Articles on drinking addiction

Kids - Are They Really Affected by Parents' Addiction?

Ms. Raisa Luther, Psychotherapist
In our experience, parents usually think that their addiction has not really impacted their children in any significant way. Also, in our experience, this is not true – actually believing in the lie that the child is not affected by addiction in a family, is part of the addictive denial.Addicts' children are most affectedKids are highly sensitive, their growth process is dependent on it. They feel, taste, absorb and internalize what’s around them, including the toxic soup of addiction. Kids love their parents. Since they sense that the parents are not in control, they begin to take ownership of the problem believing it’s their fault. Shame, blame and guilt rule in addicted households. And addiction is cunning: the desperate and repeated attempts by family members to ‘fix’ the problems are doomed to fail, over and over again.A simple yet powerful exercise we use at Hope Trust’s Family Support Program to help children is we ask them to write a letter to addiction, not to the parent(s). Children share this letter with parents and it’s often the first time parents understand how damaging addiction has been in the lives of their most cherished ones.Children are explained that addiction is a disease and their addicted parent is not bad, but sick. Surprisingly, children accept this fact readily and are on the path to recovery themselves by forgiving the huge ‘betrayals’ by the parent. A rehab is a place to heal, not a punishment – this they can actually see and feel as they visit their parent and also interact with other members. They can sense the sincerity and genuine help being extended by the professional yet friendly counsellors at Hope Trust. They begin to understand that recovery is the gift of freedom, not a label suggesting you’re broken or faulty.And they discover the joy of having their parents back in the family – a truly priceless gift!

What Is the Real Cause of Addiction?

Ms. Raisa Luther, Psychotherapist
Do you sometimes wonder what the actual cause of addiction is?  It’s a unique mix of risk factors and influences — genetic and environmental. It’s uncommon that merely one thing drives an individual to addiction. Instead, it’s a heady mix of nature and nurture. Here’s how these work together to create a potentially devastating condition:Nature (Genetics)1. Dopamine handlingSome people are genetically predisposed to addiction. Such individuals are born with a certain genetic make-up in their dopamine receptors that makes them ‘enjoy’ potentially addictive substances more than ‘normal’ people. This increases the risk for addiction.2. Psychological issues and self-medicationGenetics often influence indirectly. For instance, persons living with other psychiatric disorders associated with genes (such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc.) can have a tendency to self-medicate with an addictive substance.  They feel ‘better’ with medication – this may lead to addiction. Over time, escapist self-medication can escalate to addiction. In such cases, it is not a tendency toward addiction but the propensity for an underlying vulnerability that can lead to addiction.Nurture (Environment)Apart from genetics, environmental factors also play an important role.1. Childhood traumaEarly life negative experiences, such as neglect, emotional or physical or sexual abuse, etc., can increase the risk for addictions regardless of genes.According to a study, unresolved early life (prior to 18 years) trauma can lead to later-life problems. Survivors of chronic childhood trauma are: 1.8 times as likely to smoke cigarettes1.9 times as likely to develop obesity2.4 times as likely to experience anxiety3.6 times as likely to be develop depression3.6 times as likely to be promiscuous7.2 times as likely to get into alcoholism11.1 times as likely to become a drug addict2. Early exposure to addictive substances or behaviorEarly exposure to alcohol or drugs can lead to chronic addiction. In today’s world, kids are exposed to drugs such as marijuana and alcohol at a younger age (12 – 14 years) and are vulnerable to addiction in later years. Due to Internet and the massive supply of easily accessible erotic content, children as young as 11 get their first exposure to porn. About 41 percent of existing adult sex addicts were using porn before age 12. Studies indicate that the lower the age of first use, the higher the likelihood of addiction — sexual and otherwise. The cause of addiction isn’t nature or nurture. Both can come together in a person and influence his or her behavior.Treatment is effectiveWhatever the causes, the presenting problem may be an addicted person – abusing alcohol, drugs or indulging in some other damaging behavior. Recovery requires support from professionals. Just as the causes may vary, treatment also needs to be individualized to suit the individual. Addiction therapy also involves helping the addict resolve his childhood issues.  

