Drug addiction is a relentless illness that inflicts suffering not only in an individual but also to their surrounding community.

The chances of beating addiction are much higher if an individual is treated earlier. Thus, if you are concerned that a family member or loved one is abusing drugs, it’s important to be aware of the key signs of substance abuse.

The top five signs of drug abuse are:

1. Lack of Motivation & Performance Drop

Have you noticed your loved one becoming sluggish? Does it seem difficult for them to follow through with tasks or goals that they were once enthusiastic about? One of the first signs of drug addiction is a lack of motivation to perform well, whether it be at school, work, or even at home. A person who suffers from drug addiction may fail a class or be fired from their job because of a major sink in their performance and motivation. Additionally, their ability to remember tasks will suffer.

Typically, those who are abusing drugs will lose interest in all of the passions that they were once excited by; they will primarily be interested in obtaining and using drugs.

2. Increased Irritability and Volatile Behavior

Another key component of drug addiction is unwarranted, volatile behavior. An individual who is suffering from drug addiction will often become recognizably angry and restless when they experience withdrawal from drugs. Shortly after acting annoyed and even disrespectful, they can quickly become very caring and friendly, especially if they are in need of something.

If this type of irritability and erratic temperament seems out of the norm for an individual whom you suspect may be abusing drugs, it’s important to make note of it.

3. Deception and Secrecy

Those who are abusing drugs sometimes become recluse in an effort to hide their addiction from their families and friends. They may be unresponsive for days, not answering any phone calls or text messages from friends and family.

In an effort to further hide their addiction, individuals who abuse drugs may also engage in deception with those who are closest to them. If you catch a lie, whether it is about your loved one’s location or plans, this could be a strong sign that they are engaging in drug abuse.

4. Change in Personality

Addiction alters a person’s brain activity, and can, therefore, alter their personality. People who are suffering from drug addiction are often overcome with a desire to obtain and use a particular drug. Therefore, qualities that were previously key parts of someone’s personality are outshined by their obsession with this drug.

Has your loved one seemed like a very different person lately? In addition to erratic behavior, an overarching change in personality is often a symptom of drug addiction. They may dress differently, have new hygiene habits, and engage in hazardous activities.

5. Intoxication

Obviously, one of the surest signs of drug addiction is a person who is clearest intoxicated. If they have bloodshot eyes, have dilated pupils, are slurring their words, can’t stand or walk balanced, have an excessive amount of energy, or even have psychosis, it’s likely that the individual is using drugs.

Although all of these signs are often associated with substance abuse, note that they do not guarantee that someone is abusing drugs. However, if you are concerned that a loved one is abusing drugs, and they are exhibiting the aforementioned, it may be a crucial time for an intervention.

If your loved one is a first responder, such as a fireman, police officer, or an EMT, they are eligible to participate in a rehabilitation program at First Responders First.