How to Recognize the Signs of Addictive Behavior

Statistics show that 50% of people over 12 years old have used illicit drugs at least once. Since 2000, there have also been nearly one million overdose deaths in the US.

No matter where you go, there are a lot of issues around drug and alcohol abuse. That is why it is important to understand addictive behavior and the signs of it.

You may have a loved one who is showing some signs of addiction. If that is the case, you want to know exactly what to look for before making any assumptions.

Keep reading to find out how to spot the signs of addictive behavior.

Secretive Behavior

Addiction symptoms can take many forms depending on the person and the addiction. For instance, their behavior will be a little different if it is drugs versus alcohol.

Some behavioral signs to look for include secret behavior. For most people, they have no reason to be secretive and hide things from their loved ones.

But if they are battling with addiction, they are probably trying to hide this. As people become more addicted, this is going to get more difficult for them to hide from you.

You may start to notice signs of drug use in their home, such as empty alcohol bottles. They may start to keep you out of their space to hide these indicators.

They may also start to go places without letting you know where they are going or when they will be back. Your loved one may ask for money but refused to let you know why.

These are all behaviors that most people would not normally have. If paired with other strange behaviors, there’s a very good chance that they are dealing with addiction.

Mood and Energy Swings

People who are addicted struggle with a variety of mental issues. In a lot of cases, they may start to show signs of strange mood swings.

They may be excessively happy one minute and manic the next. The severity of the mood swings often depends on what they are addicted to.

Those addicted to heavy drugs are a bit more likely to have strange mood swings. You may also notice your loved one having strange energy swings.

This is when they feel very energetic one minute and depressed and sluggish the next. This is also a sign of addiction as their body is coping with what they are taking.

Poor Physical Appearance

People who are addicted often struggle with personal hygiene. For a lot of friends and family, this may be the first sign that you notice.

Most people maintain their appearance and try to look put together and clean. When someone is addicted, they start forgetting about hygiene altogether.

They may have a very strange complexion that makes them look sickly. Or their eyes may appear sunken in from a lack of sleep and nutrition.

Some people also start to show signs of needle marks and other physical damage. If the addiction is severe, their teeth may start to rot and their hair may start thinning.

These are all serious signs you should never ignore in your loved one.

Lack of Organization

Battling addiction is a full-time job for most people. Because of this, it becomes difficult to manage their other daily obligations.

They may stop showing up for work and end up losing their job. Or they may not follow through with appointments or meetings they scheduled.

Even people who are naturally disorganized don’t usually behave in this way. It is very destructive and will start to dismantle their entire life.

Compulsive behaviors are very common in those with addiction. They may quit their job one day and suddenly decide to go on a trip the next.

This is one of the many mental characteristics of an addiction.

Issues With the Law

There are a variety of signs of withdrawal and addiction to look out for. A lot of people who struggle with drug and alcohol use have issues with the law.

They may start to collect driving tickets and may even have their license suspended. They may have drug charges against them or DUI charges.

If this is uncharacteristic, they are most likely battling with an addiction. In this instance, they need medical intervention, much more than legal intervention.


Those struggling with addiction often push people away. They may start to isolate themselves and lose connection with friends and family.

This behavior is very common as they may feel shame and guilt. They probably don’t want you to see them like this as they know that there is a problem.

If this is out of the ordinary, you should never ignore this sign. It is not healthy for people to isolate themselves, especially when they are addicted.

Isolation can cause a greater relapse and only enhance the problem. It is very important for those with addiction to have a strong support system around them.

They not only provide support, but it helps them to also stay accountable.

Addictive Behavior: How to Spot It

Those struggling with addiction show signs of addictive behavior. If you notice any of these signs, it is important to take action to help your loved one.

Addiction can become life-threatening if it is not addressed as soon as possible. Addiction can come in all shapes and sizes, which is why it is so important to stay aware.

Are you looking for more resources around addiction and recovery? If so, you should check out our other addiction articles.

Also read:

Johnson Mack

Mack's a passionate wordsmith with a love for all things creative. As an avid explorer of the written realm, he weaves words into captivating tapestries of information and imagination. With a background in literature and a heart that beats for storytelling, Mack brings a unique blend of insight and eloquence to his writing.

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