A Personal Look at Symptoms of Drug Addiction

This article is written mainly from my own experiences and of those around me. It is not a reading of text book symptoms because there are definitely differences depending on how long we use a certain drug and what drug we use. I use the word THEY, meaning addicts, myself included. This personal look at symptoms of drug addiction is written for encouragement that if there is a problem then a solution could be found.

This article is not written to glorify drugs whatsoever. I know the control and living “hell” they cause us. It is for trying to provide some knowledge for all of us. If we know it, then we can take action toward a solution.

Have you noticed any physical or mental changes with your loved one or experiencing these changes yourself? When we start taking any drug, we don’t immediately show symptoms, but as we progress in addiction, the changes become apparent especially to those closest to us or other addicts. These signs and symptoms are not concrete for each person and just because your loved one’s sleeping habits have changed does not mean he/she is on drugs. It points us to a direction where more questions and hopefully solutions come about for anyone that is suffering from the disease of Drug Addiction. 

 Early Signs of Drug Addiction:

One of the first signs that there is a drug problem is our eyes. They’re either dilated or constricted. I remember looking in the mirror and only seeing my pupils. I tried not to look anyone in the eye. In time, my eyes became red and hollow from losing weight and loss of sleep. And finally, a pair of sunglasses at night or when sun is setting could mean something as well.

Another early sign of a drug problem is a change in routine. Example, usually sleeps all night from 10-6, but now is staying up until 3am and only sleeping short times. Then possibly sleeping the entire day and night a few days later. Sleep changes are really common for all types of drugs that have addictive properties. The longer a drug is uses, the addict has to adjust his/her schedule to the ability of looking, finding and getting their drug. This also can be difficult to maintain a work or school schedule. Therefore, missing appointments and commitments always come at some point.

Keeping up with hygiene and self care becomes lower on the priority list when drugs are involved. You may notice dirty hair or clothes that are worn often and may be dirty. Skin color becomes very pale. My ex boss told me she could tell by how I looked if I was high or not. Actually, I was presentable when I had my drug and it looked like I just rolled out of bed if I did not have any that morning. So it could be variations to our personal care.

Drugs usually involve money and so finances usually change. Addicts use their money. They borrow money from loved ones always using excuses why they need it. They take out loans if needed. It becomes apparent their financial status has changed.

Progression of Addiction:

The progression of the disease of Addiction is different for each addict. The one thing I know is that it is all down hill. Without changes, addiction can be fatal. This article has been all-inclusive regarding all drugs so not all symptoms fit each person. Hopefully, in other articles, we can focus on the different types of drugs and increase our knowledge even more.

From the list above, if drug use continues so do the signs. There comes a time when the drugs are the only thing that matters. Looking for them, paying for them, doing them and then repeat. It becomes a full time job and therefore everything else in life suffers.

The disease tells us so many lies as an addict. Addicts can lose weight drastically and they will think they look good. Addicts not worry with hygiene or eating because they are high or trying to find what they need. They try to hold on to “normalcy,” but are unable. Addicts lose jobs, stop showing up to events or commitments. You will see addicts become more introverted and not want to be seen much when they are high and definitely will not be at functions without getting high. Addicts can get into serious illegal situations and by standers are totally lost at the extremes their loved ones go to.


At this point it is a need… Addicts have a choice at the beginning of starting use. But if continued, that choice is now a NEED. The brain has changed and the drug is the only thing it craves. Addicts will manipulate, bully, throw fits, cry, sob story, etc. Whatever they need to do to continue the illness. This is becoming really hard for the people around who love and support them. Addicts become callous to the comments of others regarding help or change. Sometimes addicts have several families or friends who “help” them with maintaining the looks of a normal life. Paying for all their needs like housing, car, legal bills, etc. This is enabling them to continue their use without consequences. This just delays the inevitable. 

Progression is a jail sentence or admission to a mental hospital if they do not reach a point where they know they need help. Sadly, addiction can also be the cause of a death. Overdoses are more and more common and the street drugs have unknown ingredients to the addict. Death is the end result of drug addiction.


I know this was quite a bit to take in, especially if new to observation or questions regarding possible drug abuse. While I was in my addiction, I did not see any of the signs that there might be a problem??? Not until legal and other consequences of my actions started staring me in my face. I felt like I was OK and not hurting anyone but myself. I came to a threshold. A window of just enough clarity and fear of prison/death, that I made a decision and went to rehab. And that started this different journey 8 years ago. I am far from perfect and do not know it all, but what I know is there is a way out. There is a way to quit. It takes strength and determination and every addict has them both.


Thank You,






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