Many people living with addictions go to great lengths to hide their behaviors from other people. They find ways to normalize their behaviors and minimize their addictions to keep others from suspecting how serious their issues really are.
Addicts will sometimes need their drug of choice or compulsion in order to cope. They might use before work or in order to sleep. They might not be able to socialize or interact with people without using. They might associate using with basic routine things like waking up and eating and may need to use first before doing them. They may need to use on a regular basis in order to get through their day and lessen their anxiety.
People struggling with addiction might show noticeable mood changes whenever they can’t have their drug of choice. They might become irritable, impatient, easily aggravated, unkind, or even hostile. They might be angry at the situation or with whomever they feel is preventing them from getting their fix. They might become aggressive if someone tries to curb their behavior.
Addicts often have a hard time facing the reality of their situation, and when confronted about it, may become angry or defensive. They may be in denial and refuse to admit they have a problem. They might try to shut down any further discussion on the issue and warn you never to bring it up again. They may change the subject and avoid dealing with it. They might deflect the issue onto another person or blame others for their problem. They may lie to deliberately hide the truth.
In order to hide their addictions from other people, addicts will often separate themselves and isolate themselves altogether. They may distance themselves from the people who were trying to help them, or cut off people who confronted them. They may completely cut off communication with loved ones.
Many addicts have tumultuous relationships because of their own inner turmoil, and they often attract other addicts as friends and partners. These relationships often involve partners being codependent upon each other and enabling one another’s addictions. They often use together and exacerbate each other’s illnesses. Relationships between addicts are often addictive in nature, with partners being compulsive with one another, staying in unhealthy attachments and being unable to separate even when the relationship is highly toxic and destructive. These relationships are often volatile with very painful, difficult endings.
Understanding some of the signs of addiction can help us to recognize when our loved ones are struggling. Call (800) 871-5440 for information on how we can help.