Common Signs of Drug Abuse

By Contributing Writer

When people suspect that a loved one might be abusing drugs, they wonder what signs to look for to verify their suspicions. Confrontations do not work because a drug addict will just deny that there has a drug problem and insist that you are imagining things. Instead, loved ones must look for signs that the drug addict is unable to hide.


When a person is abusing drugs, he or she often "disappears" and then is unable to account for the time later. The explanations for where he or she has been do not make logical sense.

Disappearing Items

Family members might notice the disappearance of prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and/or alcoholic beverages. Drug addicts use these to balance out the effects of the drugs and even out the highs and lows.

Physical Appearance

The physical appearance of a drug addict can change drastically over a short amount of time. Drug addicts care less about cleanliness and neatness compared to their prior behavior.

Pupil Changes

Drug abuse causes the pupils to appear consistently larger. The eyes do not respond to light by decreasing the size of the pupil. Instead, the pupils stay dilated even in bright light.

Unseasonable Clothing

People struggling with drug abuse might wear clothing that is not appropriate for the season, such as a long-sleeved shirt in the heat of summer to cover up track marks.

Unusual Sleep Patterns

People who are abusing drugs often stay awake all night and then sleep all day or else find themselves having trouble sleeping at any time of the day or night.

© Demand Media 2011