How To Recognize Substance Use Disorder


Drug and alcohol abuse affects millions of Americans every year. Addicts experience health complications, run into legal troubles, and engage in risky behavior that negatively impacts relationships with family or friends. If you suspect someone is into drugs or alcohol, there are certain common red flags you should check.

Physical Appearance

Things like bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, body odor, trembling, and constricted pupils are a sign of addiction. Lack of interest in personal grooming without an explanation can also point to addiction.


If you notice a loved one stealing money or valuables, it is time to investigate why. It could be a sign that addiction has pushed them to satisfy the urge. An addict can do anything, including stealing from outsiders to buy drugs or alcohol.

Presence Of Paraphernalia

If you see cigarette wrappings, syringes, cut up straws, razors, or lighters in one’s room, it’s an indication of an addiction. However, not all drugs require anything suspicious; some use eyewashes to conceal bloodshot eyes.

Mood Swings

Long-time use of drugs or alcohol can impair the user’s ability to manage emotions like anger, sadness, or irritation. The changes can be noticeable to someone who could previously control their moods. At times, they may be hyper. Addiction can also fuel co-occurring disorders such as anxiety or depression.

Loss Of Interest

Does your kin love to go out rather than spend time with family? This could be a sign that they are into alcohol or drugs. Addiction takes most of a person’s time, depriving them of time for hobbies or family matters. Investigate who they are hanging with. It may be peer pressure from addicts.

Reclusive And Private Behavior

Addiction is an isolating disease. One fears social interaction, feels shame, and some drugs cause paranoia. As a result, one withdraws from people and activities they once enjoyed. If you see your loved ones having long stays in their rooms, locking the door when they leave or enter, or not sharing their whereabouts, they are likely on drugs.

Weight Fluctuations

Substance use affects metabolism and appetite, so an addict may gain or lose a lot of weight. An addict may also suffer from an eating disorder, leading to weight fluctuations. Also, addicts take drugs or alcohol and lack time to prepare healthy meals.

Memory Loss

If your loved ones don’t participate when reminiscing about good times or forget to do an assignment, it’s a sign of drug addiction. Heavy drug use in a short span causes blackouts. The more blackouts one has, the more likely one will lose long-term memory. Memory loss is a serious condition, so it’s best to seek addiction treatment at Ocean Recovery (

Changes In Sleep Patterns

Drug abuse disrupts sleep patterns. Stimulants and depressants affect hormones that regulate sleep and wakefulness, causing long hours of sleep or distracting sleep. If you see a person sleeping in the middle of a conversation, they may be addicted.


Defensiveness can manifest as wariness or hostility when an uncomfortable topic arises. For instance, if you enquire about how they use their savings, an addict can insult you or ignore you. A person trying to hide an addiction can become aggressive or even physical for no good reason to create a distraction.

Falling To Meet Responsibilities

Addiction enslaves rational thinking, such as failing to report to work or school or meet deadlines. Once a responsible and self-driven person starts failing to accomplish family duties, it can indicate an underlying issue. It may be difficult to even obey self-imposed rules when someone abuses excessive drugs.

Family members and friends are often the first to notice a change in a person’s behavior. Addiction varies, but there are some warning signs and symptoms that can help you identify the problem. The good news is that addiction is curable. Help your loved ones seek medical care from a rehab center.

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