Common Characteristics of an Addict

Upset couple

If you have never really been around an addict, you may not realise that there are certain characteristics that most addicts have in common. It may not be 100% of them, but it is a high percentage, and they are behavioural characteristics.

Knowing these characteristics can prevent you from living in mystery and struggling with an unrecognised drug or alcohol problem in your midst. Family and friends naturally try to be supportive but can go on without realising the true extent of a problem. And that love and support often leads nowhere as the actual situation isn’t being addressed.

Here are a couple of behavioural characteristics that you should be alert for:

Stories That Don’t Ring True, Lies, Excuses and Justifications

Buying and using drugs causes issues and problems, especially when it is a secret. These issues are often lied about. It could be money missing, jobs lost or school abandoned. Schedules are often erratic and they may be missing at strange times or for long periods. Being sick, losing their home or maybe even getting arrested.

Whatever the scenario, you will hear strange and tall tales on what the cause was, because you can be assured, it ‘wasn’t them.’ Justifications and excuses become their life.

  • I just hated school
  • I tried, but I just wasn’t good enough
  • The boss was picking on me
  • I lost that new watch, it just fell off my wrist
  • I lost my wallet and all my money, can you lend me some?

The real give away is that it is never ending. Everyone has issues now and again, but if it is continuous, there is a likelihood you are looking at addiction.

Manipulation of Family and Friends

When the person is already lying and keeping secrets from those around him, there is no way to keep it up without manipulation.

By keeping people from looking too closely, or from making changes in the person’s life, the lies can be continued and the alcohol or drug abuse continues without notice.

This is not necessarily a conscious decision, but rather an inherent “survival mechanism” when the person feels they cannot live without drugs. If drugs become life, then there is an overwhelming desire to continue in their use and that, usually, prevents parents, brothers, sisters, partners, friends, colleagues and employers from finding out.

So by distracting, turning the tables and diverting attention, it often causes people to just give up, go away and leave the person to their drug abuse.

  • If you were more supportive, I would not be so upset all the time
  • You never give me any space or privacy. Why don’t you leave me alone?
  • If you loved me, you wouldn’t keep at me all the time
  • Why are you always suspicious of me? Why don’t you just leave me alone?
  • Why don’t you trust me - what’s your problem?

These statements are all calculated to throw someone else off, upset them and destroy their ability to effectively get to the real causes of the problems.

If you discover someone close to you is addicted to drugs, please call us for help or advice on

00800 802 1375


Narconon UK

Welcome to Narconon United Kingdom At Narconon, we are dedicated to one thing: helping you overcome addiction for good. Part of what makes this possible is the Narconon environment. Every detail has been taken into account to give you the stability and comfort to help you free yourself from addiction and rebuild your life without drugs.