What Are the Behavioral Signs of Addiction?

What Are the Behavioral Signs of Addiction?

Drugs and alcohol change our brain chemistry and therefore the way we think and act. 

While each drug has a different effect on someone’s personality, they all share a series of parallels that can be observed across the board.

Let’s dive into what are the signs of addictive behavior

Can Addiction Change Someone’s Behaviors?

It can, and it will

While change is not a bad thing, in this case, the change is never for the better. 

The deeper addicts fall into addiction the more likely it will be that their behaviors and personalities will be changed to the point that they might appear to be completely different people. 

Drugs and alcohol affect the chemistry of the brain by interfering with the way neurons send, receive, and princess signals. This disrupts normal functioning creating imbalances that lead to changes in behaviors and personalities. 

Essentially, drugs are retraining the brain and re-wiring it to respond differently.

Different substances will affect the brain differently and cause a variety of odd behaviors in the patient. 

For example, someone who abuses cocaine might be more prompt to act erratically or be paranoid. While marijuana users might adopt slowed-down behaviors that are more aligned with the drug’s effects.

Behavioral Signs of Addiction

Behaviors are different from drug to drug but generally, they share some parallels.

Let’s examine some of the most commonly shared signs of addictive behavior.


Obsessive thoughts and behaviors are one of the most common indicators of addiction across the board. 

Not only is it present in patients that suffer from substance abuse, but also in other forms of addiction such as gambling.

Addiction itself can be considered an obsession in itself. This behavior is almost synonymous with what it entitles to being an addict.


Indicators of addiction also include dishonesty. Not only does honesty play a role with the external world, but also in the internal. Addicts are almost always as dishonest with others as they are with themselves. 

This behavior goes hand-in-hand with addiction. So much so that exploring honesty is one of the foundations of any program of recovery. After all, accepting the problem begins with being honest with oneself.

Loss of Control

Addiction breaks down the barriers of self-will and self-control, this is why addicts can’t control their substance intake and ultimately end up hooked.

Loss of control expresses itself in many ways. Some of these indicators of addiction include:

  • Lack of control with drugs
  • The inability to abide by the law
  • Inability to control one’s emotions
  • Lack of self-awareness
  • Inability to control behaviors
  • Disregard of harm caused to themselves or others

The deeper the addict is in the addiction-hole, the more likely it is that substances will be at the driving wheel and the less likely the addict will have control over itself.


Addicts and alcoholics will go great lengths to sustain their habit and feed their cravings. For the most part, they will do or say anything to get them to their next fix or their next drink.

Addicts may also employ their own addiction as a way to manipulate the people around them to get what they want.

It’s important to keep in mind that while manipulating and playing with other’s emotions could sound significantly wicked, it’s not really the addict doing this, but rather their disease.

Emotional Wreckage

Strong mood swings, aggression, anxiety, and depression are all emotional red flags that a person might be addicted to drugs and alcohol.

The majority of these emotions can be present in people for various reasons, but addicts and alcoholics display them more intensely and/or in combination with each other.

Paranoia and/or Isolation

The emotions induced by strong drugs like meth, cocaine, and heroin as well as alcohol can inflict a lot of fear and “darkness” within the addict.

Fear-based emotions can lead addicts to isolation and to feel constant paranoia. Additionally, the deep sense of knowing they are doing something illegal fuels the fire of paranoia. 

These temporary emotions eventually become learned behaviors that stick around with the addict, changing their personality.

Criminal Behaviors

Not all alcoholics and addicts are criminals, but many of them do resort to crime as a means to sustain their addiction. 

When manipulation fails and money runs out, addicts could resort to taking things that are not theirs.

Unfortunately, statistics show that crime and drug consumption have a high correlation. Close to 26% of all arrests are crime related and nearly 80% of inmates reportedly abuse drugs and alcohol.

What To Do When Drugs and Alcohol Change Behaviors?

If you believe your loved one is abusing drugs and he or she has demonstrated some of the signs of addictive behavior listed above, it is important to respond appropriately and get help. 

Veritas Detox offers cognitive behavioral therapy and other holistic treatments that can help addicts re-learn positive behaviors and forget ill habits.

Contact Veritas Detox today and one of our admission experts will help you or your loved ones get the help needed to get sober.