Drinking – What’s the Cost?

Ms. Raisa Luther, Psychotherapist
Counting the cost of alcohol addiction can be a real an eye-opener!It is very important for persons who are drinking too much, or for his or her loved ones to fully understand the damages their addiction is causing.If you check out the costs of alcoholism, it may help get the alcoholic into treatment or urge his or her family members to seek professional intervention.Some persons balk at the cost of treatment. However, once you look at the cost of continued addiction, treatment looks like the most valuable option.So let’s look at the real cost of alcoholism:Health problemsAlcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream and subsequently affects all parts of your body. Beginning with the brain – when it hits the brain, that’s what it means getting ‘high’ or getting the ‘buzz’. Every small peg of alcohol kills thousands of brain cells – irreversibly. Long term alcohol abusers have difficulty in remembering due to memory loss, have lack of concentration and impaired judgement.The drinker’s liver is one of the first victims. Excessive intake of alcohol makes the liver unable to break down the harmful substances. Continued alcohol abuse can lead to serious liver diseases including sclerosis.Alcohol commonly causes stomach problems such as ulcers, bloating and excess gas. Your heart too gets under strain – it has to work that much harder to keep the body functioning. Though the cardiovascular system is extremely powerful and resilient, but like everything it has limits. That’s why alcoholics are prone to irregular heartbeats, strokes and heart attacks.Alcoholism also damages the nervous system. It can cause sexual dysfunction. For men it can lead to impotence, women infertility issues.Other serious problems associated with excessive alchol intake are: problems with teeth and gums, bowel issues and ulcers.There are over 46 diseases directly related to alcoholism. Alcoholics need to spend more time in hospitals, experience loss of pay when they are absent from work. Some, of course, land at the graveyard early.Impact on personal relationshipsWhile the loud and dysfunctional behaviour of the alcoholic may make friends avoid him or her in social settings, it’s the personal relationships that take a huge beating.The alcoholic destroys his or her family unity, causes extreme stress, grief, anguish and hearbreak to those who love him or her dearly. Family members live in constant fear and suffer from long-term emotional and psychological damage.Even love has its limits. The near and dear ones will ultimately give up or harbour deep resentments.As often happens, the partner abandons the alcoholic. This causes the alcoholic to hit the bottle with more vigour and vengeance, leading to further loneliness and devastation.Financial lossYou don’t need rocket science to get this. Boozing is expensive. Not just the cost of the booze, but the things that along with it. Going out with drinking buddies, grandiose spending, medical costs, and absenteeism at work – all these add up to a huge cost. The same amount could have been spent on family welfare, housing improvement, holidays, investments, and personal growth.For the alcoholic, drinking becomes the Number 1 priority. It not only ruins the bank balance, but adversely affects all areas of the alcoholic’s life. Alcohol becomes all-consuming and whatever it costs to fund your drinking will be spent over and above other financial responsibilities.Stop counting the cost of alcohol addiction – start seeking helpThose who cross the line from social drinking to alcohol abuse need help. Alcohol rehabs are effective in rebuilding the lives of alcoholics and their families. The cost involved is nothing compared to what the alcoholic is bound to lose if he doesn’t stop.If you wish to save someone from further deterioration, get in touch with a rehab. Most of the rehabs have outpatient, residential and online therapy options for addiction recovery.

