The Common Signs of Drug Addiction
Archie Modequillo (The Freeman) - August 12, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The problem of drug addiction is everywhere. It is so bad in the country that even a no-nonsense anti-drug crusader like the President is taking so much time in containing it. At one point, the President has even admitted his own doubts if the country’s drug problem could be quelled at all.

The community cannot just look away. The drug menace is right on everyone’s faces. It can be much closer than the home next door – it can be right in one’s own home.

Denial is the usual reaction of the family with a member who’s a drug user. It’s understandable – the family naturally wants to protect itself from the stigma. Besides, the drug user is still a dear son or daughter or sibling; it’s often hard to accept that the good kid has “turned bad.”

In many homes, the parents are originally the drug addicts. Then, the kids take on the habit, too. And then the problem gets much, much worse.

One isn’t necessarily bad for the simple reason that he or she has fallen into the bad habit. Among kids, peer pressure eggs one into it. But denial of the existence of the problem doesn’t help, either.

Addiction wears many faces. It’s not only drugs that one can be addicted to, although it appears to be the most widespread. Movie stars confess to being drunks or are fighting obesity from addiction to food. Starving oneself can even be addictive; super models are having eating disorders after long periods of depriving themselves of food.

Yes, of course, many celebrities admit to having drug-addiction problems too. And the media often dramatizes their stories. Addiction is now out of the closet and into the spotlight. Thus, in the eyes of the young public, it’s hip to take prohibited drugs, and so they try it.

Many families of drug addicts rationalize their loved ones’ situation by trivializing it as “the fad of the times.” If prominent people are into drugs, then the ordinary mortals may follow.

Yet, there are caring families who’d react seriously to addiction among them – if only they knew the signs. Barb Rogers, at, shares the common signs of addiction:

Questioning. People who don’t have an addiction problem don’t wonder if they have a problem. It’s simply not something they think about, because they don’t need to. The mind is funny in that way – if they’re paying attention, the mind tells them what they need to know whether they want to hear it or not. If one is being haunted with questions such as “What am I doing,” “Why do I keep doing it,” and “Why can’t I stop,” he or she better take note. The problem may have crossed the line into addiction.

Defensiveness. When others touch on the topic, does one feel his hackles rise, and does he instantly defend himself with statements like: “It’s not a problem for me,” “If other people don’t understand, it’s their problem,” “I can stop doing it anytime I want to,” or “I’m not hurting anyone but myself?” But, in his inner core, he knows that these statements aren’t true.

Blaming. Placing blame for his behavior on others or a situation is an old ploy of an addict that keeps him from taking responsibility for his choices. When others are out of the picture, and the situation is resolved and the behavior continues, it’s a clear sign that he has a problem.

Secrets and lies. Often, addicts are the only ones who think their addiction is a secret. They believe their lies are hiding the secret. But those close to them do notice that they are drinking too much, abusing prescription drugs, gambling away necessary funds, overeating, purging, shopping, living in clutter, etc. If addicts know that others know, but they continue to tell lies, then the only ones they’re fooling is themselves.

Time and effort. The time that addicts put into their behavior, and into finding ways to stop doing it, takes away from other parts of their lives. The effort it takes to manipulate situations and other people, so that they might indulge in the behavior, takes away from the effort they could be putting into building better relationships, getting an education or building a career, or simply living life free to choose what they will do.

Guilt and shame. How one feels about his behavior should be a clear indication of whether or not it’s a problem. If he feels guilt and shame, but he can’t seem to stop what he’s doing, then the problem has become an addiction. No one wants to feel guilt and shame, so if one inflicts it on himself repeatedly, then that’s something he should take a hard look at.

Isolation. Convincing oneself that no one loves him, that others don’t understand, or that he doesn’t fit into the world around him to justify his behavior may convince the person that he is protecting himself from more pain and disappointment. But it will leave him feeling alone and empty. Telling himself he is different and can handle things that others are not able to handle will only prolong the problem and escalate the possibility of serious addiction.

Again, it doesn’t matter whether it is alcohol or shopping, drugs or clutter, eating or not eating, gambling or infidelity that one is into – if it’s causing problems, and he can’t quit even though he wants to, then it is an addiction. The good news is that there is help available – ranging from treatment centers and anonymous meetings to individual therapy. Very few addicts find successful, long-term recovery without a support system.

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