How do I spot drug-seeking behavior?

How Do I Spot Drug-Seeking Behavior?

A person with drug seeking behaviors has an addiction. Getting help for drug seeking behavior and addiction is important before it gets out of hand. Identification of an individual who is seeking drugs can be challenging but knowing what to look for can help plan next steps to get the person with addiction help.



Most individuals who seek drugs will not readily admit to having a problem. Denial makes getting treatment much harder which can lead to severe problems down the road. Individuals will often need to be convinced treatment is the best thing even if the person is reticent to admit this is the case. Drug seeking behavior may seem difficult to spot at first but a person’s actions speak louder than words. Some of the common signs to watch for may include:

  • Makes claims about lost or stolen prescription
  • Describes list of textbook symptoms
  • Exaggerates severity of symptoms
  • Exhibits signs of drug abuse including withdrawal symptoms
  • Frequently visits different doctors (doctor shopping)
  • Visits emergency rooms with complaints of pain, anxiety or other symptoms
  • Unwilling or unable to provide medical records or contact info about previous doctors


Seeking Help

A person who has an addiction of any kind and has symptoms of drug seeking behavior will not stop until the addiction, first, is treated. From there, a person can seek a diagnosis and treatment. The next steps outlined below will help guide people through a plan of action to support a loved one with drug seeking behavior.


Schedule an intervention

An intervention can be helpful if a person does not want to admit a problem exists. All parties can be involved in the process with the help of a consultant’s advice or a qualified addiction specialist. The person who helps coordinate the intervention can be present to make sure it stays on track with the main goal being to help open up a person’s eyes to addiction and realize treatment is necessary.


Receive diagnosis

A drug addiction diagnosis usually requires a doctor or addiction specialist to ask a person with addiction a series of question about drug use. The answers to the questions and behavioral signs during assessment will form the foundation of a drug addiction diagnosis.


Treatment plan

The next step to getting help is finding treatment. An addiction specialist can conduct an assessment to determine how best to proceed with treatment. Dependent on needs of the individual, the person may decide to enter inpatient or outpatient treatment. Drug detox may be  a necessary preliminary step prior to treatment.


Drug addiction is not the end. Recovery is waiting for you on the other side of the journey. Call us to find out how we can support you in quitting drugs and seeking treatment.