Causes of Addiction in Teenagers

Ms. Raisa Luther, Psychotherapist
It is estimated that 27.2% of high school students use illicit drugs on a regular basis. This is a very disturbing statistic considering the fact that the teenage years are formative in the development of a person’s career, personality and overall success. Adolescence is a very confusing time involving raging hormones, pressure to fit in at school and academic stress. Teenagers abuse and become addicted to drugs and alcohol for many reasons, and it is essential to understand them in order to treat patients successfully in a rehab.Addiction may start youngMany teenagers experiment with drugs and alcohol but don’t get addicted to them. While peer pressure may drive an adolescent to consume drugs or alcohol at parties or other events, other factors are responsible for the mental state of addiction. Trying drugs or alcohol at a party can, however, trigger the path towards addiction. For example, if a teenager has a genetic predisposition to alcoholism and is going through problems because of stress at school, she is likely to crave the relaxing effect of alcohol after she drinks for the first time. With repeated use of alcohol, she will need more of it to feel the same calming effect. This will eventually take her down the path of addiction until she is admitted into a rehabilitation center, and undergoes detox and other therapies.Teenagers may abuse prescription drugsMany teenagers abuse prescription drugs. A popular example of this is stimulant drugs used to treat ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder). These drugs are known to increase focus, thereby enhancing academic performance. This unfortunate phenomenon is aided by the accessibility of such drugs – it is very common for patients of ADHD to sell their prescription medications to other students in their schools. Many rehabilitation centers also report that teenage addicts are aided in their addiction because of the widespread availability of drugs in the form of school supplies – many students sniff glue or whitener.Teenagers are more susceptible to mental illness than any other age category. If a teenager already suffers from a condition like depression or anxiety, a tryst with drugs or alcohol at a party could cause lead them down the path to addiction. Teenage brains are very different from adult brains from a biological perspective as well, which makes them more likely for them to abuse drugs or alcohol.Ignorance is main causeBullying is very common among teenagers, and there are many such stresses relating to school and friends that trigger emotional responses that drugs can help escape from. Disappointingly, the main cause of a drug addiction in teenagers is ignorance. They believe that marijuana is not addictive; they don’t know the effect of alcohol on the body – teenagers have a lot to learn, and proper education is essential in reducing the rate of teenage drug and alcohol addiction.Apart from offering recovery options – residential, outpatient and online – most good rehab wouldd conduct sensitization programs in schools all over the country. This is its attempt at preventing alcoholism and drug abuse among teenagers.

Reasons for Your Sugar Addiction

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Your sugar addiction might be psychological, and if that is the case, then it might be harder to overcome. Whenever you feel bored, lonely, depressed or nervous, you may get addicted to sugar. And when you try to avoid sugar during such an addiction, it might lead to temporary headaches, fatigue, lethargy, etc.Causes of Sugar Addiction: Sugar stimulates the production of dopamine and serotonin and these hormones make us feel happy and calm. You may develop a higher dependency on the effects of sugar with time: the more sugar you eat, the more it will comfort you. And then there comes a time when you can’t control your sugar cravings any more.Following are the reasons for your sugar cravings and solutions to overcome those:1] You might be consuming artificial sweeteners: When artificial sweeteners are consumed, the brain keeps on waiting for more sugar to enter the system; which causes a drop in blood sugar levels, triggering hunger and craving for more sugar. Artificial sweeteners are also know to rapidly stimulate the release of insulin and Leptin hormones, which are involved with satiety and fat storage, thus leading to weight gain.Solution: So, next time think twice before reaching for an artificial sweetener. Instead, eat the real thing but moderate the quantity. Instead of two teaspoons of sugar in your tea, try one.2] You might be feeling tired or bored: If you are bored or haven’t slept well, you crave for sugar for an immediate burst of energy, especially if it is easily accessible. It also provides a pleasurable distraction while you are waiting.Solution:Try to divert your mind by doing some household work or some other activity, or eat a fruit. Also, refrain from keeping sugar loaded processed foods at home.3] You might be feeling depressed: Sugar helps lift your mood. It gives you pleasure and makes you feel better when you are depressed, disappointed or angry.Solution: Instead of eating sugary foods, opt for a food high in fiber and good fats - fruit, nuts, chickpeas, etc.4] You might be bingeing on sugar: You might have a sweet tooth, because of which you can’t control your cravings for sugar. But sugar addiction may deteriorate your body and health.Solution: Instead of bingeing on sugar loaded foods, try eating sprouts, fruits, plain roasted chickpeas or peanuts. Or try to divert your attention to some other activity, to avoid cravings.5] You might be starving: Waiting too long between your meals or starving might lead to consumption of sugary foods for instant satisfaction.Solution: Don’t starve yourself. Have 3 major meals with mid-meal snacks. Having a healthy balanced diet with fixed meal and snack timings helps control sugar cravings.

