Signs of an Addict to Look Out For

Sep 2023 Signs of an Addict to Look Out For

Drug addicts often go to great lengths to hide the evidence of their substance abuse. But when you’re aware of the common signs of an addict, you will be in the best position to intervene if someone that you care about is in crisis.

Importance of Recognizing the Signs of an Addict

Recognizing the signs of a drug addict is an essential first step in the effort to connect a person with the care they need.

Drug addiction is characterized by recurrent, compulsive substance abuse, even after a person has incurred physical, psychological, or social harm as a result of prior use. Someone who is struggling with active addiction may be unable to control their behaviors or reach out for help. 

Recognizing the signs of a drug addict and offering your assistance can literally save someone’s life.

What are the Signs of an Addict?

If you suspect that someone you care about has developed a drug addiction, the signs listed below may confirm your suspicions as well as provide insights into which type of drug they have become dependent upon. 

As you will note, some symptoms in the following subsections are common among several types of addictions, while others may be specific to one form of drug dependence. 

Also, some of these symptoms can be evidence that the person is under the influence of a particular drug, while others may indicate either that they have become addicted or that they are trying to hide their compulsive behaviors.

Cocaine Addict

The signs of a cocaine addict can include the following behaviors and characteristics:

  • Acting with excessive energy and aggressiveness
  • Sweating profusely
  • Speaking rapidly
  • Exhibiting heightened confidence and self-esteem
  • Having unexplained financial problems
  • Suffering from frequent nosebleeds
  • Unintentionally losing a significant amount of weight

Heroin Addict

The following are common signs of a heroin addict:

  • Wearing long sleeves and long pants, even in warm weather, as a means of hiding evidence of IV drug use
  • Having scabs, sores from drugs, bruises and other types of skin damage that never seem to fully heal
  • Persistent fatigue, exhaustion, and lethargy
  • Glassy, unfocused eyes and runny nose
  • Obvious unintentional weight loss
  • Recurring bouts of constipation
  • Frequently scratching themselves
  • Confusion and disorientation

Meth Addict

Methamphetamine is a powerful and highly addictive stimulant. The signs of a meth addict can include significant physical and psychological damage:

  • Severe dental decay
  • Scabs and sores on the face, arms, and other body parts
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Acting with uncharacteristic aggression or violence
  • Going days at a time without sleeping
  • Losing an unhealthy amount of weight
  • Having episodes of paranoia and/or psychosis

Crack Addict

Crack is a type of cocaine that has been formed into small rocks or crystals. Signs of a crack addict can include:

  • Rapid breathing, racing heart rate, and dilated pupils
  • Exhibiting dramatic changes in mood, attitude, and energy
  • Neglecting their appearance, grooming, and hygiene
  • Possessing small glass pipes, tubes, or other paraphernalia with burn marks on them
  • Obsessively scratching themselves, which can cause scabs and sores that never seem to heal
  • Trying to borrow or steal money, or selling off their possessions

Alcohol Addict

Alcohol is a legal substance that is easily accessible and commonly included in many facets of American life. These factors can sometimes make it difficult to discern between frequent social drinking and the signs of an alcohol addict. However, someone who exhibits or experiences symptoms such as these may have a problem:

  • Claiming they need a drink or two to “loosen up” or think clearly
  • Hiding alcohol in their car, office, and other locations so they are always able to have a quick drink
  • Finding it difficult to enjoy themselves or cope with stress without drinking
  • Using alcohol to help them wake up in the morning or get to sleep at night
  • Drinking alone at home before going out, as a way to hide the amount of their alcohol use

How to Help a Drug Addict

Once you have observed the signs that someone you care about may be a drug addict, you may be unsure what your next steps should be. 

Addiction is a chronic, progressive disease that frequently requires professional treatment. You cannot cure your loved one’s addiction – but you can play an important role in connecting them with the services and support they need. 

Here are a few ways you can help a drug addict:

  • Research addiction and treatment options. This will help you to understand what your loved one is going through, and it will also give you some ideas about the type of care they may need.
  • Resist the urge to loan them money, make excuses for them, or hide evidence of their behaviors. While these may seem like compassionate ways to support someone who is in crisis, they are actually codependent behaviors that can prolong or exacerbate a person’s struggles with untreated addiction.
  • Talk to them about what you have observed, express your love and support, and suggest that they get help. Understand that they may respond with denials or even anger. Conversations like this aren’t easy, but they can be essential.
  • Make it easier for them to get into treatment by providing transportation, accompanying them to appointments, arranging for childcare, and offering other types of tangible support.
  • Consider seeing a therapist or counselor yourself. You can’t offer maximum support to someone else if you are neglecting your own mental health needs.

Contact Our Palm Springs Addiction Center at Phoenix Rising Recovery

Front of Phoenix Rising

If someone that you care about has become addicted to alcohol, cocaine, heroin, meth, or any other substances, Phoenix Rising Recovery is here to help. Our addiction treatment center in Palm Springs offers a full continuum of customized care, including detox, residential rehab, and several outpatient options. With the guidance and support of our dedicated caregivers, your friend or family member can end their substance abuse and build a foundation for successful recovery.

To learn more, or to schedule a free assessment for your loved one, please visit our Contact page or call us today.