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Behavior Change

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How to Recognize and Address Observable Behavior Changes in Addiction

Addiction is a tragic disease that afflicts many people all over the world. One primary symptom of an addiction is the changes in a person’s normal behavior. In addition, the continuous abuse of drugs, alcohol, and other illicit substances will, over time, cause changes in the addicted person. These changes are often negative, appearing in the affected person’s personality, physical appearance, and interests.

What are the observable behavior changes in addiction?

  • Lack of Interest: An addict’s disinterest in activities that once gave them pleasure appears to be a lack interest. The more addicted a person becomes, their focus shifts towards their vice, and everything else fades away.
  • Lack of Motivation: A distinct lack of drive and ambition is another symptom of addiction. Addicts become less interested in jobs, education, and other things that would have otherwise given them a sense of accomplishment.
  • Higher Risk-Taking Tendencies: A sense of danger also fades with addiction. A person under frequent influence can be observed to take fewer precautions and engage in more dangerous activities, especially in pursuit of a heightened feeling of euphoria.
  • Secrecy: Most addicts’ partaking in illicit substances must be done secretly, as they know it’s unacceptable to those around them. This means they will isolate themselves more often to hide their actions.
  • >  Impatience: Addicts can be volatile, especially while under the influence of drugs, leading to impatience and bursts of anger at little to no provocation, making them dangerous to be around.
  • Increased Sensitivity: Addicts become less able to tolerate loud noises and bright lights as their addiction progress which is more acute during withdrawal.
  • Reduced Impulse Control: Long-time addicts will often be unable to suppress their emotions and impulses making them prone to erratic and improper behavior and may harm those around them.

Lying, manipulation, frequent drowsiness, erratic eating habits, and theft are other addict behaviors.

Observing Addicted Behaviors and Creating New Behaviors

If you find yourself, or anyone close to you, suddenly manifesting any of these behaviors, it is a good idea to seek out help from a local medical professional as soon as possible

Behavior change is breaking existing behaviors and create new, health behaviors. An addict will go to great lengths to satiate a nearly uncontrollable desire. Addicts often display self-destructive behaviors in pursuit of their urges. Addiction is characterized by a dopamine response, which requires a tremendous amount of willpower to decouple from the stimulus. Studies have shown that addiction induces a severe stress response when the brain perceives the presence of the object of desire. Partaking in the unhealthy behavior becomes a compulsion to temporarily free oneself from the painful stress associated with craving.  ~Courtsey of Addiction Helper

How to break the addict’s automatic behaviors

Methods for breaking the addict’s automatic behaviors include:

  • >  Abstinence / “detox”
  • >  Involved social support and coaching
  • >  Replacement therapy
  • >  Strict tasks and guidelines around addictive behaviors

What the methods are good for:

  • >  Stopping a self-destructive, nearly uncontrollable urge such as a chemical dependency

What doesn’t work:

  • >  Baby steps
  • >  Punishment
  • >  Continued access to or reminders of the addictive substance or behavior


originally posted at nirandfar.com

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