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11 Common Signs of Drug Use

11 Common Signs of Drug Use

There are many physical and behavioral flags which may indicate drug use. While different substances can each offer their own unique hints, there are some general warning signs which can signal someone is using drugs.

If you or someone you love is struggling, don’t wait. Speak confidentially with a counselor right now. Make the call. (888) 837-6577.

What should you be looking for? Here is a list of 11 common signs of drug use—

1. Cravings. A fairly common sign of drug use is an intense urge or craving for the substance they’re using. These cravings may manifest themselves in several of the other signs below, drug seeking, financial difficulties, questionable acquaintances and friendships, for instance.

2. Physical dependence. Dependence develops as someone becomes so accustomed to the presence and influence of a drug in their system that their body’s function is disrupted when it’s taken away. Physical dependence may leave them feeling badly or underperforming.

3. Withdrawal. Some people experience withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop using abruptly or try to wean themselves off the drug over a period of time. The presence of emotional and/or physical withdrawal symptoms indicates physiologic dependence.

Emotional Withdrawal Symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Poor concentration
  • Depression
  • Social isolation

11 Common Signs of Drug Use

Physical Withdrawal Symptoms may include:

  • Sweating
  • Racing heartbeat or heart palpitations
  • Muscle tension
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tremor
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

4. Increased Tolerance. Over time and with prolonged use, people build up a tolerance to the substances they’re using, meaning they need more of the drug to achieve the desired effects.

5. Poor judgment. Someone who is using drugs may do anything to obtain more, including engaging in risky behaviors like stealing, lying, promiscuity, selling drugs, or committing other crimes that could land them in jail.

6. Financial trouble. Someone using drugs may spend large amounts of money, even destroy their budgets and drain their bank accounts to get more of the drug. This is a major red flag. And this sign may begin to manifest itself in others on this list, even stealing.

7. Neglect responsibilities. A drug user may choose using or getting their drug fix over meeting personal, school or work obligations. They’ll have increased difficulty keeping commitments. Relationships at home, school and work may start to show fractures. This is a classic sign of drug use.

8. Unhealthy friendships. When people start using new substances they may spend time with others who have similar habits. They may begin to hang out with a new group of people who encourage and share in the behavior. If you see an exchange, healthy relationships for unhealthy, this too is a telltale sign.

9. Isolation. Alternatively, drug users may withdraw and isolate themselves, hiding their drug use from friends and family. Some reasons for this can include perceived stigma or increased depression, anxiety, or paranoia as a result of their drug use.

10. Increased secrecy. Someone using drugs may become more secretive about friends and acquaintances, perhaps even speaking to them in code. They may be reluctant to reveal or even lie about their plans, schedules and whereabouts.

11. Paraphernalia. At first, you may not find evidence of drug use in or around a user’s personal things, but as the substance use takes over their life, they may forget or even forego hiding the evidence. While different drugs have different paraphernalia, discovering strange items in strange places is a great clue. Of course, those items which are easily identified, pipes, rolling papers, straws, spoons, needles and such, are obvious warning signs.

Does any of this look or sound familiar? Is someone you love struggling? We know it is scary. We can help.

At Honey Lake Clinic, we understand that substance abuse is a complex and dangerous mental health concern, affecting not only the one in its grip, but also others. Our experienced staff, licensed therapists, psychologists, and psychiatric specialists, strongly believe that faith-based treatment, encompassing mind, body and spirit, will provide you with the long-lasting tools and knowledge to find freedom from substance abuse.

A beautiful and tranquil 1300-acre lakeside setting, a safe medical environment, 24-hour nursing, doctors and psychiatric specialists, all administering care from a Christian worldview and perspective—

Honey Lake Clinic is a unique solution in Christian mental health.

Make a phone call right now. To learn more or to get help today, call Honey Lake Clinic (888) 837-6577 Email or visit