anxious woman standing near a window showing clear signs of drug use

Clear Signs of Drug Use That Often Accompany Mental Illness

Clear Signs of Drug Use

More than 43 million people experience some form of mental illness in a given year in this country. Whether it’s a mild form of anxiety or the severe onset of schizophrenia, mental disorders regularly affect a large portion of the country’s population. Unfortunately, not everyone who is ill seeks professional treatment for mental illness — less than half, in fact. Instead, they self-medicate to try to ease the emotional pain and feelings of isolation. If you suspect someone you love is in a situation like this, there are probably clear signs of drug use present if you know where to look.

Origins of Mental Illness

Before you begin searching for clear signs of drug use in your loved ones, it’s helpful to have a better understanding of mental illness. The Mayo Clinic defines mental illness as a range of mental health conditions that impact mood, behavior, and thinking. Mentally ill people are not crazy. In many instances, they’re simply reacting to past trauma. Consequently, many factors contribute to disorders like depression and anxiety, including:

  • Neglect or abuse in childhood
  • Attack or sexual assault
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Loss of a relationship
  • Memories of war
  • Survival guilt

Other forms of mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), are believed to be at least partially genetic. In other words, your loved one may have been born with a disorder such as this, or the disorder may develop over time. Regardless, when someone attempts to self-medicate to solve emotional problems, things only get worse.

Is Your Loved One Mentally Ill?

Signs of mental illness vary across conditions, but indicators to watch for include:

  • Sudden, self-imposed isolation
  • Talking to people who aren’t there
  • Seeing things that aren’t real
  • Fear of leaving the house
  • Fear of social situations
  • Suicidal thoughts

Often, someone who experiences these symptoms may turn to drugs or alcohol for temporary relief. This is called self-medicating. In the long run, self-medicating may lead to addiction. This, consequently, causes a whole new range of problems.

Clear Signs of Drug Use in Loved Ones

Signs of drug use may be obvious or subtle, depending upon the drug that’s being used. For example, popular drugs used to relieve emotional pain include opioids, depressants, and stimulants. Each has its own clear signs of drug use, accordingly.


(Heroin, morphine, codeine, hydrocodone)

Signs of opioid use include:

  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Euphoria


(Alcohol, benzodiazepines)

Signs someone is abusing depressants include:

  • Slow reaction time
  • Poor memory
  • Little emotion


(Cocaine, Adderall, Ritalin)

Signs of stimulant abuse include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Restlessness
  • Hyperactivity

If Your Loved One Needs Treatment

If your friend or family member suffers from mental illness complicated by substance use disorder, they need treatment for a dual diagnosis. In essence, a dual diagnosis happens when someone experiences addiction alongside another mental disorder. At Five Palms, we specialize in treating mental health and substance use disorder, whether they occur individually or together as a dual diagnosis. At Five Palms, your loved one will benefit from the most scientifically proven therapies and a caring and compassionate staff that’s top-notch.

Five Palms offers a quiet retreat away from the stress of a hectic life. Clients who recover here learn how to relax without the use of drugs or alcohol. They learn healthy coping skills and recovery behaviors to carry with them after treatment ends. As a result, they learn to call upon their inner strength and the support of a healthy network in times of crisis.

If you or someone you love needs help, call Five Palms today at 1.844.675.1022. We’ll help you change the direction of your life for the better.

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