There are a number of signs and cues that one can look to in order to positively identify the presence of addiction or substance abuse problems in a loved one or friend. It is important to stress that these symptoms are simply correlated with substance abuse or drug addiction, and they do not necessarily indicate the presence of a substance abuse problem in the subject. For each symptom there could be a wide range of possible explanations which do not involve the existence of a persistent pattern of drug abuse, so it is important to keep an open mind when evaluating the behavior of a loved one or friend.
In a broad sense what is being done is noticing sudden any unexplained changes in the subject that is being evaluated. If an addiction is sufficiently all-consuming then there will inevitably clues that point to the addiction as a problem of that magnitude cannot be concealed for very long. These changes will potentially touch all aspects of the individual’s life and their relationships in ways that outwardly seem to have little to nothing to do with drug abuse or substance abuse to a layman.
When an individual is overcome with addiction one of the first changes that will become readily apparent in the beginning stages is their eating habits, and consequently, their weight. Commonly abused recreational drugs will tend to have some kind of impact on the appetite of the user and so sudden fluctuations in weight have been observed in those with concealed substance abuse addiction problems. Typically a person will cease to eat as much, although they may be induced to have much more voracious appetites, and so they will lose weight – sometimes to the point of taking on a sickly appearance.
When a person becomes addicted to a drug their life, by degrees, come to revolve around obtaining that drug and administering it. This will necessitate forming a contact network of fellow users and drug dealers who are involved in that illicit behavior, and besides, they will be unable to share that increasingly important aspect of their lives with those from their “previous life” pushing them further into those circles. Thus it may be observed in those experiencing addiction that they suddenly acquire a circle of new associates. This is one of the primary signs to look for when dealing with the prospect of a loved one concealing an addiction to drugs or alcohol.