Magazine article Psychology Today

Five Signs of Covert Addiction

Magazine article Psychology Today

Five Signs of Covert Addiction

Article excerpt

ONE OF THE many unfortunate realities of addiction is that it can be difficult to spot in loved ones until they are in deep. Sure, there are the stereotypical signs, such as unseasonable long sleeves worn to cover needle marks or the mysteriously dilated pupils of metn, cocaine, and psychedelics users. While these are obvious and extreme, garden-variety addiction can go unnoticed for months, or years. Fortunately,paying attention to the following areas will give you a head start toward helping someone who may be getting into trouble.

1 Energy Swings

People use drugs to regulate their feelings and ability to function. So if your family member or friend finds herself overindulging in stimulants, such as amphetamines and Dexedrine, to increase motivation and energy, or in depressants to reduce aggression, stress, or anxiety, it's going to be noticeable. One telltale sign: significant shifts in energy over the course of a single day. She might wake up tired and unmotivated, then suddenly get a massive jolt of vitality, only to crash at midday or in the evening. With this sort of behavior, you can be sure that something is happening behind the scenes.

2 Hot or Cold Libido

Is your spouse or partner acting unusually frisky lately? This could be a sign of stimulant abuse. Meth- amphetamine is linked with increased sex drive, as well as with the ability to perform more often than usual. The danger may lie in a partner who actually appreciates the activity; never mind that no one realizes it suggests a larger problem is looming. By being aware early on, you might catch the problem while it's much easier to resolve. On the other hand, opiate users and many people who abuse benzodiazepines-antianxiety medication like Xanax and Valium- lose interest in sex. While this can be a source of great stress and resentment in a relationship, it may have less to do with interpersonal issues and more to do with users simply getting their fill of pleasure from the pills.

3 Slim Down, Bloat Up

Does your loved one look as if he's gained or lost a significant amount of weight in a suspiciously short period of time? It's possible that drugs are the culprit. …

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