As we have stated on a number of occasions, it can be harmful to generalise addicts or make blanket assumptions. The reason being that not only is addiction in its own right both complicated and unpredictable, but each and every case is as unique as the individual involved. As any qualified addiction counsellor in Canterbury will tell you, to assume that any two cases of addiction are the same is to set at least one of these individuals up for a difficult or impossible process.
That said, there will always be certain behaviour traits that are common among most addicts. While it’s not to say that all addicts will display any of the following characteristics whatsoever, each of these characteristics tends to be a strong indicator of an addiction. Should any of these therefore be detected, this usually represents all the evidence you need that professional help should be sought. Simply ignoring the problem or allowing it to intensify is of no benefit to anyone.
So should or any of the following come across as familiar, it may be time to bring your own case or that of a loved one to the attention of the professionals:
1. Addicts lie
First of all, one of the earliest signs of addiction is when an individual begins lying about their habits and activities to others. First of all, the moment you begin lying about drug or alcohol use is the moment you effectively admit that you know what you are doing is harmful and wrong. If not, there would be absolutely no need to lie about it. In some instances, addicts go on lying to those around them for years on end, without it ever becoming apparent that they are doing so. In others, they make it blatantly obvious that they are compulsively lying on a habitual basis. If you yourself are lying about drug/alcohol use or it appears that a friend or family member has been lying to you, the subject needs to be brought up and discussed.
2. They manipulate
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not as if addicts actually set out with the intention of manipulating their close friends and family members. Instead, they tend to do so as a means by which to both reassure those around them and throw them off the scent, as it were. They want what’s best for those around them, so often tell them what they think they want to hear. That they have it all under control, that they can stop anytime they want to, that they don’t have a problem and that everyone is worrying unnecessarily. Or perhaps even that the pressure being put on them by those around them is making things worse.
3. Addicts engage in criminal acts
Again, this most certainly does not apply to all addicts and the truth is most addicts do not resort to criminal acts to pay for their habits. Nevertheless, in any instance where an individual has broken the law even once as a means by which to fuel their habit, this categorically confirms dangerous levels of addiction. If you find yourself in a situation where you are willing to cross the line into such a way to access drugs or alcohol, this is all the evidence you need that you have completely lost control. And therefore represents the time to seek immediate advice and professional support.
4. Addicts shift the blame
In some instances, addicts shift the blame because they genuinely believe that they themselves are not to blame for their addiction. In others, they are blatantly aware of the fact that they are indeed to blame, but nonetheless point the finger of blame elsewhere for a variety of reasons. The simple fact of the matter is that when the ‘blame game’ starts, this likewise serves as conclusive evidence that there is a problem that needs to be addressed.
5. Addicts become aggressive and abusive
Last but not least, another clear indicator that an individual has spiralled out of control in terms of addiction is the inability to discuss the matter, without becoming aggressive or even abusive. Should there be no dangerous addiction to speak of, the individual in question should have no problem chatting about the subject without getting offended, becoming defensive and perhaps crossing the line into aggression. However, when an addict is in a state of severe denial, it is very difficult for the subject or be discussed without aggression becoming a factor.