Drug addiction is a very serious issue, though it’s one that could actually be lying hidden beneath the surface. It can be particularly confusing for parents of teens and pre-teens, because many signs of drug addiction are also typical symptoms of adolescence. The following are some of the signs of drug addiction, though they may vary in each case.
Withdrawn, Introverted, Changing Associations
Drug addicts may experience a sudden change in friends, often seeking out a social group that favors drug use. In other cases, they may withdraw from friends altogether. They may exhibit behaviors that seem indicative of depression or even suicidal tendencies. Unfortunately, these behaviors can also be common side effects of social awkwardness during adolescence.
Drug Addiction and Poor Hygiene
Often, drug addicts will have poor hygiene. They will often be too lethargic, preoccupied or distracted under the influence of their drug use to even think about basic hygienic duties like bathing, brushing teeth and changing clothes.
Drug Addiction and Erratic Behavior
Certain types of drugs will cause especially erratic behavior. Outbursts of temper at unexpected moments and extreme emotional “highs” and “lows,” though indicative of drug addiction, are also signs of adolescence. Such behaviors could also indicate the presence of a mental illness, which sometimes even occur alongside drug addiction.
Drug Addiction and Physical Symptoms
With “softer” drugs like marijuana, behaviors might include lethargy, apathy, cynicism, and a pervasive, distinct smell. With “harder” drugs like cocaine and heroin, a different set of signs may appear. Cocaine users often talk very fast and may have chronic runny noses or bloodshot eyes. If using crack cocaine, they may have burns around their mouth and fingertips. Heroin users will often have “tracks” on their arms, tracing the drug’s path under the skin from the site of the needle injection. Parents may also watch for drug paraphernalia in the home, including marijuana rolling papers, drug needles, crack pipes, and small plastic baggies with powder or marijuana residue. Drug addiction is very dangerous and can be life threatening.