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Learning the Observable Behaviors of Addiction

Learning the Observable Behaviors of Addiction

Have you noticed changes in a loved one that make you believe they are using alcohol or drugs? It can be tough to tell if someone is addicted. Those struggling with a substance use disorder may try to keep their behavior a secret. They may lie about how much they’re using. They may even deny that they have a problem at all. Whether they are using prescription or illicit drugs, addiction and dependence can be life-threatening complications. In many cases, a person will use multiple substances, so they are not consistently observed drinking or using the same drug. This leads to the possibility of developing multiple substance use disorders, which require polysubstance addiction treatment.

To know if a loved one is at risk of addiction, consider what you see them doing – catalog their observable behaviors. This can provide insight into what may be occurring and when they need professional help. At Greater Boston Addiction Centers, we can help your loved ones start healing from addiction so that they can reclaim their life. 

When Behavior Is Out of Character 

When looking for signs of addiction in a loved one, look for symptoms or signs that are new and significantly abnormal or out of character. Personality traits may be misleading in some cases. For example, a person who typically has a lot of energy may seem to be using drugs. Yet, that could be just their natural behavior. Look for changes in a person’s behavior, statements, or habits that indicate they are less in control of their health.

Common Behaviors of Addiction

Addiction occurs when a person recognizes the risks and adverse effects of continuing to use drugs or alcohol and still does so. They engage in compulsive behaviors seeking out drugs. Some of the most common signs of addiction include:

  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and things once enjoyed
  • Engaging in reckless behavior more frequently, such as unprotected sex or driving intoxicated
  • Struggling to meet responsibilities at home, work, or school
  • Ignoring relationships or worsening relationships 
  • Isolation, especially when using drugs or alcohol 

A person with addiction compulsively seeks drugs or alcohol so much so that it becomes the focus of their day or a priority each day. This can be hard for family members to recognize as an addiction symptom. It may seem that a loved one just no longer cares or is being irresponsible. Yet, it is the drug use that leads to this type of one-track-minded behavior.

Common Observable Signs of Addiction or Dependence 

Dependence typically occurs with continued use of a highly addictive substance that triggers the reward center of the brain. Because the euphoric experience feels good, the brain seeks it out repeatedly. Over time, this leads to the brain and body being reliant on the drug. A person who is dependent may display behaviors such as these when they try to stop using:

  • Muscle and bone pain 
  • Intense cravings 
  • An inability to stop using at all costs
  • Increasing agitation and anxiety
  • Outbursts
  • Seizures 
  • Hallucinations 

The type of withdrawal symptoms a person has depends specifically on the type of drug used. Some drugs have much more intense and sometimes life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, while others are milder and easier to control. 

Is My Loved One’s Strange Behavior Drug-Related?

A person who complains of withdrawal symptoms or cravings or displays any of the behaviors listed here needs professional support for drug and alcohol addiction. This may include a period of time when they will need medications to stop using or to prevent the onset of the discomfort. It also means having access to psychotherapy, a resource to help them learn how to control symptoms. 

At Greater Boston Addiction Centers, we provide a wide range of resources to help support those struggling with addiction and dependence. The most crucial step is to help your loved ones get the support they need. We offer programs such as:

Invest in Health and Recovery – Call Greater Boston Addiction Centers

For men and women battling addiction, it’s not always easy to get help. Yet, when there is observable behavior for your loved one that could indicate addiction, it’s critical to find help for them. Reach out to Greater Boston Addiction Centers. Learn more about the programs and solutions we offer when you call 877.920.6583 or connect with us online.