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How to Tell If Someone Is High

by Will Long

August 15, 2023
the word 'high' spelled out

Recognizing the signs that someone might be under the influence of drugs or “high” isn’t just a matter of curiosity. It’s a crucial step in understanding what may be a serious underlying issue that needs to be addressed. By identifying these signs, you can take the appropriate actions to support and guide someone you care about toward recovery.

Here’s a critical guide that will serve you well in situations where the information may be helpful.

5 Proven Signs That Someone Is High

1. Changes in Physical Appearance

  • Eyes: Bloodshot or glassy eyes are common indicators.
  • Pupils: Dilated or constricted pupils can be a sign of various substances.
  • Face: Flushed or pale face might be a clue.
  • Hygiene: Neglecting personal grooming or hygiene.

2. Behavioral Changes

  • Speech: Slurred or incoherent speech.
  • Coordination: Lack of balance or unsteady movement.
  • Emotions: Unexplained mood swings or erratic behavior.

3. Odors and Paraphernalia

  • Smell: Unusual odors on breath, body, or clothing.
  • Items: Finding drug-related items like pipes, rolling papers, or pills.

4. Changes in Habits or Friends

  • Social Withdrawal: Withdrawing from family or friends.
  • Habits: Significant changes in eating or sleeping patterns.
  • New Friends: Suddenly spending time with a new group of friends.

5. Work or School Performance

  • Grades: Sudden drop in grades or work performance.
  • Attendance: Frequent absences or tardiness.

Recognizing these signs is only the beginning. If you are worried that someone you care about may be struggling with substance abuse or getting high often, it’s essential to approach the situation with care and empathy.

Check out the Indiana Department of Health’s useful guide on how to tell if someone is using drugs.

Understanding Different Drugs and Their Effects

Different substances affect the body and mind in various ways. For example:

  • Opioids (e.g., heroin, prescription painkillers): Can cause drowsiness, confusion, and slowed breathing.
  • Stimulants (e.g., cocaine, amphetamines): May lead to hyperactivity, anxiety, and increased heart rate.
  • Depressants (e.g., alcohol, benzodiazepines): Often result in relaxation, reduced inhibitions, and impaired coordination.

Understanding these effects can help you recognize specific symptoms related to particular substances.

The Importance of Early Drug Use Intervention

Early intervention in substance misuse and addiction refers to recognizing and addressing the problem at the earliest possible stage. It plays a critical role in the following:

Why Early Intervention Is So Important

Early intervention is a powerful tool in the fight against substance misuse and addiction. It saves lives, maintains health, strengthens families, supports communities, and fosters personal growth and resilience. Recognizing the signs of substance misuse and acting quickly can make a difference in the life of someone struggling with this complex issue.

  1. Preventing Escalation: Substance misuse can lead to a full-blown addiction. Early intervention helps stop this progression by addressing the issue before it becomes deeply entrenched.
  2. Minimizing Health Impact: The longer substance misuse continues, the greater the risk of serious health complications. Early intervention can prevent or mitigate these health risks, including mental health disorders, chronic diseases, and physical injuries.
  3. Enhancing Treatment Success: Initiating treatment in the early stages of substance misuse often leads to more successful results. Individuals may be more open to treatment, and the root issues leading to substance misuse may be easier to address.

Broader Reasons for Early Intervention

  1. Reducing Social and Economic Impact: Substance misuse can lead to social isolation, broken families, job loss, and financial instability. Early intervention can lower these impacts by helping individuals maintain their social connections, employment, and financial well-being.
  2. Supporting Families: Family members often feel helpless and confused when faced with a loved one’s substance misuse. Early intervention provides support not only to the individual struggling with addiction but also to their families. It equips them with the necessary tools and resources to understand the situation and effectively support their loved ones.
  3. Community Benefits: Early intervention is not only beneficial to the individual and their family but also to the wider community. By handling drug misuse early, communities can reduce crime, improve public health, and foster a more supportive and empathetic environment.
  4. Tailored Approaches: Early intervention allows for a more personalized and flexible approach to treatment. Since the issue is managed before it becomes more severe, a broader range of treatment options may be available that can be tailored to the individual’s specific needs.
  5. Building Resilience: Through early intervention, individuals can develop coping strategies and resilience that will serve them well in the future. This empowerment helps them face challenges head-on and make positive life changes.
  6. Connecting to Resources: Early intervention connects individuals and families to resources and support systems they might not have known were available. This can include therapy, support groups, educational programs, and medical treatment.

Need Professional Help? Contact Landmark Recovery

If you believe someone you know is showing these signs, your next step should be to seek professional help. Open a line of communication, express concern without judgment, and inspire them to explore recovery options.

If you or a loved one needs assistance, reach out to the professionals at Landmark Recovery. Our dedicated medical team specializes in personalized treatment programs to guide individuals’ recovery journeys.

Call Landmark Recovery at 888-448-0302 to speak with our compassionate staff and discover the best path toward a healthier future. We’re here to help 24/7.

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About the Author

Will Long

Will Long

A graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, Long has been a writer for Landmark Recovery since 2021. He specializes in research and writing about substance abuse from a scientific and social perspective. Unearthing information from underexplored, far-flung corners of the Internet, Long’s passion is finding emerging trends in substance use and treatment that the public should know about.