At first thought, you may believe that if someone you love had an addiction, you would be able to tell. You would believe that there are signs or behaviors that would give you a clue that an addiction is there. After all, you’ve read the news and you’ve heard the media. You know what addiction looks like.
Believe it or not, there are signs of addiction that are hidden. In fact, you may not even realize that the one you love is struggling with an addiction until it is nearly too late. Thankfully you can help to try and prevent the addiction from progressing by knowing these hidden signs and seeking help early.
Making Excuses for Uncharacteristic Behaviors
Addicts and alcoholics are always going to make excuses for their behavior. Whether it is an excuse for something that was said, an excuse for an action, or playing the blame game to blame others for something – it will always happen.
Behavior that leads to a refusal to step up and accept responsibility, rather than always coming up with an excuse or putting the fault on someone or something else could be a sign that there is an underlying issue.
Surrounding Themselves With Friends Who Actively Use
Saying that you are who you surround yourself with isn’t always true. But, how many individuals do you know who are living sober and clean, yet spend all their time surrounded by friends who actively use? Not very many. Unless, of course, you are partaking in the same activities.
Pay attention to the company that is kept, and you may discover a hidden habit.
Losing Interest in Passions, Hobbies, Activities
One doesn’t merely drop a beloved activity “just because.” There is usually a reason why. And, often times, that reason could be associated with an addiction. An addict loses interest in activities and hobbies that were once enjoyed because these have been replaced – by their new habit or hobby, however you want to look at it.
Don’t mistake losing interest in one hobby and choosing another as a hidden sign of addiction. Perhaps one just got tired of painting and wants to try cycling instead.
Being Overly Hygienic
Having good hygiene is wonderful. And, it is important. But, is it possible to be too clean? While cleanliness is good, as is being too clean, it is a hidden sign of addiction. This is especially true for alcoholics.
In an attempt to hide the substance abuse, alcoholics will often use things such as mouthwash, mints, mint gum, and toothpaste – excessively. By doing so, they believe that the mint scent is covering up any odor left behind by the consumed alcohol. In addition, showering often and using an abundance of lotions or body sprays and perfumes can also be a sign. See, alcoholics know that the ingested alcohol will be escaping from their pores. All the fresh scents were chosen to try to cover up any hint of alcohol.
Constantly Complaining About Pain
An addict doesn’t feel good – unless numbed by the drug. Therefore, when not using or between fixes, one will constantly complain of pain. Why? Well, the body will physically hurt when experiencing these minor withdrawal symptoms. They will turn into great pains unless the craving is satisfied.
Pay attention and you will see that an addict or alcoholic will rarely look or feel well. And, of course, they don’t hold back on their complaints.
Isolating Themselves From Social Events, Gatherings, Functions
When you are doing something that you know you should not do, you would likely want to avoid being around those who will point that out to you. It is common for addicts and alcoholics to disappear for long periods of time while at certain functions or gatherings. This is especially true when these events are comprised of people that may be wise to discover the addiction. In fact, sometimes the anxiety of having to attend becomes so great that they avoid going entirely.
Household or Personal Belongings Suddenly Go Missing
Drugs and alcohol cost money. And, when funds are running low, it is extremely common for addicts to take money or belongings from their home – or the home of family members and friends – to pay for their habit. Right or wrong, it happens. And if you suspect someone you love has an addiction, you may want to take note of possessions of value.
Displaying Rapid Mood & Attitude Changes
While the initial drug use or sips of alcohol may seem fun, daring, and exciting, the mood can change rather quickly. The attitudes usually associated with an addict are helplessness, hopelessness, depression, agitation, lack of motivation, frustration.
Mood swings and negative changes in attitude are great indicators of a potential underlying problem.
Experiencing High Anxiety or Panic Attacks
How do you feel when you really need to do something or get somewhere, and you can’t? Isn’t it easy to get all worked up and begin to panic? For an addict, this is incredibly easy. Getting that next fix and avoiding withdrawal and feeling awful requires finding more of a drug. And, because that requires spending money that doesn’t exist, panic and anxiety can set in – and become overwhelming.
There is always a constant need to get that next fix. And, living life to get that next one can be an exhausting and seemingly endless battle. And the fear of not getting it? Brings incredible panic and anxiety.
These nine hidden signs are some of the most common general signs of addiction. Depending on the drug of choice, there are many more hidden signs that you should learn. For example, there are specific behaviors that an alcoholic may exhibit that will differ greatly than the behaviors of a prescription drug addict.
Please note that it is important to educate yourself on how to handle a situation if you suspect that someone you love is struggling with an addition. Simply tossing blame or pointing fingers in accusation can cause more harm than good.
Remember – an open eye for hidden signs can ultimately mean the difference between life and death.