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How To Tell if Your Partner Is Abusing Drugs

by Landmark Recovery

June 2, 2021
couple holding hands

How To Tell If Your Partner Is Abusing Drugs

If you have no first-hand experience of substance abuse, you might be wondering how to tell if your partner is abusing drugs.

Do you have reason to suspect your partner is abusing drugs? If you’ve never experienced substance abuse firsthand, you might not know what to look for.

Now, people use different drugs for different reasons and to varying extents. As such, there is no boilerplate strategy for identifying drug abuse. Also, just because someone seems to manifest several of the red flags we highlight today, that doesn’t automatically mean they are abusing drugs.

With that proviso in place, ask yourself if your loved one meets any of the following conditions if you suspect they are abusing drugs.

8 Warning Signs Your Partner Could Be Abusing Drugs

  1. You notice suspicious physical signs and changes to your loved one’s appearance
  2. Dramatic mood swings are commonplace
  3. Your loved one seems to be behaving erratically
  4. Financial problems become apparent
  5. Unusual sleeping habits become the norm
  6. Your loved one starts lying or behaving secretly
  7. They start wanting to spend more time alone
  8. Complacency and apathy abound

1) You notice suspicious physical signs and changes to your loved one’s appearance

While signs of drug use vary according to the substance being used, there are various telltale markers to look out for.

Bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils are common red flags for substance abuse. Injection marks on the arms – often covered by long sleeves in warm weather – is a classic warning sign of intravenous drug abuse.

If you notice your loved one undergoing unexplained weight loss or weight gain, they could be abusing drugs. You may also notice that their eating patterns are disrupted by substance abuse.

Any pronounced changes to physical appearance or a drop in standards of personal hygiene are also classic indications of drug abuse.

2) Dramatic mood swings are commonplace

Drug addiction exerts a powerful toll on all aspects of life, physical, mental, and emotional.

Think about your loved one’s normal mood. Maybe they are usually remarkably laid back but recently becoming hyper and less in control of their emotions. Perhaps your loved one is usually positive and upbeat, yet you’re noticing them spiraling into a bout of depression.

Substance abuse can do more than trigger a shift in someone’s baseline mood. You might notice dramatic mood swings, with your loved one moving from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other, seemingly for no reason.

While these issues could be triggered by substance abuse, your partner could be suffering from a dual diagnosis: substance use disorder with a co-occurring mental health condition.

3) Your loved one seems to be behaving erratically

Erratic behaviors out of character for your loved one could be driven by addiction.

If your partner happens to suffer from depression or anxiety disorder, they might abuse drugs to self-medicate. Not only will this do nothing to alleviate the symptoms, but it can also bring about reckless and negative behaviors.

4) Financial problems become apparent

If you’re operating on joint finances, you may start noticing some irregularities in the budget if your loved one is abusing drugs.

Alternatively, you may find your partner asking to borrow money, or potentially even stealing money.

The cost of drug use is significant, and active addiction often leads to a reduction in productivity and employability. Resultantly, financial duress is commonplace among substance abusers, so keep your eyes peeled for this.

5) Unusual sleeping habits become the norm

Most people abusing drinks find their sleeping patterns are radically disrupted.

If your loved one has started keeping different hours, often staying up late or sleeping in excessively, this is a common early warning sign of drug abuse.

6) Your loved one starts lying or behaving secretively

Do you notice any changes in the way your loved one interacts with you? Do they seem to be lying to you concerning their whereabouts or what they’ve been doing? If so, they might be attempting to conceal their drug use.

You could become confronted with increasingly lame excuses for missed events or appointments, again a cover-up for the reality of substance abuse.

Sneaky, suspicious behavior out of the blue can have many underpinning causes, drug abuse among them.

7) They start wanting to spend more time alone

When someone becomes more consumed by addiction, they often withdraw from friends and family.

While it’s perfectly healthy to have independent lives, and it’s normal to spend time apart, if you feel your loved one is continually looking to be alone, you should start by asking them why. It might be that they are using drugs and doing all they can to hide this from you. In some cases, they may even be relieved when confronted about the problem.

8) Complacency and apathy abound

When someone becomes deeper mired in drug addiction, they’ll typically lose interest in the hobbies and activities they previously found captivating.

A general sense of apathy and ennui can permeate someone with a one-track mind for drugs. If you spot your loved one becoming complacent and apathetic about life, it could be worth asking them if they are using drugs.

What Comes Next

If any of these signs of drug abuse today seem familiar, there’s no need to suffer in silence. With the right treatment, your loved one can achieve sustained recovery from addiction.

Here at Landmark Recovery, we have personalized inpatient and outpatient treatment programs to help your loved one get back on track. To get things started, call the team at  888-448-0302.

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About the Author

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery was founded with a determination to make addiction treatment accessible for all. Through our integrated treatment programs, we've helped thousands of people choose recovery over addiction and get back to life on their own terms. We're on a mission to save one million lives over the next century. We encourage all those struggling with substance use to seek professional help.