Denial in Addiction - Why Its There and How to Manage

Ms. Raisa Luther, Psychotherapist
If you don’t have a problem, why would you accept a solution?Denial is part of the problem in addiction. The alcoholic or addict fails to see the prevalence and extent of his addiction, therefore resists or avoids treatment.Denial can be frustrating for those close to the addict.They can clearly see how he is messing up his life, but he or she doesn’t seem to accept the facts.Denial needs to be broken for recoveryIt is important that denial is broken, before any meaningful recovery can occur. Denial management is a science, very often it is an 'art.' Addiction counselling, unlike other types of counselling, involves talking to an individual who is not ready to accept the basic problem and will employ subtle means to divert or deflect the therapy.Sometimes, the addict may be openly defiant and pointedly dishonest. He or she will try every method under the sun to accept the reality.Understanding denial and its management are critical for initial treatment of alcoholism or drug addiction.Denial is humanDenial is part of human nature... It is a self-defense mechanism, helping us deal with significant pain. Denial makes us human. It helps us cope with pain. It may be triggered during particularly painful situations, such as loss of a loved one or end of a relationship. Individuals use denial to cope with ongoing stresses in life.An addict or alcoholic would like to minimize the pain associated with his addictive behavior – avoiding to feel the embarrassment, shame and guilt caused by his poor or unlucky choices. He or should would try and dissociate oneself from such situations by minimizing, blaming or justifying his or her role in the situations.An addict would not be comfortable with the labels – “addict”/ “alcoholic”/ “boozer”/ “junkie” and so on. Therefore he or she would try and project a non-addictive personality.The only way an addict can continue his or her use of substances is to rigorously apply denial. In the addict’s perception, use of alcohol and drugs is critical for continued well-being. Thus, an addict will employ a wide range of denial forms to hide and defend is addiction. He or she may absolutely any abuse of substances whatsoever. When this becomes difficult, he or she will minimize the severity of the problem; they will hide, lie about, cheat or cover up their addictive behavior. Soon they begin to actually believe their own lies and slip into strong denial.Admitting the problem is first step in recoveryTherefore, for an addict or alcoholic to just admit (and accept) that they might have a problem is a huge first step toward recovery.  But this is just the beginning of recovery.The only way that people suffering from substance abuse or alcohol problems can continue to actively use is through the rigorous application of denial, which is the true face of this condition. Everything about the disease of addiction is fraught with denial: addicts and alcoholics hide the existence of their problem, lie about the severity of it, steal, cheat and lie to cover it all up and lie to themselves about what the problem is really doing to their life. This is why admitting there is a significant problem and taking the first steps to get help is such a colossal achievement, but this is only the very beginning of denial management. Denial management is an ‘art’Addiction therapists employ a range of strategies for denial management. This may include individual counselling, group therapies and family interventions. The effectiveness of denial management is critical for ongoing addiction treatment and forms the basis for relapse prevention planning.False projections can be immensely stressful. Acceptance of one’s real situation is rewarded by huge relief of stress. It can be achieved with the help of skillful counselors who have learnt through to experience how to gently, yet effectively, penetrate the barriers of denial an addict builds around himself.At Hope Trust rehab (est. 2002), denial management has been fine tuned to an ‘art’. The strategies involve family education and interventions. Individual counselling helps the addict separate the denial from reality. The therapists are skilled and experienced in denial management. This is done in residential, outpatient or online settings. Once an addict or alcoholic accepts their problem, he or she is ready to take the solution!

