When someone becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, they do not just experience various physical changes. Especially with long-term drug abuse, people’s personalities and behaviors will start to change considerably as well. As providers of therapy for families of addicts in Chicago, we have heard many accounts from family members about their loved one’s drastic change in behavior as they spiraled out of control from their drug addiction. The frequent use of these harmful substances will alter the chemistry of the brain, and the result will be a series of negative drug addict behavior patterns that, unfortunately, only get reinforced when treatment is neglected.
What Is Addictive Behavior?
As defined by Ruth C. Engs, RN, EdD. Professor at Indiana University, addictive behavior is “Any activity, substance, object, or behavior that has become the major focus of a person's life to the exclusion of other activities, or that has begun to harm the individual or others physically, mentally, or socially.”1 While there is an obvious difference between physical addictions (like those of drugs and alcohol) and behavioral addictions (sex, gambling, shopping, and others), it is believed that there are certain chemicals in the brain that are produced by these behaviors. It is believed that these behaviors produce beta-endorphins in the brain, making the person feel uplifted or euphoric.1
A person does not just become addicted to a substance. They become attached to the feelings it produces in their head and body. This attachment is what can lead to the development of tolerance, in turn leading to dependence and, finally, addiction.
Once a person is caught in that addictive current, it becomes increasingly more difficult for them to break away from it on their own. They can even act like different people than who they are. The little girl who always had a smile on her face when she was a child may turn into a cold and distant young adult. The husband whom you happily proclaimed your “I- Do’s” with may become an egotistical stranger to you.
While these realizations can be difficult to accept, being honest about the situation at hand is a crucial step to solving it.
Common Habits of Drug Addicts
It can be difficult to know why your loved one is acting strangely and why their behavior has changed so drastically. Could drugs be the reason? As a Chicago drug rehab, we know that there isn’t a specific set of drug addict behavior traits that everyone with a substance abuse problem has. However, there are behavioral patterns that you should be aware of if you suspect your loved one has an issue.
Some of the more common behaviors of an addict that you should look out for include:
- Gaslighting, lying, or being deceitful or secretive
- Spending time with the “wrong crowd”
- Stealing money to pay for drugs
- Social withdrawal or avoiding activities they once enjoyed
- Lashing out
- Talking about suicide or partaking in suicidal behaviors like cutting
- Strange sleeping or eating habits
- Neglecting responsibilities
- Having an abnormal daily routine or complete lack thereof
- Poor personal hygiene
- Increased risk-taking behaviors
- Spending most of their time away from home or partying
- Taking a prescription drug other than how it was prescribed
- Taking illicit drugs or drinking frequently
How to Change Addictive Behavior
The best way to change these behaviors is to actively pursue treatment for them. Typically, addiction is not something that can be achieved overnight or on one’s own. Rather, most people require professional Illinois addiction treatment that can help them overcome the dependency that controls them. There is no shame in needing such resources. In reality, choosing to prioritize one’s wellness is one of the most admirable things that a person can do for themselves and their loved ones.
If your loved one is showing signs of addict behavior patterns, it is important to get them professional help before their problems get worse. We understand that you want the best for your loved one, so at our rehab in Chicago, our professional interventionists for addiction may be able to help you get your loved one into treatment. Neither of you must continue suffering alone. There is an entire community of sober individuals who are here to provide the support necessary.
Reach out to us today at 888-280-4763 to learn more about how Banyan Treatment Centers Chicago can help you achieve and maintain sobriety.