Addiction, also known as substance use disorder (SUD), is a serious condition that comes with particular patterns of behavior. Often, when someone is struggling with addiction, there will be tell-tale signs that they are dealing with uncontrolled substance use and physical or mental dependence.
When someone is in the throes of this debilitating disease, there are physical, psychological, and behavioral signs that can be spotted if you know what to look out for. While every case is different, there are many ways that addiction frequently manifests itself. By knowing what to look for, you can ensure that your loved one doesn’t go it alone. By recognizing the signs of addiction, you will know when it is time to get them the help they need.
If you are reading this blog, you are likely worried about someone in your life. At 449 Recovery, our meth detox center in Orange County, California, we aim to empower individuals who are struggling with addiction and their loved ones through access to critical information on substance use disorders. To learn more about the behaviors of an addict, keep reading.
The Behaviors of an Addict
When someone is struggling with addiction, it can often seem like the person dealing with this disease is a completely different person. They may go from a happy and engaging individual to someone who seems distant and despondent. This transformation is due to the psychological effects of addiction.
Behaviorally, an addict will likely take drastic steps to obtain the substance they are addicted to. Further, they may take drastic measures to ensure that no one finds out that they are abusing drugs or alcohol.
Physical signs will also be on display when a person is dealing with a substance use disorder. Below, we break down the different ways to spot the behaviors of an addict whether those behaviors are psychological, behavioral, or physical.
Addiction comes with a host of physical markers. It is important to know which physical signs and behaviors to look out for. Knowing these common physical signs of addiction can help you determine if a loved one may be struggling.
The physical signs of addiction can include:
- Weight changes: Addiction may cause rapid weight loss or gain due to either an increased appetite or a decrease in food intake.
- Skin problems: Chronic substance abuse may lead to skin sores, pimples, rashes, redness, and other physical reactions. This is commonly seen in people who struggle with methamphetamine abuse.
- Sleep problems: People who use drugs or alcohol may have difficulty sleeping and could be dealing with insomnia, nightmares, or hypersomnia (excessive tiredness).
- Physical fatigue: Substance abuse can lead to exhaustion and fatigue due to the body’s depletion of healthy sources of energy.
- Tremors or shaking hands, feet, or head: This is a common physical symptom of addiction, especially for those in recovery. Tremors are often caused by withdrawal or drug cravings.
- Slurred speech: Addiction can cause slurring or difficulty forming words due to deteriorating cognitive abilities.
- Tooth decay: Unexplained and rapid tooth decay can be a sign of substance abuse, particularly when combined with other signs.
- Changes in eyes: Bloodshot eyes and excessive tears are common symptoms of drug abuse. Changes in pupils can also indicate drug use.
- Needle marks on arms, feet, or legs: This is a sign that the person is using intravenous drugs. While people traditionally associate arms with needle use, people may use their feet to hide injection marks due to embarrassment.
While these symptoms are commonly associated with the behaviors of an addict, they may not necessarily mean that your loved one is abusing drugs. Instead, these can be signs of other physical or mental health issues. No matter what their cause, it is important to be aware of the potential for an addiction to be occurring.
In addition to physical changes, addiction also presents with certain psychological behaviors. These psychological addict behavior patterns are often easier to spot as they manifest in day-to-day life. It is important to remember that everyone is different and some people may react differently than others.
The psychological signs of addiction may include:
- Feeling constantly anxious or depressed: As drugs and alcohol start to take more control of your loved one’s life, it can start to affect their mental health. You may notice them feeling more hopeless, irritable, or anxious than usual.
- Personality change: People who are struggling with addiction can become paranoid or distant. They may also become more argumentative or hostile than they used to be.
- Mood swings: It is common for people who are struggling with addiction to have unpredictable shifts in their mood. These can be both sudden and severe.
- Difficulty concentrating: Addiction can cause difficulty focusing on tasks or understanding instructions, often leading to poor decision-making.
- Memory problems: People with an addiction may also experience memory issues such as difficulty remembering recent events, conversations, or decisions.
- Changes in behavior: People may start to engage in risky behaviors or become more secretive and isolated from their loved ones.
- Sudden or frequent anger: People may become easily agitated and have outbursts of anger or aggression that are completely out of character.
- Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy: This can be a sign that the person is preoccupied with obtaining and consuming drugs or alcohol.
- Lack of motivation: Your loved one may start to become unmotivated and inactive. This can be a sign of addiction as the person prioritizes obtaining drugs or alcohol over work, school, or responsibilities at home.
The behaviors of someone dealing with addiction can be difficult to recognize as they are often subtle changes. However, certain behaviors can be indicative of a potential problem.
Common addict behavior patterns include:
- Sudden changes in behavior: Addiction can cause your loved one to start engaging in risky behaviors such as driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, stealing, lying, etc.
- Spending increased amounts of time alone or avoiding social situations: Someone may become more withdrawn and isolated as addiction takes root and may not want to attend social engagements.
- Neglecting responsibilities: As addiction becomes a priority, people may start to neglect other responsibilities such as school, work, or their family.
- Hygiene issues: Someone suffering from an addiction may have poor hygiene and grooming habits as a result of their substance use. They could neglect basic tasks such as brushing their teeth or washing their hair.
- Unprecedented secrecy: People may become more secretive when they are addicted. They might start avoiding family and friends, hiding their substance abuse, or lying about where they have been.
- Obsessive thoughts or actions: Some people start to become obsessed with procuring and using drugs or alcohol. This can lead to compulsive behaviors such as seeking out the drug even when it is not available.
If you notice any of these signs in your loved one, it is important to approach them carefully and listen without judgment. They must receive help before their addiction has the opportunity to progress further.
The behaviors of an addict can cause significant destruction and chaos in the life of someone close to them. It is important to remember that addiction is not anyone’s fault and it is a complex matter that requires professional help. If you suspect your loved one has an addiction, you mustn’t blame them or attempt to fix the problem alone.
Rather, if you are in a position to do so, you should encourage your loved one to seek professional help. This could be through therapy or joining a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. It may also be beneficial to reach out to their doctor, therapist, or mental health professional for additional support.
It is also important to take care of your own emotional and physical health during this difficult time. Finding a supportive group of friends or family members can provide you with the necessary resources, understanding, and comfort as you work through this journey with your loved one.
When is it Time to Seek Addiction Treatment?
When it comes to the behaviors of an addict, timing is key. The earlier help is sought for a loved one struggling with addiction, the better chance they have of achieving successful and long-term recovery. If your loved one is exhibiting any signs that could be indicative of addiction, it is important to discuss these signs with them and encourage seeking out help.
Recovering With 449 Recovery Center
If your loved one is ready to begin the recovery process and break away from the addict mentality, we can help. 449 Recovery Center provides comprehensive and compassionate care for individuals dealing with substance abuse. Our team of professional recovery coaches, therapists, and counselors is dedicated to helping our clients on the journey to sobriety.
At our Mission Viejo, California rehab, we offer a wide range of services such as individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, detoxification programs, medication management, and aftercare planning. We also provide specialized treatment for those with dual diagnosis—a substance use disorder and co-occurring mental health condition.
Take the first step today by making a call to 449 Recovery Center or completing our online contact form. Our compassionate team will be there for you and your loved one every step of the way.