What Indian Parents Should Know About Internet Addiction in Adolescents

Dr. Aditya Gupta, Psychiatrist
Internet use have been increased markedly not only in India but also worldwide in the last decade. In India, use of internet is enormous, especially in the young population.There have been growing concerns worldwide for what has been labeled as “internet addiction” which refers to pathological compulsive internet use.Symptoms of Internet Addiction/Warning SignsIncreasing preoccupation with, and investment of  resources (e.g., time,money, energy) on  Internet-related activitiesLoses track of time while online, Sacrifices needed hours of sleep to spend time onlineUnpleasant feelings (e.g., depression,anxiety, loneliness, emptiness) when not onlineNegative impact on work/school performance, Spends time online in place of homework or chores Problems develop in existing relationshipsDifficulty in forming new offline relationshipsPrefers to spend time online rather than with friends or familyBecomes agitated or angry when online time is interruptedBecomes irritable if not allowed access to the InternetLies about amount of time spent online or "sneaks" online when no one is aroundSeems preoccupied with getting back online when away from the computerLoses interest in activities that were enjoyable before he or she had online accessPsychological impactLike addiction to drugs and alcohol, the Internet offers children and adolescents a way to escape painful feelings or troubling situations. They sacrifice needed hours of sleep to spend time online and withdraw from family and friends to escape into a comfortable online world that they have created and shaped. Children who lack rewarding or nurturing relationships or who suffer from poor social and coping skills are at greater risk to developing inappropriate or excessive online habits. Because they feel alone, alienated, and have problems making new friends, they turn to invisible strangers in online chat rooms looking for the attention and companionship missing in their real lives. They may come from families with significant problems, and they cope with their problems by spending time online. The skill to develop face to face relationship is lost.Those addicted to Internet have high incidence of anxiety disorders and depression.What parents can doTechnology will continue to advance and is not going away, so we’d better learn to ride the wave. Parents should work with their child to establish clear boundaries for limited Internet usage.Allow perhaps an hour per night after homework, with a few extra weekend hours.Stick to your rules and remember that you’re not simply trying to control him/her - you are working to free them of a psychological dependence. It is important for every parent to learn the terms (both technical and popular) and be comfortable with the computer, at least enough to know what your child is doing online.They should also reassure their children that they are not criticizing him or hampering his privacy but are concerned with the consequences of pathological internet use.

