Skip to Content

Signs of Drug Addiction


Drug abuse and drug addiction is rampant in the United States: an estimated 20 million Americans over the age of 12 – or eight percent of the population -- have used an illegal drug in the past month, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCAAD).

And, the cost of drug abuse to society exceeds more than $190 billion a year, which includes $130 billion in lost productivity, $20 billion in healthcare costs and $40 billion in efforts to stop the flow of drugs in this country.

Because of staggering statistics such as these, it’s important to gain an understanding about the general signs of drug addiction so that you can get a friend, a loved one or even and acquaintance the help they may need if you think they are suffering from drug addiction.

There are three areas – physical/health, behavioral and psychological – where you can spot warnings signs of drug addiction.

Physical/Health Signs of Drug Addiction

• Eye Changes – Pupils that are smaller or bigger than normal, or even eyes that are bloodshot.
• Nosebleeds – Frequent nose bleeds can be a sign of drugs being snorted.
• Appetite Changes – Eating less or more than usual, resulting in weight gain or loss.
• Grooming Issues – Loss of interest in appearance or overall issues with cleanliness or grooming.

Behavioral Signs of Drug Addiction

• Loss of Interest in Everyday Activities – This could include not showing up for work or school, or not participating in activities that once were of interest.
• Financial Problems – A new, or unusual need for money, which may include borrowing money or even stealing money/valuables from others.
• Relationship Changes – Suddenly, for no apparent reason, changing of friends and/or hobbies.

Psychological Signs of Drug Addiction

• Personality Changes – An overall change in personality, or sudden mood changes or irritability.
• Lack of Motivation – No longer has drive to do certain things or has an inability to focus on topic at hand.
• Withdrawn – Appears to withdraw from normal, every day life or seems anxious or paranoid for no apparent reason.

Source: National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (NCADD)