More than 5-million Canadians use illegal drugs. Drug addiction is widely viewed as a social problem. People often believe that people who struggle with drug addiction are morally weak, or tend to be criminals. Often we think that drug addicts just need to make the choice not to take drugs anymore. However, the solution is not that simple. People who suffer from a drug addiction have compulsive issues that they simply can’t quit on their own.

Often substances abusers are in denial of their situation, or they go to obsessive lengths to hide what they are doing. Recognising a substance addiction can often become the burden of loved ones and partners.

To make sure your partner’s addiction doesn’t go unnoticed, be aware of these signs:

Physical Symptoms of Substance Abuse:

1: Abrupt changes in appetite.

Some drugs cause significant changes in a person’s desire to eat. Be aware if your partner is eating more or less than usual – this symptom can also be recognised if your partner is gaining or losing weight rapidly.

2: Alterations in sleep pattern.

Certain drugs can cause a person to wake in the middle of the night, experience insomnia or sleep way longer than necessary.

3: Hygiene – or lack thereof.

If your partner stops showering, brushing their teeth or caring about their appearance; they may be experiencing lethargy or complacency due to drug use.

4: Idleness or overactivity.

As mentioned in the previous point, drugs can alter your partner’s energy levels. Some may cause a state of relaxation and inactivity, others may cause your partner to become hyper. These symptoms vary from person to person.

5: Impairments.

Some symptoms of drug use include slurred speech, difficulty walking, poor hand-eye coordination, shakes or tremors. These symptoms are very obvious and easy to recognise as problematic.

6: Eye & nose changes.

Drugs and alcohol often have an effect on the eyes and nose. Eyes may appear bloodshot, or pupils dilated. Their nose may bleed often, or your partner may experience an unexplained and constant sniffling.

7: Injection marks.

These small marks often appear on the arms, legs and lower torso.

8: Itchiness.

A person with a substance problem will often pick at or scratch their skin. This is due to a histamine released in the body or a hallucination of bugs under the person’s skin.

9: Skin discolouration.

Internal damage to organs like that liver can result in skin discolouration.

10: Seizures.

Many prescription drugs, illegal drugs, and alcohol can cause seizures. If your partner starts experiencing seizures, without a history of epilepsy, they may have a substance abuse problem.

11: Finding Evidence.

Finding drug paraphernalia or empties in the trash or hidden in your home may be the most obvious symptom of a partner with a substance addiction.

If you suspect your partner is using, you are not alone. Thankfully help is available to you and your loved one. Learn more here.