Can you tell if your friend is using?
Is my friend using drugs and how can I tell?
Can you tell if your friend is using? Many substance abusers are almost professional at their ability to hide their usage from family and close friends. Sometimes, when the tragedy of an overdose occurs, disbelief is the first reaction a family member will experience because they simply didn’t know. If not for any other reason than to equip you with knowledge, here are a bunch of signs you can look out for to find out if your friend is using and abusing a substance.
Common indicators that a person is using a substance
1. Signs of disorientation. You may notice that your friend is oblivious to their surroundings and cannot keep up with the conversation at hand.
2. Strange and unusual behaviour. If your friend is dead quiet usually and all of a sudden gets into a brawl or causes trouble at the pub, there is a good chance they could be using drugs.
3. Signs of irritability or agitated behaviour. A friend can quickly and without prompting become nervous, jumpy and easily upset if they are on drugs.
4. Odd injuries. All of a sudden your friend, the picture of health comes to your house and has a bloody nose or strange bruising on his body? The various types of methods used to ingest drugs, like snorting or injecting can cause damage to the body which are quite easy to pick up. Some examples of these include veins collapsing and bruising from needle punctures or a bleeding nose from inhaling crushed drugs through a straw.
5. Difficulty with breathing. Quite a few drugs have the main function of suppressing the central nervous system. This can slow down the very regular repetition of breathing, to deadly levels. In fact, it is good to know that shallow, laboured breathing is a sign that an overdose is happening with someone using.
6. Weird smells. Marijuana gives off a pungent smell, a mix between smoky and what is commonly described as a “”skunky” odour. This is often masked with the smell of incense, using mouthwash or even spraying air fresheners. If you constantly notice an uncommon smell around your friend, chances are he is hiding something from your nose.
7. Sweaty hands on a lukewarm day. Have you noticed that your friend has the chills even though the weather says otherwise? Or perhaps sweating on a cold day? A runny nose and bloodshot eyes are similar tell-tale signs that your using friend may well be high. Also look out for excessive rubbing of the nose, as it is a sure sign of a current, future using or just finished nasal drug intake.
8. Sunglasses and covering of the body. Wearing sunglasses indoors or long sleeve shirts on a warm day may be a fashion trend, but they may also be covering a more sinister agenda – drug using. Sunglasses hide bloodshot eyes and long sleeve shirts can cover track marks on the arms.
My friend is high, now what?
If you have found out that your friend is actually using and in fact high, and you are concerned about what happens next, read on. It’s a slow and steady spiral downwards, and the previous points listed are just the beginning of what’s to come.
Drug-using and abuse can change the behaviour of a person. These are the behaviour warning signs to look out for:
1. Issues in his/her relationship
2. Odd or concealed and hidden behaviour
3. A run-in with the law, fighting, accidents and harmful activities.
4. Unplanned/unwanted pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted diseases.
5. Money problems, constant request for cash and loans, theft, stealing, lying about money.
6. Drop in effort at work and other responsibilities, school marks and attitude changes, neglecting to care for children.
7. New circle of friends or people he/she “hangs” out with
How do I tell if my friend is using drugs and possibly addicted to drugs
If you have found out that your friend is high, and you subsequently learnt that they are using drugs frequently, there is a good chance that they are now addicts. But how do you know if addiction has crept in? Here are some signs that your friend may have an addiction:
1. They continue using a substance to make the ‘come down’ and withdrawal easier
2. They use more than they said they would and cannot control themselves from using. Using more than intended and unable to stop
3. Substance > life. Simply put they value the drug over the rest of their life. Friends, family, money, health, work which leads to;
4. The abandoning, giving up and showing no signs of interest in their hobbies, sports, or any forms of socialising they once had.
5. They will keep on using despite the warnings and the obvious consequences.
6. Mood changes, personality changes and 180 degree turns in attitude.
What does an addict look like?
Although each addict will have different symptoms of abuse, there are some common things to look out for:
1. They begin to look dishevelled and don’t care about hygiene
2. Their weight begins to drop or increase.
3. Odd smells on clothing and/or breath
4. Eyes are bloodshot eyes, pinpointed or heavily dilated pupils.
5. Constant sniffing and/or runny nose.
6. Concentration, coordination suffers and speech is slurred.
7. Slurred speech, tremors, poor coordination
How does an addict act?
1. Addiction causes an increase in tolerance – the addict will constantly want more to get the desired fix.
2. Hair gets thin and brittle
3. Massive cravings for the drug – especially when it is removed.
4. Blood pressure is raised, liver and/or kidney deterioration and heart issues, including diseases in all abovementioned organs.
5. Loss of appetite, signs of nausea and vomiting.
6. Skin looks poorly, increase of wrinkles
7. Joints and muscles ache
Is your friend using or obviously getting high? If you believe so and you want to get them the help they deserve, before it is too late, make sure you make the call and act now. Even if they hate you at first and fight your attempts to help them, and stop them from using. You are effectively saving their life and that is all that counts.
For more information on dealing with drug abuse and getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:
office hours: 011 787 9142
24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532
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