Drug and Alcohol - Relapse Prevention

How to Recognize Addictive Behaviors

Recognizing behaviors is key to understanding addiction. Read our blog to learn more about these harmful behavior patterns.

How to Recognize Addictive Behaviors

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

May 12, 2022

The Forge Recovery Center

Substance use disorders typically involve physical dependence, but behavioral elements of the condition also need to be considered for successful treatment to occur. When an individual has addictive behaviors, the brain's chemistry has essentially transformed.

Many individuals who struggle with substance use disorders experience both physical and behavioral symptoms whether they eliminate or continue substances. 

Recognizing addictive behaviors can involve more than just those resulting from substance use, as it can manifest as overall atypical behavior in an individual. Both behavioral and physical addictions are often present when an individual is dealing with chemical elements of substance use.

Fortunately, when an individual learns to recognize addictive behaviors, they can further progress in treatment and increase awareness for themselves and those around them.

Learning How to Recognize Addictive Behaviors

Addictive behavior is a compelling feature that derives from the brain. Similar to the challenges of substance use disorders, addictive behaviors begin similarly. Those who engage in addictive behaviors find an affinity towards the activities, find it difficult to stop, and are vulnerable to living life in an unhealthy manner. 

Transformation within the neurotransmitters influences one's thoughts and actions regarding pleasure and behavior. Often the neurotransmitters create an element of happiness and euphoria. Since substance use develops and alters the neurotransmitters that boost these emotions and feelings, it changes brain chemistry.

If the brain is exposed to the substances more often, it decreases its natural creation of dopamine and serotonin. When an individual stops using substances, the brain recognizes the chemical arrest as lacking chemicals and produces counter-reactive results, like cravings, emotional fluctuations, and physical withdrawals. 

Due to these effects, it is difficult for an individual to cease using substances even if adverse outcomes and consequences result. Other outside influences and behaviors can become part of addictive behavior, not solely substances.

For example, some common addictive behaviors can include video games, shopping, and gambling. Similar to substance use, addictive behavior begins with finding happiness and euphoria to fulfill a sense of purpose in life. If individuals use the elements in excess and become addicted, they can face financial, health, and psychological or medical concerns.

Additional signs of addictive behavior are obsessive thinking about the activity, lack of responsibility, revoking relationships, risk-taking, and neurosis.

While one individual may exhibit a sign here or there regarding addictive behavior, others can struggle with multiple behaviors. For example, when individuals suffer from a shopping addiction, they might hide it from their loved ones when they are present and seek alternate options to fulfill that need when the shopping element is not there.

It is essential to get to the core elements of the addictive behavior before any other starts to present itself, leading to negative results. Addictive behaviors can be found in individuals worldwide and can be about anything that results in pleasure. For example, some individuals find themselves unable to find satisfaction without working round-the-clock, while others are addicted to shopping. Either way, the addictive behavior begins and continues because it is not adequately addressed or treated.

Addictive Behavior Identification

Those who struggle with substance use or an addictive personality often find it is challenging to stop doing or using what they are addicted to. In many cases, individuals have to find outside resources to assist them with their addictive behavior. Those who have addictive behaviors want to hide the behavior to avoid the consequences of shame experienced by those they love.

An individual can identify an addiction or addictive behavior through manipulation, legal concerns, blame and shame actions, irrationality, and emotional or physical reactions. If an individual notices some of the identifying factors, seeking professional help can make a huge difference in combating the concern and potential for life-altering consequences.

When a person speaks with a professional about addictive behaviors, they can begin to learn how to deal with them healthily for themselves and their loved ones. They can also begin utilizing coping mechanisms to live a more meaningful, peaceful life, free from harmful behaviors that may hold them back. 

Behavior and reactions can cause individuals to damage relationships and other elements of life. Sadly, because substances alter the way one thinks and behaves, it is vital to get treatment as soon as possible before the damage progresses irreversibly. Additionally, some individuals need more professional treatment with round-the-clock care if a medical concern is also relevant due to the situation. No matter what kind of care an individual who is struggling may need, it is vital to reach out and seek help.

Addiction Treatment Can Help You Manage Addictive Behaviors

Those who struggle with substance use disorders find that treatment is a great way to address both concerns simultaneously, and it helps them prevent relapse in the future.

The Forge Recovery Center understands how to manage addictive behaviors and recognize addictive behaviors, especially for those who struggle with substance use. If you feel that you are on the verge of becoming addicted to anything, The Forge provides exceptional experience and compassion without judgment. We are here to help you or your loved one with the best treatment options, or we will help you find the proper treatment that meets your needs.

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