Five Ways to Tell If Someone You Know is a Drug Addict
For those on the outside looking in, it can be hard — perhaps impossible — to decipher the behavior of a drug addict. Partners, family members, and friends will scratch their heads with frustration trying to comprehend why the addict behaves the way they do.
The truth is, few addicts can continue to hide the power the addiction has over them for long. For those who know what to look for, these five behavior traits reveal the dependency an addict is attempting to conceal.
Behavior Trait 1: Lying
If there is one thing most addicts do not want to talk about, it is their addiction. When asked where they were, what they were doing, who they were with, and other sorts of questions, a drug addict may readily lie if they perceive telling the truth may compromise their ability to keep using. If the addict thinks a partner or loved one is going to try to get them to go into a substance abuse treatment center, the lies often get worse due to feelings of fear.
Unfortunately, since the motivation for lying well is very strong, an addict often gets very good at telling lies. In addition, the more lies the addict tells, the easier it gets. Over time, even the addict themselves may no longer remember where that fine line between truth and fabrication lies.
Behavior Trait 2: Stealing
Along with other criminal behaviors, stealing may become a necessary part of maintaining the addiction. This is partially due to the fact that an addict’s body becomes used to the substance over time, which means it takes more and more of whatever the body has become addicted to in order to achieve the same effect. Over time, increased need for the substance can become very expensive. Sometimes the addict is forced to sell drugs, steal funds from others, or resort to other criminal activity to fund the addiction.
Behavior Trait 3: Abuse
There are a number of reasons an addict might turn to abuse to protect their addiction. On one level, the constant substance abuse can change the addict’s temperament, causing violent outbursts. On another level, the fear that at some point the substance will no longer be attainable or will be taken away by force can create violent fear that has the potential to become abusive behavior.
Sometimes abuse is not physical, but emotional or mental. In fact, emotional and mental abuse can take the form of lying, manipulating, or blaming the loved one who is attempting to get the addict to enter a drug rehab clinic.
Behavior Trait 4: Manipulation
An addict can quickly learn to manipulate those close to them so they also see things from the addiction’s point of view. One common tactic is to tell the loved one it is their fault the addict abuses substances. Another common manipulation tactic is to insist that if the loved one knew what the addict’s life was like, they would understand the need to use drugs or drink.
Ultimately, by activating a partner or loved one’s own guilt and shame, the addict can let themself off the hook quietly, and often without the loved one even knowing what has just happened.
Behavior Trait 5: Blame-shifting
Whether the addict is aware of it or not, their behavior while drinking or using drugs is hugely irresponsible. Everything else that had been a priority in their life is likely to be shoved to the back in service of the addiction.
Of course, when the drug addict is using, the various problems that help fuel the addiction fade into the background. But when the effect of the substance begins to wear off, they may find themselves facing tough questions from partners, friends, bosses, colleagues, neighbors, and loved ones.
In these moments, one of the best tactics an addict has is to shift the blame. Telling someone it is their fault can distract the other person long enough for the addict to wiggle out of taking the blame. Blaming others can also be a great way to fool a partner or family member into thinking that whatever bad thing just occurred (such as losing a job, getting into a car accident, “losing” their wallet and all the cash inside) is just bad luck. It is someone else’s fault and the loved one should be expressing sympathy to the addict instead of blaming them.
This is a very effective tactic addicts will also try to use to convince loved ones they don’t need to go to an addiction recovery program. But the truth is, blame shifting just buys the addict some time, which is why it soon becomes a habitual part of the addict’s behavior.
These five behavior traits tend to manifest whenever a person becomes dependent on drinks or substances. Even when two individuals share nothing else in common but an addiction, these behavior traits can help trained professionals and loved ones begin to peek behind the curtain and perceive what is really going on in the addict’s personal life.
Once you can identify the signs, you will have renewed confidence to reach out to the drug addict again with an offer of help. If you or someone you love is struggling with dependence on drugs or alcohol, one of the addiction recovery facilities in the Right Path Drug Rehab network can get you the help you need today.