1. Impulsive Behavior
Addicts are known to act on impulse without stopping to think about the consequences of their actions, even if those consequences impact other people. This may include reckless acts like drunk driving or shoplifting merely for the thrill of it.
Impulsive behavior is especially prevalent among gamblers. They don’t know when to cut their losses and continue to wager large sums of money, believing that lady luck will be on their end if they just place one more wager or bet. This is exactly what accounts for high-profile celebrity gambling losses you have likely heard tales of celebrities gambling away more in an hour than what normal people make in a year.
2. Constant Anxiety
Addicts may be frequently anxious or stressed out. This may be attributed to feelings of guilt or regret associated with their addiction. They know the addiction is taking a toll on their physical and mental health, and it’s also likely causing friction with their family and friends.
While addictions certainly cause anxiety, the opposite is often true as well. People who tend to be anxious may use a substance to quell their emotions. Eventually, the substance use progresses into an addiction.
Some addicts may also become anxious if they’re unable to satisfy their addiction. If a drug and alcohol addict spent all his money on narcotics and booze, then where’s the money going to come from the next time he needs to get his fix? The addict may even resort to extreme measures to acquire the cash, such as crime and stealing money from loved ones.
3. Mood Swings
Sudden mood swings are prevalent especially among those with a substance addiction, though it may also apply to those with other addictions like gambling. Satisfying the addiction may provide a temporary high where you feel really relaxed or like you’re on top of the world. However, once the effects wear off, there’s a sudden crash where you feel down and depressed. The constant back and forth creates wild and unpredictable mood swings. The bottom end can manifest in the form of sadness, guilt, irritability, and helplessness. In more severe cases, this may even lead to suicidal thoughts.
As with anxiety, mood swings can also be the precursor for an addiction. Those with constant and sudden mood swings may initially use a drug or other substance to quell the roller coaster emotions. What begins as occasional use, of course, then becomes an insatiable habit.
4. Denial and Blame Shifting
It’s usually not until a group intervention by loved ones that a person will admit he has an addiction. Until then, there is a lot of denial and refusal to take responsibility for one’s own actions. Basically, the addiction and any negatives consequences that arose as a result is never his fault. If an addict loses his job due to poor performance caused by an addiction, blame may be placed on the boss for being unreasonable or discriminatory.
An addict may even look for excuses to justify the addiction. A drug user, for example, may reason that staying dependent on the substance will keep his drug-dealing friend employed. It’s just one more way for the addict to deny that he has a problem.
5. Anti-Social Behavior
Those with anti-social behavior may be prone to developing an addiction. It should be noted, though, that anti-social behavior should not be confused with being an introvert. The former denotes a tendency to be standoffish, unfriendly, and antagonistic.
Anti-social people may resort to alcohol or recreational drugs in order to relax to a point where they can comfortably socialize and fit into a crowd. They may also use narcotics if their peers are doing it, believing it’s a prerequisite for being a part of the in-crowd. Teens with anti-social tendencies are especially prone to addictions.
Having the behavioural traits of an addict does not mean you’re doomed to a dark path. You should, however, be more mindful of your experiences, feelings, and sensations when engaging in activity that can be habit-forming.
“Lucy Boyle is a full-time mother, blogger and freelance business consultant, interested in finance, business, home gardening and mental health. Follow her on Twitter: @BoyleLucy2.”