Addiction is something that can be difficult to notice at first glance. When someone in our lives is going down a difficult path or shows addictive behaviors, our minds have a funny way of ignoring or deflecting the warning signs until it’s a little too late.
It’s important to be vigilant when a loved one is experiencing problems with substance abuse, though. It’s also crucial to know addictive behaviors to keep ourselves in check when we’re exhibiting warning signs.
We’re going to look at some signs of addiction today, giving you a little insight into what to look out for. Hopefully, the information below can help you inform your decisions on moving forward in getting help for yourself or a loved one.
1. Notable Increase in Use
The first of five examples of addictive behaviors to look for is an increase in the use of a person’s substance of choice.
This might be an obvious one, but it’s something that we tend to brush off when we see it. Maybe someone is drinking a significant amount more than they usually do at the family gathering.
Maybe you have a friend who you know uses drugs and does so at a particular time of day. They’ve gone a little longer at that time, and you notice that the trend continues.
It can be tough to know when someone is using more than normal, though, because it’s not always something they advertise to the people around them. That said, socially acceptable drug and alcohol use is visible, and it’s something to make a note of when you see it increasing.
Another indicator of addiction is impulsivity related to the drug of choice or drugs in general.
When a person can’t resist the use of something, even when it’s against their better judgment, that might be a sign of addiction. For example, maybe you have a friend who you suspect of being an alcoholic.
The two of you have talked all day about this friend’s daughter’s soccer game scheduled to take place that evening. You’ve agreed to go, and you’re looking forward to spending the time together.
Another friend suggests that the two of you go out to the bar after work, just an hour or so before the game. Your friend accepts right away, even though the two of you had talked once about how they might have a drinking problem.
The same thing happens at all other opportunities to have a drink. When someone cannot refuse an offer to use a drug and makes an effort to use it at the drop of a hat, they might be dealing with addiction.
3. Change of Priorities
Some of the things that people do when they’re addicted aren’t as easy to notice.
One of those less visible changes is a distinct shift in the person’s priorities. Responsibilities that the person once had might start to crumble and give way to their addiction.
Naturally, these changes aren’t things to be proud of, and your friend or loved one won’t try to talk about them. Maybe they stop picking their kid up from school on time, or they’re not home for family dinner like they used to be.
Further, their sleep might not be adequate anymore, or they might not make time to practice the guitar, which they once loved. When these things start to shift around, there tends to be a good reason for it.
Individual instances are hard to notice, but you can tell when a person puts something above all of what used to be their top priorities. After a while, it will become evident that drug addiction lies at the top of the list, usually when other indications start to manifest.
The best thing to do is ask a person what’s going on that is causing these changes. You don’t have to accuse or snoop, but ask a simple question and note that you’ve seen some unusual changes.
4. Regular Lying
When you ask that harmless question, you might find that you’re being lied to. Lying is a huge problem when it comes to addictive behaviors.
This is another thing that some people do when they’re facing addiction. It’s important to note that addiction will make people do many things they wouldn’t otherwise do.
While individual choice always exists in these situations, we have to be aware that those addicted have their choice constricted a great deal. The sober mind might have an easy time saying or doing things that a person facing addiction would struggle to do.
Therefore, it’s good to have an attitude of some compassion when you’re facing someone in the grips of addiction. They might lie to you to get some money. You thought the money would go toward something important, only to determine that the cash was spent on drugs.
There might be other lies, too. Maybe you made plans, and they give you an excuse to get out of the plans that don’t add up. Maybe they’re just shady around you now, never giving you a clear answer on one thing or another.
While it hurts a good deal to be lied to like this, note that the person isn’t in their normal mind. They’re pushed, pulled, and blinded by a formidable foe.
5. Detachment and Isolation
After the responsibilities and social relationships have gone, the person might start to withdraw into their new life.
The old way of doing things might not fit at all with their drug use. They might have new friends to use the drug with, or they might just shut everyone else out and spend more time alone.
In any case, some degree of isolation and withdrawal from their normal life might occur. These are all signs that the person is struggling and may need the help of a recovery center.
Are You Seeing Addictive Behaviors?
Whoever is displaying addictive behaviors, you must try to get them to help if you can. Talking with a professional is a great way to start the recovery journey and explore your next steps.
We’re here to help. Contact us for more insight into addiction treatment, signs of addiction, how addiction is treated, and more.