On the surface, some drug addicts might seem like completely normal people. In many cases, they still very much are. But as you become closer to one, you may notice strange behaviors—some that are even unacceptable. Perhaps they have a tendency to become aggressive, and quickly backpedal later. They may struggle to let certain habits or feelings go, but why?
The truth is that severe addictions tend to change a person’s mindset and affects their behavior. Their priorities shift, and their perspective of the world is different—for better or worse. While they should be helped in treatment, understanding how an addict thinks is beneficial. You may be able to approach them easier and better understand their perspective.
What are the common patterns, and what traits are there to look out for? No addiction is the same, but nevertheless, there are common qualities to seek.
Understanding the Human Brain
In order to understand how addicts need, we need a proper understanding of how we think normally. Though humans are more advanced, they still evolved from primal ancestors and inherited their instincts. The human mind’s first priority is the need for survival such as food and shelter. Survival can also depend on emotional stability; we want to avoid trauma and find happiness.
In the case of an addict, they are not much different from any other person. Drugs and alcohol can act as temporary fixes of emotional problems such as divorce, abuse, or struggles in the workplace. In a way, abusing drugs is a method of survival for addicts.
This is why breaking an addiction can be so difficult—an addict’s mind sees drug abuse as necessary for survival.
The Cycle of Addictive Thinking
Anxiety, depression, and irritability—these are all struggles that people juggle and tussle with on a daily basis. No one is comfortable with these feelings, and they are among the most problematic mindsets that addicts face. In order to numb these feelings, some people may abuse drugs: alcohol, cigarettes, cocaine, or even medical drugs.
There are multiple reasons that addicts deal with conditions such as anxiety and depression. While some reasons may be related to current events such as job or relationship status, others can tie to their past. Many individuals who struggle with drug addiction also share a common link of neglect in childhood.
This past abuse can impact basic skills such as social interaction and production in hormones such as dopamine. To counteract these problems, addicts will abuse drugs to create certain “highs” they lack.
Because of this, addicts often fail to see the issues with drug abuse such as memory loss, emotional instability, and physical health. For many, the pro’s may outweigh the con’s, or they may even be completely unaware of them.
The Daily Routine and Struggle
The routine of a drug addict tends to be haphazard and centralized around their drug of choice. The cycle revolves around getting the money for drugs, buying the drugs, using the drugs, rinse and repeat. Anything that interrupts the cycle—be it job obligations or family—are vexing and can become targets of their frustration.
As an addict continues to abuse drugs, they begin to develop a tolerance—or greater need—for larger doses to satisfy their needs. With more cravings comes the compulsive desire to continue abusing drugs, regardless of the risks. Addicts may become more desperate to continue recreating highs and more dangerous to the people around them.
Many of these setbacks make it difficult to help an addict, but nevertheless they are still people. Seeing a friend or family member behave radically different is never easy, but treating them respectfully is still a priority. Always be willing to communicate, work with, and help the addict in question you are worried about.
If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, contact a local Treatment & Rehab alternative in Tennessee. You might be interested in Discovery Place’s own treatment center alternatives, such as our 30 Day Alternative Residential Addiction Recovery Program or our Long Term Alternative Recovery Program in Burns, Tennessee. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-725-0922.