Have you noticed a friend or loved one has changed lately? Do they look or act like they may have a problem?
It can be hard to tell if a friend or loved one is just out of sorts or on drugs by looking at them, but there are some telltale signs to pay attention to.
Keep reading to learn some effective ways how to tell if someone is on drugs by looking at them.
How to Tell If Someone Is on Drugs by Looking at Them in the Eyes
A person’s eyes are usually one of the biggest indicators that they’re impaired.
If they looked more glazed than a Krispy Kreme donut or dilated to the size of saucers, you may be dealing with a drug such as amphetamines, cocaine, MDMA or LSD.
There are other causes of dilated pupils such as prescribed medications, health issues, or even sexual attraction. However, dilated pupils with glazed eyes and other signs are a definite red flag.
Bloodshot and Watery
Alcohol and marijuana may cause a slow reaction and recovery time to light that lasts a few hours, but they will not generally cause dilated pupils.
Bloodshot and watery eyes will be more of the tip-off about weed or alcohol.
If you notice dark circles around their eyes, it could be a sign of more than a late night. It’s not uncommon for this to occur when someone is on drugs.
They may look sleep deprived or like they are fighting to stay awake. This could be due to impairment.
Jittery or fast moving squinty eyes may be a sign of light sensitivity of a stimulant drug intoxication. Eyes that are slow to respond, heavy looking, and sleepy can be caused by marijuana or a depressant.
Complexion and Skin Condition
Various drugs have different effects on people’s skin. Someone who is using hard drugs like meth or opioids may have extremely dry skin, visible sores, itching, and look flushed or bluish in tone.
Cocaine and oxycodone often cause a flushed appearance as well due to changes in blood pressure.
You may find others breaking out with acne or appearing malnourished and pale. Alcohol and various prescription drugs can affect the liver and cause a yellow complexion.
Dehydration is often an issue with drug abuse, which also causes a dry and pale appearance along with lack of elasticity to the skin.
The Way They Move
Someone who’s impaired by drugs will likely show signs of it in the way they move.
Depending on the drug they’re using, you’ll notice different characteristics to look for. Someone taking barbituates is going to move in an awkward almost slow motion fashion compared to someone on amphetamines who may be constantly moving in a nervous or jittery manner.
Difficulty walking in a straight line is one we all know for alcohol or weed from every cop show on TV. Remember the classic roadside sobriety tests that show drunk people falling over, weaving, and unable to walk straight.
Their Eating Habits and Weight
Taking drugs usually affects one’s eating habits. Some drugs will cause people to eat more which can lead to weight gain. Others cause a loss of appetite and erratic eating schedule.
Chemicals that speed up the metabolism may cause someone to lose weight quickly. Depressants will slow down the metabolism and may cause an increase in appetite or a need for “munchies”.
Hygiene and General Appearance
Changes in someone’s general appearance and hygiene habits can be a noticeable indication that something’s up.
As mentioned earlier, their complexion will look sickly or flushed and may generally have a look of being unhealthy.
They may lose interest in their personal hygiene or show any concern about their appearance.
Some stimulants or hallucinogenic substances could have the opposite reaction where someone becomes obsessed or fixated on certain details or features about their appearance.
Mental Signs of Drug Use
While a person’s physical changes are often apparent when using drugs, it may be their mental state that will first make you wonder if they are using drugs in the first place.
Many people will first notice a change in a loved one’s sleeping habits by them either staying up for days with a stimulant or sleeping at odd hours and being lethargic without explanation.
While this could be a sign of other mental health issues or a physical condition, sleeping and eating habit changes are apparent in drug abuse.
Someone who is stoned may become giggly, philosophical, pensive, or paranoid while under the influence of the drug.
Marijuana causes some to become social butterflies while others will end up smoking the day away sitting in one position on their couch. Perhaps they used to share your passion for traveling but now have no money or even an interest in planning a new adventure.
Drug users may become secretive, nervous, or defensive when asked a question or engaged in conversations. If currently under the influence, they may have trouble finishing a thought or even forming words.
Lack of Concentration or Interest
Drug use often replaces any other interests and can cause users to lose interest in activities they previously prioritized. They may become less dependable or focused when interacting with you or others.
They may experience hallucinations, be unable to complete a thought, miss appointments, deadlines, and social engagements.
Ways to Help Someone Who’s Using Drugs
It can be difficult to know what to do when someone you love is using drugs. There are lots of resources and addiction treatment services to help those with addiction problems. Many resources are also available for their loved ones.
Express Your Concern and Show Support
A solid support network is often the difference between a recovered addict and one spiraling downwards. While it’s not a deciding factor on someone doing drugs, their support network can be a catalyst in getting them recovery.
Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative
Make sure your loved one has options to keep them focussed on positive activities rather than opportunities to use drugs. Give them the gift of time so they know they’re not alone and so they have the option to spend time with you instead of out doing drugs.
Suggest and encourage help through non-judgemental and proactively supportive communication. Support groups, therapy, and rehabilitation or treatment programs provide added resources and knowledge than trying to handle an addiction on your own.
Knowledge Is Power
Communicating with your loved one and observing the changes in appearance and behavior is key. This is usually how to tell if someone is on drugs by looking at them as a whole.
If you’re worried about your significant other or a friend, spend some time together and observe them as the two of you travel through life.
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