13 Characteristics of Addiction – How Do You Know When Someone is an Addict?
Addictive behaviour occurs when a substance, activity or behaviour becomes the main focus of an individual’s life, resulting physical, mental or social harm to themselves or others. It is possible for a person to become addicted or dependent on anything. So how do you know when a person has become an addict? Read on to find out the most common characteristics of addiction that indicate you or someone you love is going down a slippery slope.
First of all, what is addiction?
A person with an addiction does not have any control over what they are doing, using or taking because their brain chemistry changes as their addiction progresses. Their addiction may have reached a point where it has become harmful. Addictions are not just limited to physical things that we consume, such as alcohol or drugs, but may include practically anything such as gambling, sex and food. Addiction can refer to either a substance dependence, such as with drug addiction, or behavioural addiction like gambling, sex or internet.
The term addiction used to solely indicate psychoactive substances that cross the barrier between the body and the brain to temporarily alter the brain’s chemical balance. It would include tobacco, alcohol and some drugs. Nowadays, a significant amount of psychologists and healthcare professionals insist that psychological dependency, such as with smart phone, sex, gambling, work, should be considered as addictions as well since they also cause feelings of shame, guilt, failure, despair, anxiety, hopelessness and humiliation.
When an individual becomes addicted to something, they start to become dependent on it and need to keep repeating the activities, taking the drug or drinking alcohol, despite the negative consequences these behaviours bring.
The most common characteristics of addiction
Some of the most common characteristics of addiction include:
1. The individual cannot stop taking the substance
Oftentimes, such as with alcohol or drug dependence, a person has seriously attempted to give up their addiction at least once, though unsuccessfully.
2. Health problems do not stop their addiction
The person keeps taking the substance as usual, despite having developed illnesses connected to it. For example, an alcohol addict may keep drinking even after finding out they have a liver disease.
3. Giving up recreational and/or social activities
Addiction can cause some people to give up or not become involved in activities. For example, an internet addict may choose not to go camping if they know they won’t have internet access. Likewise, an alcoholic may avoid long trips where they know they will not have access to alcohol.
4. Keeping a steady supply
Individuals who are addicted to a substance will always have enough of it around, regardless of the amount of money they have to ensure that they have a good supply readily available.
5. Saving stashes
Addicted people tend to keep small stashes of their substance hidden away in various locations, such as throughout their house or in their car.
6. Risky behaviour
Sometimes, the addicted person may engage in risky behaviour to ensure they can get their substance of choice, such as by trading sex for drugs or money and stealing. On the other hand, an addict who is under the influence of substances may engage in risky activities like reckless driving.
7. Excessive consumption
With some addictions, like alcohol and certain drugs, an addict may consume it to excess. This can result in physical symptoms or blackouts, where they cannot remember anything for a certain amount of time.
8. Dealing with issues
An addicted individual often feels that they cannot deal with their problems without their drug of choice so they often abuse the substance as a way to self-medicate.
An addicted individual may spend increasingly more time and energy thinking of ways they can get more of their substance, or even other ways they can use it.
10. Secrecy and denial
Many addicts take their substance on their own as well as without anyone knowing about it. If anyone confronts them about their using, they either refuse to acknowledge or are not aware that they have a problem.
11. Having troubles with the law
Addicts may run into problems with the law due to the risks that they take when they are using due to impaired judgment. Or they may break the law in order to obtain their drug of choice.
12. Financial problems
If the substance is costly then the addicted person may sacrifice their budget for housing or groceries to ensure they have a secure supply.
13. Relationship issues
Addicts often have relationship issues due to their secrecy, which can lead to trust issues. As the relationship deteriorates, violence, anger and emotional abuse often become concerns.
Contact The Dawn Drug Rehabilitation Centre Thailand
Does someone you care about display some of these characteristics of addiction? If so, it is advisable to get an assessment to determine if they are at risk. Contact The Dawn today to receive a no-obligation assessment to find out how we can help. You can also call us on one of our toll-free numbers.