Addiction is defined as a persistent, compulsive dependence on a behavior or substance.
Secrecy is defined as the action of keeping something secret.
Our brains are amazingly adaptive. When we repeat actions, our brain turns them into behaviors. Once established as a behavior, something that at one time seemed foreign begins to seem like second nature. An addictive process or chemical can quickly become something our brains have a primary focus on, and getting “another hit” just becomes second nature, no matter who gets hurt or what is involved. It’s an ugly battle that some aren’t capable of fighting alone.
Patterns of denial, blame, anger, and bitterness are typical in families affected by addiction. Deception is a distinctive feature of any addiction. According to Alex Lickerman, M.D., “Addicts deceive others to cover up their addiction and themselves to deny they have one.”‘
Not all truths necessarily need to be exposed, but those secrets that alter our behavior or cause harm to others or ourselves are obviously secrets that need to be dealt with.
Detecting if someone has an addiction is not always easy. Many people can go for YEARS as high-functioning addicts, and alcoholics and their coming clean comes as a total surprise to those around them.
There are some signs that you can watch for if you suspect someone you know may be struggling with addiction.
Behavioral Changes – When a person makes a sharp change in typical behavior, it can be a major red flag. Huge chunks of time are unaccounted for, and daily activities such as work or school are being interrupted.
Mood Swings – We all have our moments, but if someone close to you has suddenly become irrational, impatient, and highly irritable, this person may be fighting with an addiction.
Defensiveness – Pointing out a rash change in behavior or other uncharacteristic change in daily habit will put an addict on the defense.
Blaming – Placing blame on something or someone else is all-too-familiar behavior for an addict.
Secrecy – Due to the shame and/or guilt an addict may feel for participating in a negative activity, the addict will go to great lengths in keeping the activity secret.
There’s Always Help—Even When an Addict Isn’t So Sure!
The five things we listed above are general red flags you can watch for if you suspect someone may be struggling with addiction. It’s always a good idea to speak to a professional counselor to discuss your suspicions, get advice, and gain a better understanding of the next available steps. Contact us for information and advice on these next steps.
~ Paul Tucker, MS, LADAC
Founder and Owner