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Early Warning Signs of Drug Addiction

Drug use can often be derailed and addiction prevented if the early warning signs of drug addiction are recognized and the use of drugs is stopped. Unfortunately, despite the ability to prevent such outcomes, many people fall victim to drug addiction and don’t realize that they have a problem until the physical and psychological damage has already been done.

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, changes in appearance, friends, or physical health are all common warning signs of drug addiction in children—the same holds true for adults too! The following details can help you to determine whether drug addiction may be present in your life:


drug abuse symptoms

Shady behavior, changes in friends, and having paraphernalia are all signs of drug abuse.

No matter what type of drug is being used, heroin or prescription drugs, marijuana or cocaine, there’s almost always drug paraphernalia involved. One of the early warning signs of drug addiction is the presence of evidence that drugs are being used such as cut straws, bent spoons, syringes, lighters, pipes, or empty pill bottles.

Friendship Changes

Has someone you know been friends with the same group for many years and just recently changed the people that they spend time with? Changes in the friendships that are important to an individual can arise when he or she shifts focus from normal hobbies and routines to using drugs. You may notice that the user now spends time with others who you know abuse drugs or you may have just noticed an abrupt change in friendships that you can’t quite pinpoint—both are possible signs of drug addiction.

Health Problems

Drug use, be it heroin or cocaine, can lead to an array of health problems. The user may suffer any of the following health problems as a result of drug addiction:

  • Sinus infections
  • Skin infections
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Liver or kidney problems
  • Heart problems
  • Runny nose
  • Congestion or cough
  • Sore throat

Appearance Changes

Drug addiction will often lead to dramatic changes in personal appearance. This is especially true in people who abuse methamphetamine—such users often have sores and scabs on their face and other areas of the body and will look as if they have aged many years in a very short period of time. The lack of hygiene and a lack of desire to take care of one’s self can cause various changes in personal appearance such as:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Sores or bruising on the body
  • Unkempt look including unwashed hair or dirty clothes
  • Tooth decay
  • Breakouts

Psychological Changes

Mood swings, agitation, memory lapses and other psychological changes often occur as a result of drug addiction. The user will often act depressed or sad, he or she may be anxious or paranoid, or delusions can arise as a result of the drug use. If you notice any abrupt psychological changes in someone whom you suspect is abusing drugs, addiction may be to blame and should not be marked out until professional help has been sought.