By: Nick
March 4, 2022

What are the Signs a Loved One is Using Drugs?

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Watching a loved one struggle with an addiction can be distressing and heartbreaking to witness. Addiction is a complex and progressive disease, and the symptoms aren’t noticed until a loved one is a full-blown addict. You want to help, but you may not know the signs a loved one is using drugs. Additionally, you may not know the best ways to help your loved one once you see the signs of addiction.


Getting the help your loved one needs requires knowledge. This article will give you further information on the causes of addiction, the signs a loved one is using drugs, and what you need to do in order to effectively help your loved one find professional help. If you see the signs of an addict in your loved one and need to know your outpatient treatment options, call MCR toll-free today.


What Causes Addiction?

As already stated, addiction is a complex and progressive disease. Because of that, there are a myriad of factors that cause one to abuse substances. It is essential to know the common factors that can create addiction in your loved one. Perhaps the most common cause of addiction are environmental factors. Some of the most prevalent environmental factors include the following:

  • Family members actively using drugs
  • Family history of drug abuse
  • Peer pressure
  • Presence of drugs at work or school
  • Criminal activity within the home


Another risk factor to consider is trauma. Traumatic life events often have lasting effects on those who experience these events. Examples include:

  • Physical, emotional, and sexual abuse
  • Surviving a major accident
  • Surviving a natural disaster
  • Physical or emotional neglect
  • Witnessing or being a victim of violence
  • Death of a loved one
  • Divorce


Mental illness is also a common factor in the development of drug addiction in a loved one. Oftentimes, people will use substances as a form of self-medication if they have a pre-existing mental health issue. Also, those who abuse substances may worsen their mental illness and even develop another mental disorder. Those who struggle with substance abuse and addiction co-currently have what is commonly known as dual diagnosis disorders.


What are the Signs a Loved One is Using Drugs?

Spotting the signs of an addict can be difficult. In the early stages of addiction, many symptoms mirror those of other health conditions. The signs of addiction can be seen across different areas. For example, the following are common psychological symptoms of drug and alcohol addiction:

  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Wide swings of inflated confidence followed by periods of no confidence
  • Hallucinations (audio, tactile, or visual)
  • Increased talk of self-harm and suicidal thoughts


Other tell-tale signs of an addict are emotional vulnerability and volatility. Common symptoms include bouts of crying and hysteria, being defensive when confronted about their drug use, irritability, and losing interest in activities they once loved. Additionally, there are physical symptoms such as the following:

  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Pale skin
  • Poor hygiene and unkempt appearance
  • Dilated pupils or chronic red eyes
  • Loss of coordination


When you see the signs that a loved one is using drugs, you must be very aware and intervene where necessary.


How to Convince a Loved One to Seek Help

Approaching a loved one about their addiction can be very difficult. The addict operates under heavy denial, and they will often deflect, rationalize, or even blame others when confronted about their drug use. When you are ready to talk to your loved one, you must talk to them in a way that is respectful, yet you are able to get your point across. The following are some do’s and don’ts when talking to a loved one about their addiction.

Things You Need to Do

  • Do your research on their addiction. Talk to a local addiction specialist, counselor, and your family doctor
  • Approach your loved ones when they are clear-headed, and you are emotionally calm
  • Don’t be afraid to let them know your feelings and concerns, but do so in a calm manner
  • Allow them space and time to respond and to talk when they are ready
  • Set and enforce boundaries. It is ok to tell them “no”
  • Take action with them—go to a meeting together, research treatment programs, and even go to family support groups or find therapy for yourself

Things You Cannot Do

  • Ignore the issue
  • Talking to your loved one when you are emotionally charged
  • Engaging in enabling behaviors such as covering up for their behavior, paying rent and bills, or letting them cross over your boundaries.
  • Give ultimatums or threats
  • Placing blame on yourself or your loved one


Finding Comprehensive Drug Treatment for a Loved One

Watching a loved one struggle with drugs and alcohol can make you feel powerless. You may have tried helping them in the past, but you were not able to breakthrough. While you may feel you are fighting a losing battle, the help you need is just a phone call away. Multi-Concept Recovery is a premier outpatient and mental health facility in Burbank, CA, specializing in programs for teens, college-aged young adults, and adults. Our treatment programs are evidence-based and administered by experienced treatment professionals with a proven track record of success.

Call MCR today and help your loved one find lasting happiness in recovery.