characteristics in people should make it so that you get a person some help. I have seen too many families be torn apart by drugs and people not helping their family members in time. If you see these signs please find out if they are taking drugs, it can be life or death!

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