What Are the Signs of Having a Problem With Drugs?

Girl lying on a bed with a cell phone in her hand.


Addiction can happen at any age, but it usually starts when a person is young. It’s the result of changes in the brain that can come from drug use. Addiction affects how people think and what they do. But what exactly are the signs? 

First, it’s important to know that there is no “type” of person who becomes addicted. People can face addiction no matter where they’re from, what they look like, or how much money they have. 

One important sign of addiction is that a person continues to use drugs even though it’s harming their life: physical health, performance at school or work, or relationships. They feel like they can’t stop using drugs, no matter what happens.

Other signs can include:  

  • Hanging out with different friends than usual.
  • Not caring about their appearance. 
  • Getting lower grades in school. 
  • Missing classes or skipping school. 
  • Losing interest in their favorite activities. 
  • Getting in trouble in school or with the law. 
  • Having different eating or sleeping habits. 
  • Having more problems with family members and friends. 

To address addiction, talk to a medical professional. For more information, see NIDA’s free resource, “Step by Step Guides to Finding Treatment for Drug Use Disorders.” 

Find Help Near You

Use the SAMHSA Treatment Locator to find substance use or other mental health services in your area. If you are in an emergency situation, this toll-free, 24-hour hotline can help you get through this difficult time: call 1-800-273-TALK, or visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. We also have step by step guides on what to do to help yourself, a friend or a family member.

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