How can you tell if someone has been using drugs for a long time? Typically, you can identify them by specific behaviors or changes in physical appearance that may indicate long-term drug use.
An internet user asked, “Healthcare professionals, what is a telltale sign a patient has used drugs heavily in their life?”. Below, we’ve compiled the top responses.
THEY LOOK CONSIDERABLY OLDER
“They look 10-20 years older than their stated age. I took care of a ‘very’ sick pancreatitis patient in the ICU over the weekend. There was this guy who was in his late 30s but could ‘easily’ pass for late 50s.”
“Jaw movement. Before anything else, the loss of control of their lower jaw is a big indicator of long-term drug usage.”
NEED MORE ANESTHESIA
“The patient needs a lot more anesthesia than the average person. It is one of the reasons my brother had a lot of pain while recovering from an open heart surgery.”
NOTICEABLY LESS BRAIN MATTER
“In Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), there is noticeably less brain matter. About 2 seconds of looking at a scan of a brain, it’s easy to tell if someone is a heavy user of certain drugs (like cocaine) from the small gaps and spacing amongst the brain.”
HISTORY OF EMOTIONAL TRAUMA
“The obvious signs are obvious. The less obvious but more insidious sign is a history of emotional or intimate trauma. Though we should not judge.”
“Smell, appearance, eye dilation, how they move, and speak. One of the biggest things drug users need to know is to tell the truth. I’m not there to judge, but I need to know how to help and what could make things worse.”
BIG MEATY HANDS
“I am not a medical professional, but I work with a lot of marginalized people. One thing I’ve noticed is big, meaty hands. A petite, 110 lb woman will have thick, hard, big hands. It almost looks cartoonish once you notice.”
“Their teeth. There are always bad teeth as a result of years of neglect or poverty. Then, there’s bad teeth at 20.”
“When we do chest x-rays on long-term meth users, their hearts are insanely huge. Like takes up a large portion of their chest. The heart muscles work so hard that they get big but don’t pump efficiently, so they have arrhythmias.”
“I have something called essential tremors. I have slight to sometimes awful tremors(shaking hands, think Parkinson’s disease). I get asked if I’m detoxing on a regular basis. It’s annoying.”
THE INABILITY TO SIT STILL
“The inability to sit still. So many patients quit ‘downers’ (heroin, benzos, alcohol), and 20 years later, they are still wiggling in their chair less than 30 seconds into a conversation.”
“Emotional immaturity. People tend to stop developing emotionally at the age they started drug or heavy alcohol use.”
“As an old guy, I’ve known a lot of heavy pot smokers over the years. A lot of them seem to develop a complexion like they had bad acne in their youth. That scarred, moonscape look.”
ALLERGIES TO NONSTEROIDAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES
“Allergies to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen and Tylenol but can take Norco that has Tylenol. Also, the only thing that works for them is Dilaudid.”
“They’ve ended up in my place of work. Due to lack of oxygen in the brain, they have intellectual/developmental disabilities.”
More From Mrs Daaku Studio
13 Things Are Scientifically Proven, But People Still Don’t Believe Them. Do You Believe Them? Read about it here.
15 Red Flags That Someone Is Stupid. Are You?
Certain traits can give us clues about a person’s intelligence. For example, people who are curious and eager to learn new things are often more intelligent than those who are content with the status quo. People who are good at solving problems and thinking critically are also typically more intelligent. Read the signs of stupidity.
21 Things You’re Saying That Make People Dislike You Instantly. Guilty of Any?
There are many things that you can say or do that makes someone dislike you. Read – 21 Things You’re Saying That Make People Dislike You Instantly. Guilty of Any?
17 Curse-Free Words That Will Still Get Your Point Across. Do You Use Any?
Want to curse someone but not use the harsh words? Read 17 Curse-Free Words That Will Still Get Your Point Across. Do You Use Any?
20 Jobs That You Should Never Do, No Matter How Much They Pay. They’re Evil.
Not all jobs are great, check this out. 20 Jobs That You Should Never Do, No Matter How Much They Pay. They’re Evil.
This article was originally published on Mrs Daaku Studio.