Top 10 Myths About Addiction You Probably Believe

Ms. Raisa Luther, Psychotherapist
Think you know about addiction? Then these common myths may sound familiar:Myth 1: Drug addiction is voluntary behaviour.  You start out occasionally using alcohol or other drugs, and that is a voluntary decision. But as times passes, something happens, and you become a compulsive drug user. Why? Because over time, continued use of addictive drugs changes your brain - in dramatic, toxic ways at times, more subtly at others, but virtually always in ways that result in compulsive and even uncontrollable drug use.Myth 2: Drug addiction is a character flaw.  Drug addiction is a brain disease. Every type of drug - from alcohol to heroin - has its own mechanism for changing how the brain functions. But regardless of the addiction, the effects on the brain are similar, ranging from changes in the molecules and cells that make up the brain to mood and memory processes - even on motor skills such as walking and talking. The drug becomes the single most powerful motivator in your life.Myth 3: You can't force someone into treatment.  Treatment does not have to be voluntary. Those coerced into treatment by the family or the legal system can be just as successful as those who enter treatment voluntarily. Sometimes they do better, as they are more likely to remain in treatment longer and to complete the program. In 1999, over half of adolescents admitted into treatment in USA were directed to do so by the criminal justice system.Myth 4: Treatment for drug addiction should be a one-shot deal. Like many other illnesses, drug addiction typically is a chronic disorder. Some people can quit drug use "cold turkey," or they can stop after receiving treatment just one time at a rehabilitation facility. But most people who abuse drugs require longer-term treatment and, in many instances, repeated treatments.Myth 5: We should strive to find a "magic bullet" to treat all forms of drug abuse.  There is no "one size fits all" form of drug treatment, much less a magic bullet that suddenly will cure addiction. Different people have different drug abuse-related problems. And they respond very differently to similar forms of treatment, even when they're abusing the same drug. As a result, drug addicts need an array of treatments and services tailored to address their unique needs. Finding an approach that is personally effective can mean trying out several different doctors or treatment centres before a "match" is found between patient and program. The 12 - Step program has proved to be the most effective treatment (WHO); a 12 - Step rehab with competent protocols to address the individual needs of clients is obviously the best bet. Myth 6: People don't need treatment. They can stop using drugs if they really want to. It is extremely hard for people addicted to drugs to achieve and maintain long-term abstinence. Research shows that when long-term drug use actually changes a person's brain function, it causes them to crave the drug even more, making it increasingly difficult to quit without effective treatment. Intervening and stopping substance abuse early is important, as children become addicted to drugs much faster than adults and risk greater physical, mental and psychological harm.Myth 7: Treatment just doesn't work. Studies show drug treatment reduces drug use by 40 to 60 percent and can significantly decrease criminal activity during and after treatment. There is also evidence that drug addiction treatment reduces the risk of infectious disease, Hepatitis C and HIV infection - intravenous-drug users who enter and stay in treatment are up to six times less likely to become infected with HIV - and improves the prospects for getting and keeping a job up to 40 percent.Myth 8: No one voluntarily seeks treatment until they hit rock bottom.  There are many things that can motivate a person to enter and complete treatment before that happens. Pressure from family members and employers, as well as personal recognition that they have a problem, can be powerful motivators. For teens, parents and school administrators are often driving forces in getting them into treatment before situations become dire.Myth 9: People can successfully finish drug abuse treatment in a couple of weeks if they're truly motivated. For treatment to have an effect, research indicates a minimum of 90 days of treatment for outpatient drug-free programs, and 21 days for short-term inpatient programs. Follow-up supervision and support are essential. In all recovery programs, the best predictor of success is the length of treatment. Patients who are treated for at least a year are more than twice as likely to remain drug free, and a recent study showed adolescents who met or exceeded the minimum treatment time were over one and a half times more likely to stay away from drugs and alcohol.Myth 10: People who continue to abuse drugs after treatment are hopeless. Completing a treatment program is merely the first step in the struggle for recovery that can last a lifetime. Drug addiction is a chronic disorder; occasional relapses do not mean failure. Psychological stress from work or family problems, social cues - meeting some from the drug-using past - or the environment - encountering streets, objects or even smells associated with drug use - can easily trigger a relapse. Addicts are most vulnerable to drug use during the few months immediately following their release from treatment. Recovery is a long process and frequently requires multiple treatment attempts before complete and consistent sobriety can be achieved.

Addiction and Personality Problems

Ms. Raisa Luther, Psychotherapist
Addiction has many faces and is much more than just repetitive using of drugs. There are many aspects surrounding the addictive individual and one of those is personality. Personality problems are an often ignored and misunderstood aspect of addiction recovery. What are personality problems? They may be simply defined as a problem in the way one interacts with people. For people with a ‘maladaptive personality’ or a personality that is not able to adapt to the environment. For such people, willpower alone is not enough to change their basic personality.Addiction and personality disorderLet us compare chemical dependency and personality disorders. In chemical dependency, the causes usually vary from drug and alcohol use, changes in brain chemistry and function to heredity. However personality problems may be triggered off by stress, threatened or real losses, childhood issues, family imbalance, changes in brain chemistry and function and heredity too.We are surrounded by a variety of personality types- shy, balanced, extrovert and many more. Each personality type is characterized by a few traits. For example to shy personality may have traits of introversion, self-centredness, isolation. To an extent these are present in everyone. But when does a trait become ‘maladaptive’? When it leads to chronic distress with friends and/or family, work or in other areas of life. Some maladaptive personality traits are – maladaptive self- centredness, maladaptive anger management, over separation and over attachment, negative thinking (depressive thinking) and so on.The problem in personality problems lies in distorted thinking. Following are some examples of distorted thinking:Black or white thinking: Since you’re a recovering addict you can’t take any medication because all medications are drugs.Over generalizing: I made one mistake and now I can’t do anything rightCatastrophising: The doctor has called me and I probably have cancerJumping to conclusions: She didn’t look at me when I waved at her from across the street so she hates me.Personality in addiction treatmentHow do we deal with personality problems in the purview of addiction? In addiction counseling, therapists focus on helping the individuals identify and work through their feelings of shame. Using the AA slogan “silence is the enemy of recovery” one needs to reach out to others and talk about the shame.Counselling for personality problems often focuses on thoughts, feelings and interpersonal skills. The first step is to acknowledge that there is a personality problem. This is akin to breaking through denial in chemical dependency. Then self-centred thinking, shame reactions need to be changed along with evaluating a need for taking medication.Although change is slow and not always easy, it is a rewarding endeavor that will enhance the quality of your recovery. 

