If you are worried that a friend or relative is abusing drugs or alcohol, look out for the physical and behavioural warning signs listed below.
- Bloodshot eyes or pupils that are larger or smaller than normal
- Decline in health, including bulging veins and a runny nose
- Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
- Sudden weight loss or gain
- Deterioration of personal hygiene, grooming habits and/or physical appearance and not bathing
- Unusual smells on breath, body or clothing
- Tremors, slurred speech or impaired co-ordination
- Drop in attendance at work or school
- An unexplained need for money, or financial problems; money may go missing from the household
- A change in personality – withdrawn, moody, depressed, tired, careless, manipulative, secretive and/or isolated
- Missing prescription drugs, cold medicines, alcohol or aerosol containers in the home
- Finding drug paraphernalia in the home, including pipes, rolling papers, eye drops, butane lighters, soft drink containers made into pipes, etc
- The use of room deodorant or incense in the bedroom
- Physically abusive, aggressive, punching the walls, etc.
- Lying and stealing
- Being irresponsible and unreliable
- Behaving impulsively (without thinking) and compulsively (overdoing something e.g. eating)
- Losing interest in things
- Teenagers demand more privacy, lock doors, sneak around and avoid eye contact
- Teenagers skip class, have declining grades and suddenly get into trouble at school
Source: City of Cape Town. Find more information here.