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While it is true that ultimately a large part of addiction resides in the psychology of the mind, it also manifests in other ways. In addition to mental signs of addiction, there are also emotional, physical, and behavioral signs of addiction. Moreover, these signs are often the most visible to the friends and family that surround the individual with addiction. This is especially true with the behavioral signs of addiction.

Understanding the Broad Category of Addiction

“Addiction” is often a term that is thrown around as a “catch-all” for an issue that is certainly much more nuanced and complex than one single word. However, due to the broad and often misunderstood concept of addiction, it seems appropriate to obtain a clinical definition of such a complicated mental health disorder.

The American Psychological Association (APA) Dictionary of Psychology defines addiction as “a state of psychological or physical dependence (or both) on the use of alcohol or other drugs.” In addition, “The term is often used as an equivalent term for substance dependence and is sometimes applied to behavioral disorders, such as sexual, internet, and gambling addictions.” Three very important aspects to note in that definition are that addiction can be “psychological,” “physical,” and “behavioral.” 

These three aspects of addiction are critical in understanding addiction as a whole. While the three health issues can certainly exist on their own, when dealing with addiction these three aspects are wholly intertwined. However, generally, the most visible aspect of early addiction resides in an individual’s behaviors. Thus, it becomes crucial to discern the behavioral signs of addiction so professional help can be sought as soon as possible.

Understanding the Behavioral Signs of Addiction

When it comes to the behavioral signs of addiction, one vital aspect to note is that these behaviors do not just form overnight. Just as addiction rarely forms overnight, the negative side effects and symptoms of that addiction don’t either.

There are plenty of signs and symptoms that a person can look out for if they are concerned about whether a loved one has an addiction. An individual may be struggling with addiction if they are:

  • Becoming secretive and deceptive regarding their actions and whereabouts
  • Showing signs of financial struggle due to their addictive behaviors, which may also lead to illegal activity
  • Isolating from their friends and family
  • Losing interest in the activities that they once enjoyed
  • Exhibiting extreme mood swings seemingly without provocation
  • Losing interest in their physical appearance, including hygiene
  • Becoming very anxious and even physically sick if they do not have access to the substance or “process” activity (like social media disorder, for example) they are addicted to

It is recommended that if any or all of these warning signs manifest, especially over a prolonged period of time, that immediate professional mental health care, a recovery center, or an addiction specialist be contacted ASAP. This could mean the difference between a loved one experiencing short-term side effects or long-term consequences of addiction.

Treating the Behavioral Signs of Addiction Simultaneously

Now, treating the behavioral signs of addiction is not necessarily that different than treating the mental or emotional signs of addiction. In fact, all of these aspects must be treated if an individual hopes to achieve long-term recovery. 

The most important part of treating addiction, including the behavioral aspect, is determining if a clinical detox is needed. If so, detox must take place in a professional setting, as not doing so can cause physical harm and can even be fatal in extreme cases. After a detox (again, if required), behavioral healing can begin.

Perhaps the most effective and common way of treating the behavioral effects of addiction is via therapy. Primarily, this includes psychotherapy, often using a cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) approach. CBT helps get to the underlying emotional and psychological issues of addiction that ultimately trigger problematic behaviors. If done properly, this therapy can help an individual recognize their behaviors and eventually learn to manage and even mitigate them.

The Addiction Recovery Mission at the Phoenix Recovery Center

Here at The Phoenix Recovery Center, we have helped countless people recover from their addictions. However, we cannot take direct credit for these accomplishments.

We work with our clients to empower them to recover their autonomy over their lives. Ultimately, this is their life that they are fighting for, we are just here to help them fight and get it back.  

For many of our clients, addiction tried to take everything away and bury them under its weight. We helped show them how to get out from under it and get their lives back. Like our namesake, as the phoenix, we help them to rise to new heights that, in the grip of addiction, they once thought unimaginable.

If you feel like you or a loved one are struggling with issues of addiction, we can help. For more information about treating behavioral and mental health simultaneously, please reach out to The Phoenix Recovery Center at (801) 438-3185.

The Phoenix Recovery Center
489 W. South Jordan Pkwy
Suite 400
South Jordan, UT