You Can't Hide Your Addiction!

Ms. Raisa Luther, Psychotherapist
Alcoholics and addicts think they are able to hide their addictive behavior from others. However, there are obvious signs that stand out. Over time, others can easily identify that the person has a problem with addiction. Those dependent upon drugs may think they are successfully hiding their habit from others, but obvious signs of standout addiction behavior will, over time point a very direct finger in your direction.Here are few signs exhibited by those who are regularly using alcohol or drugs that give the addict away:Mood swingsContinued use of substances such as alcohol and drugs affects your body and mind. When you are high you feel good. This is evident in your behavior. Under the influence, some alcoholics become overly talkative, while others become far more considerate towards their loved ones with over-the-top love and generosity.  On the other hand, if the addict is not high, he can become grumpy and display outbursts of anger over small issues. This happens when the alcoholic or addict is in ‘hangover’ stage and is in need of a ‘fix’.Such behavior will initially confuse those around you. They will wonder what they are doing to cause such changes in your attitude and the intensity of reaction you display to incidents that actually are insignificant.Soon this confusion turns to suspicion. This suspicion will be based on the fact that it is not their actions that are triggering such mood swings - it has something to do with you.Regular disappearancesAddicts and alcoholics tend to take very frequent ‘bathroom breaks?’ Regular and extended disappearances appear abnormal and evoke suspicion.Though the addict knows that such disappearances will eventually raise eyebrows and conjecture, he or she is unable to control the overpowering urge to feed his or her habit.Personal groomingFor addicts, personal grooming is not the priority. Getting and consuming alcohol and drugs tops the agenda, always. They wear whatever is readily available and personal hygiene is neglected.This is coupled with a gradual decline in general health. Typical signs are weight loss, extra-large or dilated pupils, unshaven, uncombed hair and a gaunt look. As this disheveled and unhealthy appearance becomes a norm, those around you will realize that there is something seriously wrong with you.Failure to meet expectationsAddicts fall back on deadlines, do not attend to work or attend to appointments – they either forget, are unwell or simply don’t care since their substance becomes all-important.While the addict is high, he may make tall promises to go there or do that, but for one reason ot the other, fails to live up to his commitments.Many a times, due to extreme mood swings, what appeared like a great idea when he is high doesn’t seem attractive any more when he is down. So he doesn’t have an intention of fulfilling his promises any more.Such behavior often leaves friends, colleagues and family members disappointed and saddened by broken promises and false hope.Stop fooling yourselfAddiction not only damages your physical and mental well-being, it also adversely affects your relationships. Substance abuse has a huge social cost.Your loved ones build disappointment, anger, resentments and fear in the relationship. Their trust is broken. They feel your behavior and reactions are unjust and, deep down, you know it too.Continued abuse of alcohol and drugs leads to rapid deterioration in relationships. The addict may end up shunned and alone. This, in turn, will lead to increased drug use and depression.Professional drug and rehabilitation services are widely available. They are not there to judge - they are there to help.It is vital you seek this assistance before it’s too late.Get honest with yourself. And reclaim your life!