Recognize the behavior of an addict

Someone is addicted if there is an irresistible need for a substance that cannot be resisted, which causes problems. There are different forms of addiction, such as someone can become addicted to alcohol, drugs, medicines, gambling or sex. Sometimes someone is not immediately addicted and it may take some time for addiction to occur. An addict will usually do everything he can to hide the addiction. However, a number of changes in behavior are noticeable.

What an addiction is

An addiction is a habit that someone cannot resist. There is an uncontrollable urge to use a certain substance or to behave in a certain way. It is sometimes seen as a disease, but also as a vice. This causes the addict to get into trouble, especially financially. When the addict does not use the drug, withdrawal symptoms occur. There are many substances to which someone can become addicted, such as drugs, medicines, alcohol, food, nicotine, gaming, gambling or sex.

When are you addicted?

Sometimes the term addiction is a broad concept. In addition to the uncontrollable urge for the substance or behavior, there is also a physical need. How do you know if you have an addiction? It often takes a while before you become addicted to something and you only find out when it’s too late. Psychological and physical problems arise and everything revolves around the use of the drug. The following characteristics are associated with an addiction:

  • You always have to think about the drug you need
  • More and more is needed to get the same effect
  • There are withdrawal symptoms if you don’t use
  • Withdrawal symptoms include sweating, shaking, panic attacks, insomnia, headaches and restlessness.
  • Without the drug you feel sick

How an addiction develops

An addiction is the result of a certain process. It also depends on the type of addiction how long it takes before you become addicted. They will be heroin and nicotine drugs that you can quickly become addicted to. Young people in particular are curious and experiment with substances. It is often a matter of trying it once, but because of the positive effects, someone may take it more often. It’s fun, you feel relaxed and you enjoy it. For example, the use of alcohol is very social and is often used to celebrate something. If someone had a difficult childhood or is going through a difficult period later in life, they can sometimes turn to a remedy to feel better. There are also people who become addicted without it being the result of a problem.


If you are addicted, you are both physically and mentally dependent on the drug. Using takes precedence over everything else in your life. When you don’t use, withdrawal symptoms occur. The physical withdrawal symptoms usually disappear after a few weeks. Some people have a hereditary predisposition to develop an addiction sooner. For example, people who have parents with an alcohol addiction will have a greater chance of becoming addicted themselves. People who can handle alcohol well may have fewer or no bad experiences. They are more likely to drink than people who have suffered from a severe hangover.


The physical withdrawal symptoms can sometimes be very intense and in the case of a severe addiction it may even be better to do this under the supervision of a doctor. Usually a severely addicted person is also admitted to a rehab clinic. Mental dependence often lasts longer than physical dependence. It has to do with the obsessive desire for the drug. Relapse is common in an addict who has kicked the habit. Even if the addict is clean, seeing a crack pipe, for example, can trigger a chain reaction of chemicals in your brain, causing you to use the drug again.

What it means for your environment

The addiction not only affects the addict, but his environment. The addict gets into more and more problems, which the environment is drawn into. It has an impact, especially when it concerns a partner or family member. The addict may become aggressive, unpredictable and withdrawn. He considers the means more important than his family, work or friends and will lie and go to all kinds of bends to get his means. The self-destructive behavior is very difficult for the loved ones of the addicts. All kinds of attempts are made to help the addict, but it often has no effect.

How can you help an addict?

It is very difficult to help an addict. This requires decisiveness and courage. For a healthy person, food, shelter, love and safety are the basics. For an addict, that is the drug he needs. You must clearly indicate your own boundaries. If these are exceeded, you have to stand up for yourself by, for example, sending a drunk alcoholic out of the house and telling him not to come home until he is sober. For example, you must be able to say no when the addict begs you to lend him money. The addict can react very strongly and you have to stand firm for that. Try to show the addict that it is better to check into a rehab clinic.