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The former US Surgeon General famously stated that 1 out of every 7 Americans will face some sort of substance addiction issue. For many, that number was both shocking and sobering.
Given the volume of people that you know, 1 out of 7 people struggling addiction means that you likely know one or two people that are in desperate need of help.
As a matter of fact, that person who needs help might even be a person that lives in your home.
If you’re suspicious that somebody you know might be battling substance abuse, our recommendation is that you keep an eye out for common addict behavior patterns to better determine if there’s a need to intervene.
Below, we outline 7 of the most common tells that people show when they’re addicted.
1. Taking Drugs Without an Active Prescription
While there are a number of people addicted to drugs that they get from a physician, most doctors tightly control prescriptions to make it hard if not impossible for addicts to sustain their habit. Therefore, there’s a good chance that the person you know who’s struggling is getting their drugs either without a prescription or by defrauding the medical system.
A common fraud tactic is going to multiple doctors in hopes of picking up 2, 3 or even more prescriptions for the same drug.
If your loved one is getting drugs and they’re not being seen by a single doctor, there’s a high chance that addiction is at the root of their behavior.
2. Constant Fixation
Stop us if you’ve heard this one…
Your loved one is out and suddenly they’re making it a point to get home as soon as possible because they need their medication. Alternatively, they’re frequently taking breaks from activities to fumble through their pocket or purse to take their medication multiple times a day.
Addiction and fixation are two things that are tightly intertwined. It makes it so it’s almost impossible for an addict to focus on anything but their substance of choice for longer than an hour or so.
If you’re constantly hearing about your loved one’s substance or if you’re noticing that they’re planning their day around being able to acquire it, you’re observing classic addict behavior that requires professional intervention.
3. They Won’t Test Their Willpower
If you’ve ever confronted your loved one about their potential addiction, you’ve probably heard a response like, “I can stop whenever I want. This is a choice.”
While that line is a common one that addicts throw around, it’s almost never followed by an addict proving their point by actually stopping.
So, if you’re seeing that your loved one talks about being able to stop or even says that they’re going to stop soon but they never take action, know that they likely can’t.
4. Being Sick When Not Using Is Common
Addict behavior dictates that sufferers can never feel their best without being under the influence.
Sometimes, this can manifest itself in the way of being irritable or exhausted. Other times, not being under the influence of a substance causes addicts to be downright ill.
In any case, people that can’t have a good day if they’re not using are almost always on the spectrum of addiction.
5. Attention to Other Things Has Faded
Since addiction demands an addict’s full attention, you’ll find that victims can’t bring themselves to pull their focus elsewhere.
Hobbies fall by the waist side. Relationships wain. Personal hygiene becomes an afterthought.
All of those things then culminate into creating a person that looks sick, smells foul and has no passion for anything.
If that’s where your loved one is trending, taking action is a must. This is around where severe depression may start to set in and overdoing/suicide is a real risk.
6. Higher Doses Are Being Taken
The body becomes numb to the effects of drugs and alcohol quickly. This is the body’s way of coping with prolonged exposure to state-altering substances.
Unfortunately, that coping mechanism leads addicts to feel frustrated when they can’t seem to enjoy the same feeling that they enjoyed when they first started using. To cope, addicts double, triple, quadrupedal, etc. their dosages.
People using medication in a way that’s approved by a physician generally have nothing to hide. Consequently, they’ll be open to your conversations and concerns.
People that know they’re doing what they shouldn’t, on the other hand, don’t want to talk about their habits. Those people exhibit the addict behavior of defensiveness which leads to shouting matches and deflection.
Our recommendation if you’re not able to get through to a loved one because of their defensive attitude is to stage an intervention with the aim of getting the person you’re concerned about into drug treatment.
Our Final Thoughts on Addict Behavior and Addiction
If you’re suspicious that somebody you know is struggling with addiction, the best thing that you can do is watch out for common addict behavior tells. If you’re noticing one of multiple signs being exhibited, do what you can to respectfully confront the person in question and help them into rehab.
When you find that your best efforts are being met with rebuffs, set boundaries and go so far as to excommunicate until your loved one is ready for real help.
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