9 Subtle Signs That Someone Is Dealing With An Addiction

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9 Subtle Traits Of Those Suffering From Addiction
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It might be their "normal" — or it could be something deeper.

An addict has one main goal, and that is to make sure their addiction gets fulfilled each day. This involves planning for transportation, having money, and a supplier.

For behavioral addictions such as gambling or shopping, it involves the same process but usually, the process is different. For purposes of this article, behavioral addictions will be discussed at a different time.

What many don’t realize is that even if a person is sober, they can still exhibit the behaviors of an addict and signs of addiction.

What are some of those behaviors? These are often subtle and can resemble the person in everyday life but there may be pieces to the puzzle you're missing and may need to look closer.

Here's a list of some subtle addictive personality traits that those with addiction have:

1. Lying

This may be lying about using or lying about how much was used. This can also be lying about engaging in the act.

For example, someone addicted to alcohol may tell their significant other that they weren’t drinking when they were. The lying can be present both while intoxicated or not.


RELATED: 4 Ways Your Addiction To 'Blame' Is Destroying Your Relationship


2. Manipulation

The person the addict is while active in their addiction is not who they really are and while in active addiction, manipulation may seem natural. Addicts will engage in deceptive ways to get what they want. Period.

3. Shifting of blame

This is a subtle behavior but once you realize what the addict is doing, you’ll notice it more and more. Oftentimes, if you attempt to confront the addict about this, they may change subjects, avoid it completely, or deny what they’re doing.

4. Unsuccessful attempts at quitting

Despite conscious efforts to quit using, they just can’t. It can be so severe that even with legal or completely life-changing events addicts are unable to quit. The substance being used has completely overcome the addict and attempts to quit often failed.

5. Compulsive behaviors

Addicts and many people with addictive-like traits aim for instant gratification. They want it and they want it this instance! Therefore, their brain operates to respond to the thoughts and urges they have in order to feed them.

6. Inability to handle stress

Many addicts will use because they are stressed out about something. It could be anything from family issues to a friend backstabbing them to failing a test in school. They resort to using to numb the pain but also to block out that stress and not have to deal with it.


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7. Unable to face life experiences

Life is hard. Whoever thought life was easy had no clue what they were talking about. There are challenges and obstacles many of us will face on a daily basis. Someone may lose a parent or sibling while another person was just diagnosed with a chronic illness.

For those suffering with an addiction, it is often too painful or bearable to cope with things that have happened in their life whether it be the past or present.

8. Selfishness

Whether or not a person is sober or presently using, they are selfish all of the time. Unfortunately, that is part of the disease of addiction. Addicts care about themselves and only themselves until their needs have been satisfied. There is no compromise or sacrifice for another unless they are benefiting from it.

You’ll notice that they are selfish even when they are not under the influence. The addiction itself takes over the person and they have a one-track mind.

9. Denial

They simply do not have a problem. They cannot connect the dots to how their use of a substance has contributed to negative things in their lives. "It’s only when I’m stressed" or "Well, I’m not like those other people so I’m good" are just a few of the responses I’ve personally heard from addicts.

Addiction as a whole is frowned upon by many as if those suffering from an addiction had a choice.

Sure, they may have initially wanted to try something…but can’t we say that about a lot of things? How about the number of times I wanted to try that piece of cake or a certain toy?

The difference is that substances tend to biologically change the brain’s chemistry and ultimately rewires itself to include the substance and the cake and toy don't alter the brain’s biological chemistry.

The heated debate as to whether or not addiction is a brain disease has been researched for many, many years and still continues to be debated today.

I believe it is safe to say that addiction is multifaceted and involves biological, psychological and social factors. If this debate continues, we are moving further and further away from a solution. We can debate many things and present reliable data but that gets us no closer to creating and implementing a solution and keeps us going in circles.

Whether or not you believe addiction is a disease, it has to be addressed that those with addiction are sick, in some capacity. Therefore, we need to alternatives and solutions to present to them — so that getting better doesn’t seem so hopeless.


RELATED: 5 Important Things To Know About Why Humans Are So Addiction Prone


Brittney Lindstrom is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor.

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