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‍When you live with another person, you share not only a household but also a home. You develop habits together and learn about one another’s quirks. Living together can be challenging even under the best of circumstances; when one roommate has a drug addiction, the situation becomes significantly more difficult for everyone involved. The stress of living with someone who is struggling to quit drugs can have a negative impact on your life.

However, it is not always easy to spot the signs of drug abuse in loved ones. People who struggle with addiction often work hard to conceal their habit from others. In some cases, a drug-using roommates may reveal their problem early on in the relationship by exhibiting warning signs that they are struggling with addiction. If you recognize these red flags in someone you live with, take action immediately before the problem gets worse. Learn more about what to look for and how to approach this difficult conversation as efficiently as possible in this article.

Disregard for the Living Environment

One of the first signs of drug addiction that you might notice in a roommate is a disregard for keeping the house clean or a lack of interest in maintaining the general condition of the living space. If your roommate rarely cleans up after themselves or doesn’t seem to care about how the place looks, this could be a sign that they are struggling with drug addiction. People who abuse drugs often have poor hygiene, and their living environments often reflect this. They might leave behind dirty dishes in the sink, cigarette butts on the countertops, and piles of clothes on the floor where they dropped them.

Behavior Changes

If your roommate suddenly begins to exhibit changes in their mood, hygiene, eating habits, sleeping patterns, or social activities, this could indicate that they are struggling with drug addiction. If your roommate suddenly starts to act more withdrawn or isolated, or if they become irritable more often than they used to, this could be a sign that they are using drugs. A sudden change in sleeping habits could be a sign of drug use. If your roommate is sleeping more than usual, or sleeping at odd times, they could be using drugs. If your roommate suddenly begins to eat less or develop eating habits that they never had before, they could be using drugs.

You Find Drugs or Drug Paraphernalia

If you find illegal substances in your roommate’s room or on their property, this is a clear sign that they are using drugs. You might find baggies, scales, pipes, spoons, or other drug paraphernalia when searching your roommate’s room. Some drugs leave behind distinct odors that others can smell. If you smell marijuana in the room your roommate sleeps in, for example, this could be a sign that they are smoking weed. If you smell an odd smell coming from the room your roommate uses, particularly one that is sweet, chemical-like, or reminiscent of nail polish, this could indicate that they are using drugs such as meth, cocaine, or opioids.

Visiting the Bathroom Constantly

If your roommate is constantly visiting the bathroom and is noticeably sweaty, red-eyed, or has dilated pupils, they could be using drugs. Cocaine, heroin, meth, and other drugs cause people to urinate frequently. People who use these substances often drink a lot of water, which causes them to urinate more than normal. This can cause them to spend a lot of time in the bathroom. People who use drugs are often sweaty, even when the weather is cold. Sweating is caused by drugs’ effect on the body, not by temperature. Dilated pupils may also be a sign of drug use. Dilated pupils are not always a sign of drug use. But in this case, dilated pupils are caused by drugs.

Physical Signs of Drug Abuse

Some physical signs of drug abuse can also be indications of a serious health problem. If your roommate has sores on their arms, legs, or torso, or if they have open wounds on their skin, these could be signs of drug abuse. If your roommate has black or brown spots on their skin, these could be signs of infection. If your roommate has track marks on their arms or legs, they are using heroin. If your roommate is injecting drugs, they will likely develop visible signs of infection, such as sores or other marks on the skin. If your roommate has a rapid heartbeat or shortness of breath that does not improve after taking a break from whatever they are doing, they could be experiencing withdrawal. Drugs, particularly opioids, can cause health issues like these.

Signs of Drug Abuse in Roommates

If your roommate is exhibiting signs of drug use, they may also be exhibiting signs of addiction. Addiction is a compulsive need to use drugs, despite the negative consequences. If your roommate always seems to have a need for drugs, if they are secretive about their drug use, if they refuse to seek help even when confronted, or if they continue to use drugs even though it is causing them serious problems, they are likely addicted.

In addition to looking for signs of drug abuse in your roommate, you should also be on the lookout for signs that they want to quit using drugs. Some people who struggle with drug addiction want to quit, but they are unsure how to get help. If your roommate seems to be seeking help, they may be willing to get help from you, too.

Recommending a Sober Living

If your roommate is struggling to quit drugs, you should recommend that they find a sober living. A sober living is a type of long-term housing that provides addicts with a safe, supportive environment where they can quit drugs. A sober living can be an excellent option for many people. Because sober living environments are relatively inexpensive, most people can afford to pay for them. Sober living environments are often located in residential areas, so they are relatively quiet. While living with a roommate who is struggling with drug addiction can be difficult, it is not impossible. If you recognize the signs of addiction in your roommate, do what you can to help them get the help they need.

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Edited by: David Beasley

David Beasley - Design for Recovery

RADT
David Beasley is a certified RADT (Registered Alcohol/Drug Technician). David, moved to California from North Carolina after many failed attempts to get sober.

Medically Reviewed by: Charley Allen
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LMFT
Charley earned his Masters of Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, Los Angeles, and is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).He teaches mindfulness to both adults and children in group setting such as schools, corporate workplaces, and medical treatment facilities.

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