5 Early Signs of Addiction to Look Out For

Screen Shot 2013-07-04 at 4.30.33 PMThe vast majority of people who have an addiction, regardless of the type of addiction, have very similar patterns of behavior. Often the people who are close to an addict miss the early signs of addiction or accept the behaviors of the addict based on the lies the addict tells. Understanding these “games” that addicts play can help you identify the telltale signs of addiction even in the early stages.

As I talk about in “The Law of Sobriety”, addicts realize that what they are doing is destructive, negative, and harmful. They do whatever they can to hide their addiction from friends and family. Some addicts are very good at this secretive double life but it always comes to the surface when the addiction takes over. For many this is a slow process while for others it can be relatively fast.

There are 5 typical behaviors that are common with addictions of all types. If you suspect someone has an addiction these will be red flags that can help you to determine if you need to reach out to get them the help and support they need.

  1. Manipulating their time –  an addict needs to find time to engage in their addictive behaviors away from who that are critical of the behavior. Watch for absences, irregular schedules, and lack of accountability for time in the addict’s life.
  2. Denial – the addict will deny or minimize any type of behavior that is related to the addiction.
  3. Defensiveness – questioning the addict about their life, habits, behavior, changes in their personality, or any other issues will trigger extreme defensiveness or blaming.
  4. Lies – catching addicts in lies is usually not difficult to do. Telling lies and trying to remember these stories is stressful, difficult, and overwhelming.
  5. Isolation – most addicts remove themselves from the people that know them best because their change in behavior, lifestyle or personality is most obvious to those who are familiar.

Changing from addiction to a clean and sober lifestyle first takes acceptance and acknowledgement of the addiction. Detecting addiction-related behaviors and getting help and support for yourself as well as the addict is essential in providing the right environment for this acceptance to occur.

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Sherry Gaba LCSW, Psychotherapist, Life, Love & Recovery Coach is featured Celebrity Rehab  on  VH1. Sherry is the author of “The Law of Sobriety” which uses the law  of  attraction to  recover from any addiction. Please download your free E book “Filling The Empty  Heart” and your “Are You a  Love Addict Quiz?” at www.sherrygaba.com Contact Sherry for  webinars, teleseminars,  coaching packages and speaking engagements. Listen  to Sherry on “A Moment of Change with  Sherry Gaba” on CBS Radio Take  Sherry’s quiz for a free eBook Filling the  Empty Heart: 5 Keys to  Transforming Love Addiction.

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About Sherry Gaba

Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a licensed psychotherapist and life coach who has helped hundreds of people cope with lifelong addictions, including substance abuse, shopping, gambling, food, sex and love, co-dependency, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, single parenting and divorce. Sherry appeared on Celebrity Rehab 3, 4, and 5.   She also facilitated life coaching on their subsequent spin off Sober House and Celebrity Rehab’s Sex Addiction. During filming of the series, Sherry used her trademark sensitivity and compassion to help troubled cast members as they transitioned into their new sober lives with psychotherapy and life coaching tips.  Sherry most recently appeared on CNN Headline News as a guest expert, as well as Inside Edition, where she spoke about Mackenzie Phillip’s who was on Celebrity Rehab 3.  In addition, she appeared on KTLA Channel 5 as an expert on eating disorders and Fox San Diego News, Better TV, WPIX New York, CNN Prime News, Issues with Jane Velez Mitchell on HLN, Showbiz Tonight, and E!News discussing Celebrity Rehab and Teen Mom on MTV.  Sherry’s book, “The Law of Sobriety” from HCI Publications is about recovery from addictions and alcoholism and was published in September 2010.  Sherry has also been published in Cosmopolitan Magazine, Women’s World, Los Angeles Times Blog, New York Post, The Huffington Post, Hollywood Life, Elle On-line, E! On-line, and the New York Daily News.  She has also been a guest with Martha Stewart, Jay Thomas, and Judith Regan on Sirius XM Radio.  Sherry also blogs on Beliefnet.com, Counselor Magazine, and Renew Magazine.  In addition she just joined CBS Sky Radio and hosts “A Moment of Change,” a show on self discovery and positive transformation.