As with any disorder or disease, there are always signs and behavior patterns associated with conditions. These signs distinguish different conditions from one another and can affect a host of things in the sufferer’s life. This includes mental health, physical health, and relationships. One such condition is addiction, which comes with typical addict behavior in relationships.
When someone is struggling with addiction, many behaviors emerge. Often, these behaviors were not present before the individual developed a substance use disorder. Therefore, as these signs begin to present themselves, you will notice a change in the addict’s overall behavior.
If you suspect that someone close to you is abusing drugs, we are here to help. At Free by the Sea, we understand the nuances of addiction and how to spot the signs. Equipped with the right information, you can begin to understand the behavior of the addicted person in your life.
Typical Addict Behavior in Relationships
There are many types of relationships: romantic, familial, and platonic. And while there may be some differences in how addiction affects each kind of relationship, there are also many similarities. Unfortunately, any of these types of relationships can be negatively affected by addiction and typical addict behavior in relationships.
In general, individuals with addiction will display certain behaviors that damage their relationships. These behaviors often put a strain on relationships, causing arguments, mistrust, and even domestic violence. These behaviors can include but are not limited to the following:
- Lying or hiding drug use from loved ones
- Dishonesty about finances
- Neglecting responsibilities such as school or work
- Isolating themselves from friends and family
- Being verbally or physically abusive
- Engaging in manipulative behavior
- Using substances such as drugs or alcohol despite the consequences
- Changes in their daily routine
- A decline in personal hygiene
If you’re in a relationship with someone with an addiction, you may feel like you are walking on eggshells, never knowing what to expect. You may feel like you are constantly cleaning up their messes or making excuses for their behavior. If this sounds familiar, your loved one may be experiencing a substance use disorder.
Distancing and Isolation
Unfortunately, many people who abuse drugs begin to isolate themselves. This can be for many reasons. They may feel ashamed of their addiction and try to keep it a secret. They may be trying to hide their drug use from friends and family. Or they may simply prefer the company of other addicts because they understand what they are going through.
Some individuals may also isolate themselves due to losing interest in social interaction. The changes caused in the brain by substance abuse will often cause a person to prioritize using their drug of choice. Therefore, their relationships with friends, family, and significant others may be put on the back burner.
If you notice your loved one is distancing themselves from you, it may be a sign that they are using drugs. However, it’s important to remember that addicts are not bad people. They are suffering from a disease that causes them to act in ways that are harmful to themselves and those around them. Their isolation is likely not due to any hard feelings they have towards you.
Abuse and Codependency
There are times when addiction can cause a person to act in abusive ways. Of all the typical addict behavior in relationships, this may be one of the most concerning. Abusive behaviors can be physical, verbal, or emotional. For example, an addict may use emotionally or verbally abusive tactics to avoid facing their addiction.
In some cases, abuse can turn physical when the addict is angry due to a lack of inhibitions. They may also say hurtful things or try to control their partner’s behavior. This is often a result of codependency. As an addict’s addiction progresses, codependent and enabling behavior can cause a toxic relationship to form.
If you’re in a relationship with an addict, it’s important to be on the lookout for any signs of abuse. If you’re concerned about your safety, it’s best to seek help from a professional or remove yourself from the situation entirely until they commit to recovery.
Irresponsibility and Neglect
When someone values drug use above anything else, they become irresponsible. This can manifest in many ways, such as neglecting work or school, not paying bills, or forgetting important appointments. This can cause a strain on familial relationships as a child neglects school work, or on a romantic relationship as a partner fails to earn money at work.
In a relationship, an addict may start to neglect their partner’s needs. They may stop helping around the house, miss date nights, or forget anniversaries. If this pattern of behavior continues, it can lead to the collapse of the relationship.
Unfortunately, this irresponsibility and neglect can be the result of abusing drugs. As an individual dedicates more time and energy to finding, using, and hiding drugs, they can shift their entire focus. This shift in focus away from their partner can result in typical addict behavior in relationships.
Mood Swings and Paranoia
Drugs can cause mood swings and paranoia. This can make it difficult for an addict to maintain healthy relationships. An addict may become irritable, argumentative, or even violent. For example, they may accuse their partner of cheating or being unfaithful, leading to a strained relationship.
Many drugs can induce psychosis. This is a type of break from reality that occurs in episodes. Drug-induced psychosis, also known as a substance-induced psychotic disorder, can occur when taking too much of a certain drug, Mixing substances can also produce this effect in an addict.
This is seen in particular with alcohol addiction. As the brain becomes damaged over time, its ability to process information accurately weakens. This can cause many of the typical addict behavior in relationships. Concerningly, the individual may also suffer from delusions and hallucinations as a result. This can cause further mood swings and debilitating paranoia.
Financial problems are also among the typical addict behaviors in relationships. When someone is buying drugs, they may find themselves in financial trouble. If they are unable to hold down a job, this will only add to their difficulties.
Further, if an addict is spending all of their money on drugs, they may resort to criminal activity to get the funds they need. This can put a strain on any relationships they are in. If someone close to you is exhibiting this behavior, they may be addicted to drugs.
When looking for a way to pay for drugs, the addict may begin to ask for money for unexplained reasons. And despite how much money you give them, they may continue to ask for more. If you notice that someone you’re close to is constantly asking for money and not giving any explanation as to why this could be a sign of addiction.
What Comes After Identifying Addict Behavior Patterns
After you’ve assessed whether or not your loved one is abusing drugs, there are a few things you can do. The first is to have a conversation with them about your concerns. This can be a difficult conversation, but it’s important to express your thoughts and feelings honestly. If they are addicted to drugs, they may not be able to see the negative impact their behavior is having on those around them.
It’s also important to get professional help. There are many resources available to help guide you through confronting your loved one. In many cases, a carefully planned intervention is needed. This is especially true when the addict is in a volatile state and prone to irritability and violence.
It is important to remember that you should never confront an addict alone or if they pose a danger to your safety. This can be a very dangerous situation. Always have a friend or family member present to help diffuse the situation if things start to get out of control.
Let Us Help Your Loved One at Free by the Sea
If you’re not sure how to approach your loved one about their addiction, an intervention specialist can help. You don’t have to live with the distress host of typical addict behavior in relationships. At Free by the Sea, we offer alcohol and drug intervention services in Washington State. Choosing to conduct an intervention can be a difficult choice to make.
However, the process of planning and executing the intervention does not have to be.
Once your loved one is ready to begin treatment, our team of medical and mental health professionals will be with them every step of the way. We offer a wide range of treatment options, including inpatient and outpatient programs, to meet the unique needs of each patient.
We also know that the typical addict behavior in relationships can tear families apart. That’s why we offer family counseling services as part of our addiction treatment program. To learn more about how we can help your loved one, contact us today.
Dr. Richard Crabbe joined our team in 2019 as our psychiatrist and medical director. He attended the University of Ghana Medical School where he became a Medical Doctor in 1977. From 1978 through 1984, he was a medical officer in the Ghana Navy and provided a variety of services from general medicine to surgeries. He received his Certificate in General Psychology from the American Board of Psychology and Neurology in 2002.