Topic Overview

What are the signs of drug use and dependence?

The signs of drug use depend on the drug and the person
using the drug. Behaviors that may be signs of a drug use problem include:

  • Changes in sleeping or eating habits, less
    attention to dressing and grooming, or less interest in sex.
  • Up
    and down moods, a mood or attitude that is getting worse, or not caring about
    the future.
  • Anger toward others or treating others
    badly.
  • Sneaky behavior, lying, or stealing.
  • Poor family
    relationships, or relationships that are getting worse.
  • New
    problems at work or school, or problems with the law.
  • Dropping old
    friends and activities, finding new friends, and not wanting old friends to
    meet them.

Having these signs doesn’t always mean a person is using
drugs. The behavior could be because of work or school stress, or it could be a
sign of
depression or another medical problem. But behavior
changes like these are common in people who misuse drugs.

Physical
signs of drug use and dependence include:

  • Red eyes, a sore throat, a dry cough, and
    feeling tired.
  • Needle marks on the arm or other area of the
    body.
  • Small, “pinpoint” pupils in the eyes.
  • Losing
    weight without trying to, or not feeling like eating.
  • Changes in sleep behavior, such as not sleeping as well.
  • Seeing things that don’t exist (hallucinations).

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP – Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD – Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD – Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O’Connor, MD – Emergency Medicine
Christine R. Maldonado, PhD – Behavioral Health

Current as ofOctober 9, 2017