Identifying an addiction problem can be a challenge. Addicts are often able to hide their behavior, even from those close to them. In addition, what may seem like an addiction could be an experimental phase or how a particular man copes with stress. But addiction is chronic and usually degenerative, or worsens over time. Without help in the early phases, an addiction might turn into a debilitating and life-threatening condition. No matter which kind of addiction, it is crucial to recognize warning signs and seek help if necessary.
• being especially drawn to a substance or activity
• seeking out situations where the substance or activity is present
• episodes of loss of control or bingeing
At first, alienation may be rare, but it will typically advance over time. An addict will try to hide the addictive behavior from loved ones—especially those who may try to stop it. It is common for addicts to completely cut off contact with their families, friends, spouses, or children. They will ignore text messages, avoid phone calls, and sometimes even refuse to answer the door.
The following might be signs of a problem:
• sudden mood changes
• hostile behavior
• suicidal thoughts
Generally, if other factors contributing to physical or mental health issues do not occur, it is probable that a substance abuse or other addiction problem exists.
Some common effects include:
• poor grades or dropping out of school
• neglecting important duties or missing work
• strained relationships with family and friends
• worsening reputation
• injuries, accidents, or hospitalizations due to addictive behavior
• arrests or jail time
• eviction from the home or missed mortgage payments
• job loss
• loss of parental rights
While similar issues can occur in the lives of non-addicted people, these can become more common when an addiction is present. It is important to determine whether the problem is a result of a single incident or a growing problem with the addiction.
While a non-addicted person can usually see a negative behavior and eliminate it, this isn’t the case with an addict. Instead of admitting that the problem exists, addicts must convince themselves and others why it is acceptable to continue the behavior. This is why an intervention or trying to force an addict into treatment often fails. Until an addict “hits rock bottom” and wants help, he won’t be able to admit that he needs assistance. In most cases, an addict must want to change in order for recovery to be successful.
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