Common Behaviors of Drug Addicts: Tips to Recognizing a Substance Abuse Problem or Addiction


Living with or around individuals who struggle with substance abuse problems can be challenging. Many times, friends and family of substance abusers who share living spaces are subject to the unpredictable whims of drug addicts. Behavior changes, personality eccentricities, mental illnesses, and mood swings can all conspire to make it difficult to determine where a drug abuser’s personal traits end and addiction symptoms begin. At White Sands Treatment Center, we know that being able to identify the signs of drug abuse can facilitate the process of convincing yourself, a friend, or a loved one to enter a rehabilitation center. If you recognize the symptoms of drug abuse, call us today to get help through personalized counseling and therapy.

For individuals who have obtained a prescription legally, signs of drug addiction can involve changes in the preferred method of ingestion. For example, if patients take more tablets than suggested, take pills more frequently than directed, or change the method of ingestion, such as crushing pills before snorting them, these may be clues that point to a possible drug addict. Behavior suggesting addiction may also extend to using pills for reasons that are not associated with their prescribed purpose. Similarly, drug addicts will often continue the use of prescriptions long after an injury or illness for which they were prescribed has resolved. All of these behaviors contribute to the ongoing epidemic of prescription drug overdoses and deaths.

As a friend or family member attempting to determine if substance abuse is occurring, it can be especially important to note how prescriptions are taken by a potential drug addict. Behavior that can accompany addiction often involves the ingestion of additional substances along with pills. Alcohol and other drugs are often paired with abused substances to complement intoxication or counteract side effects like insomnia. Since the combination of prescriptions and alcohol or other substances can significantly affect behavior, drug addicts should be assessed by top rehab professionals in a recovery facility to rule out or diagnose an accompanying mental illness during a detox. This can result in a dual diagnosis, which can lead the way toward customized treatment plans and successful recovery.

Stealing and financial problems can seem to plague drug addicts. Behavior may become suspicious, especially when the personal items of friends or family go inexplicably missing or an addict generally has trouble meeting financial obligations. The medicine cabinets of close associates should be monitored. Signs of dependency can include the pilfering of medications and money from other people’s homes and personal effects. At White Sands Treatment Center, we employ highly trained staff that can help address many of the common behavioral issues and indiscretions that have been recognized in addicts.

Relationships may also suffer, as drugs become the central focus in the lives of drug addicts. Behavior may be considered uncouth, eccentric, or inappropriate when addiction takes hold. Irritability and mood swings can be prevalent, especially when addicts are temporarily or permanently denied access to drugs or the financial resources to acquire them. Manipulation and lying may become primary personality characteristics as addicts decide to do and say what is necessary to obtain more drugs. Secretiveness and abusiveness may even rock the foundations of relationships that were once respectful, loving, and secure.

Depending on the type of drug ingested, there may be physical indications of substance abuse on the body of a drug addict. Behavior changes may lead to these effects, though it is also possible that the drug itself will wreak havoc on an addict’s appearance. For instance, individuals addicted to methamphetamines may take to scratching their faces, resulting in sores and abrasions, while a yellowish hue may tint a heroin abuser’s skin. And personal hygiene and grooming habits tend to suffer when an addict’s primary goal is to obtain and use drugs.

At White Sands Treatment Center, we have programs that are specifically designed to combat the numerous negative behaviors that often accompany substance abuse. Our highly trained staff work with addicts so that the challenges of detox are met in a safe and comfortable environment. If a dual diagnosis presents, we individualize treatment so that all facets of addiction are addressed and managed. Fill out the form to contact us through email or call today to get started with an assessment that will help you or your loved one take the first important steps toward a drug-free life.