Understanding the Common Behaviors of Addiction

Do you have a feeling that someone you love might be suffering from addiction, but you aren’t sure? People who have addictions will go to great lengths to cover them and remain in denial, so not knowing for sure is very common. That is why it is very important to know the common behaviors of addiction, especially if someone you love has a history of it.

If you have a suspicion that someone you love is suffering from addiction, take note of these common behaviors of addiction. If they are exhibiting some or all of these, it is time to get help.


When someone is suffering from addiction, their brain has been rewired to require the substance in order to function. It takes time and patience in order to undo this process, something that a person suffering from addiction can do alone. Because of this, the brain will do just about anything to keep the supply coming, including manipulating other close loved ones.

This is especially true with someone suffering from addiction is low on supply, feeling withdrawal symptoms, running low on money or is faced someone asking them to get help. Manipulation can come in many forms, such as lying, defensiveness and blame shifting.


Lying is often one of the first common behaviors of addiction to pop up. You may notice your loved one is lying about their whereabouts, what they spend their money on, whether or not they are high or who they have been hanging out with.

If you are finding that a lot of things just aren’t adding up, chances are, they aren’t. It can be hard to face the fact that someone very close to you would lie to you so often and so blatantly, but it is important to not take it personally. It is simply one of the many damaging side effects of the control of their addiction.


Another form of manipulation is defensiveness. If your loved one is constantly defending themselves against you, even if you have facts to prove them wrong, they are trying to manipulate you. Along with defensiveness, they are trying to make you feel guilty and remorse so that you can just drop the conversation and let the situation go.

Blame Shifting

Many times, people who are suffering from addiction will place blame on everyone but themselves. Phrases like, “it is your fault that I am this way” or “I need my medication or else the pain in my back will be too great” can be very typical. It is a form of manipulation in order for you to get the heat off of them, and onto something else.

Abusive Behavior

Addiction can force someone to speak and act in ways that they normally wouldn’t. Typical side effects of drugs and alcohol can be increased anger and irritability, which is a perfect storm for abusive behavior. There is a good chance your loved one has become emotionally or physically abusive toward you or someone else. Another form of abuse can include all of the fear that they may place on you, including staying up all night worrying about where they are or having to find them in a dangerous location.

Criminal Behavior

Another one of the common behaviors of addiction is criminal behavior. This can include receiving a DUI or DWI, damaging property or stealing to pay for their addiction. It can also mean getting drug-related charges for having illegal substances or paraphernalia on them. If your loved one has been arrested for something that seems extremely out of character, chances are their addiction has gotten to a very new low.

Shift in Priorities and Social Life

A shift in priorities and social life are more common behaviors of addiction that should not be overlooked. If your loved one is starting to spend more time with a new group of friends and less time doing schoolwork or focusing on their career, this should be seen as a red flag. More shifts in priorities can include spending less and less time with family, abandoning hobbies or activities that they once enjoyed or no longer having a driven zest for life.

About Cliffside Malibu

While there are many common behaviors of addiction, it is very important to remember that you need to trust your gut and your common sense. If your loved one is displaying not only physical changes but behavioral ones as well, it is time for you to help them seek treatment. The longer the addiction goes on, the worse it gets and the more life-threatening it becomes.

Since no two addictions are the same, Cliffside Malibu offers an individualized treatment plan for each and every client. Treatment plans are created based on a client’s current Stage of Change l: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, or Maintenance. This model helps ensure that all patients receive the best treatment path possible based on their willingness to act on healthy behavior. Progressing our clients through this model to completion successfully is our goal each and every single day.

Cliffside Malibu’s policy is to ensure that all people who choose treatment with us receive the best care possible. We strive to provide a continuum of care including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment, and outpatient services. Our program includes not only evidence-based behavioral therapy but family therapy and holistic therapy, as well. Whether an individual is suffering from substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction, our programs are designed and structured to be a supportive environment in order to maintain sobriety.

In addition to world-class treatment, Cliffside Malibu offers luxury accommodations, a serene environment, five-star dining, and plentiful amenities. We understand that addiction treatment is a rigorous process. Therefore, we provide for your comfort and relaxation at every turn, allowing you to rejuvenate, to meet the demands of treatment with your greatest energy and attention.

For more information on Cliffside Malibu, visit cliffsidemalibu.com