Physical & Behavioral Symptoms of Potential Drug Use

This information is provided as a general listing of physical and behavioral symptoms sometimes found in persons abusing drugs.  It is not intended to be used for assessment and evaluation.  A professional licensed specialist should be consulted to determine if observed symptoms are related to drug abuse.


  • Bloated or puffy look, unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Lethargic, slowed or staggering gait, dizziness, slurred speech
  • Extreme hyperactivity, rapid speech
  • Red, watery eyes, runny nose, drooping eyelids, persistent and hacking cough
  • Tremors or shakes of hands, feet, or head, extreme nervousness or agitation
  • Nausea, vomiting, excessive sweating unexplained by presence of another illness
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping at inappropriate times
  • Noticeable change in personal grooming habits, sloppy, dirty, unkempt appearance
  • Drug related symbols and drawings on personal papers, notebooks


  • Personality changes, unexplained, violent or bizarre behavior
  • A gradual shift in friendship group
  • Change in activities, hobbies, loss of interest in previously important activities
  • Secretiveness, sudden withdrawal from family and friends
  • Unexplained periods of moodiness, irritability, depression, anxiety, frequent temper tantrums and continuing resentful behavior (emotions are highs and lows)
  • Sudden over sensitivity (everything is a “hassle” or reason to “get off my back”
  • Change or drop in performance at school, grades dropping off, change in habits (manipulation and bargaining with teachers/parents)
  • Noticeable drop in attention span, nodding off in class
  • General lack of motivation to do anything, boredom, “I don’t care” attitude
  • Totally obsesses with self to the point of being inconsiderate of others
  • Defiance of rules and regulations