When it comes to having a substance abuse issue, sometimes it takes someone else recognizing it for us. Friends and family may be able to identify a problem before the addict even knows.

In order to be able to help your loved one make it through their substance issues, it’s important to know what the warning signs to look out for are. If you suspect that someone you love may be taking part in substance abuse, here are some of the key signs to look out for.

Change In Behavior/Personality

There is a difference between taking medication which is prescribed to us for specific issues and taking drugs which aren’t being used for a medical condition at all. When people start taking medication which isn’t medically prescribed for a condition which they have, this can start to drastically change their behavior.

If you notice that your loved one has become suddenly different or has changed their lifestyle drastically, you may want to start examining whether they are taking anything which may have sparked this change.

That isn’t to say that some people don’t abuse the medication they were prescribed by a doctor. They may be using too much rather than the recommended dose given to them by their doctor. Too much can go from being something helpful to something destructive.

Irregular Sleep Patterns

Taking certain substances can start to affect the way that you sleep. Someone who isn’t sleeping much, or is up at odd hours, may be taking something which is causing them a lack of sleep.

There are other substances, however, which have the opposite effect and can make people more drowsy than usual. If you notice that someone is falling asleep more or drowsy, this could be a big red flag towards a bigger problem.


People with substance abuse issues can tend to be extremely unreliable. This is because they are putting their drugs first and their priorities second. Often, drug addicts are too tired or high to be able to follow through with their obligations, like work or meeting up with friends.

Therefore, if you start to notice that someone you love is canceling a lot, or worse, not showing up at all regularly, you may want to consider substance abuse as a possibility.

Mood Swings

People who are high can tend to have extreme dips in moods. One minute they are on the top of the world feeling excited about everything, and the next minute they are anxious, fearful, and depressed.

Try to keep a close eye on how drastically their moods change in a short period of time to gauge whether you think substances may be to blame.


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