If anyone has ever known a person who has struggled with a substance abuse disorder, they may know just how disruptive an addiction can be in a person’s life. Normally, a person who suffers from an addiction is unable to maintain normal things in life that we often take for granted, like healthy relationships, stable jobs, regular access to food, water, and shelter, the list goes on and on. This is because their addiction to drugs or alcohol has literally taken over nearly every aspect of their life. So what are some common behaviors of current addicts?
Addiction is characterized as a brain disease that is manifested through a compulsive desire to seek out and use drugs or alcohol, even if they experience negative consequences because of their drug or alcohol abuse. One reason for that is an addiction to drugs or alcohol chemically alters the brain. This happens in several ways. One of them being that drugs and alcohol trick the brain into believing that it literally needs these substances in order to survive, ultimately leading to an inability to stop using drugs or alcohol. Most of the time, especially after repeated use of drugs or alcohol, an addict is unable to stop to stop on their own.
If you have ever known an addict, it may have come as a surprise, at least initially. You may have only put the clues together after having found out the truth. Some addicts have grown so accustomed to hiding it after years of abuse that it may have been difficult to otherwise, there was always an excuse for the unexplained or out of the ordinary behavior. For others, it may have been more obvious, as there are usually some tell-tale signs that someone may be abusing harmful substances. If you are wondering now whether or not someone you know may be hiding an addiction, then here are some common behaviors of current addicts.
Abrupt Changes in Mood
One of the most common behavioral traits seen in addicts is an abrupt change in mood. This is due to chemical imbalances that occur in the brain due to drug and alcohol abuse. Feelings of depression, anxiety, anger, and joy that seem to come out of nowhere may be a sign that your loved one has a substance abuse problem.
One thing that all addicts have in common is that they lie. They lie to support their addiction, they lie to hide their addiction, they lie to avoid feelings of shame and guilt. It is possible that a skilled addict has been able to pull the veil over someone’s eyes for years, but eventually the truth always comes out. They may always have an excuse about where all their money went or why they were gone for 5 hours when they just went to the grocery store for milk.
Sudden Lack of Interest in a Former Hobby
Another common sign that someone may be struggling with an addiction is a sudden loss of interest in an activity that was previously enjoyable for them. When a person becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, it consumes their lives and becomes the main focus. This leaves little to no time for things that they enjoyed before, like hobbies, sports or creating art. If someone you know suddenly lost interest in a hobby, sport, or activity that was previously very important to them, it may be a sign that they are struggling with an addiction.
An addict may use emotional blackmail in order to get someone to do things they don’t want to do. They typically start by asking for small favors that allow the other party to feel like they are doing something good, eventually they will ask for something bigger and use emotional blackmail in order to get what they want. They may say things like, “You don’t love me enough” or “If you really loved me”. This is an attempt to use your love for them against you.
All addicts are expert manipulators of one form or another. This is one of the ways that they are able to continue their behavior. The majority of addicts will say or do anything in order to continue using drugs or alcohol. They may make promises to change when caught in a bad situation, or deny the problem entirely, even trying to switch the blame on you. They use guilt in order to make you believe them, and oftentimes we so desperately want to. Drug addicts can manipulate sometimes for years without ever changing their behavior.
While not all addicts get in trouble with the law, a large portion of them do. Many addicts will do things like steal, forge prescriptions, or even write fake checks all in an attempt to continue getting high. This may also include things like violence and driving under the influence. Many drugs, like heroin or cocaine, can change the personality of the person who is under its influence, causing them to do things they most likely wouldn’t do while sober. Job loss and other legal problems are common with people who become addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Verbally, Mentally, or Physically Abusive
Many addicts will become verbally, mentally, or physically abusive, especially when confronted with their addiction. This can be an additional mechanism to shift the blame away from their substance abuse disorder. They may act aggressive or irrational when told no. They may threaten to hurt you, or even themselves in order to get what they want. This type of manipulation is likely just another attempt to continue their addictive lifestyle.
These are just a few of the common behavioral signs that someone may be struggling with an addiction. While these are good indicators that someone is suffering from substance abuse, there could always be another underlying reason like other mental health issues. If you are unsure whether or not a loved one may be struggling with an addiction, please call us today! We have many trained addiction specialists who will be able to help address some of your concerns and figure out a treatment plan if that is what your loved one needs in order to begin living a happy, healthy life once again.