6 Effects of Drug Abuse on Behavior

Addiction commonly creates change in the person who is suffering, and often, this change is noticeable in their behavior. These 6 common effects of drug abuse on behavior may indicate an addiction.

While the story of each addict will be different, there are a few traits that seem to – in some form or another – follow those suffering from addiction.

And, sadly, they are not necessarily good traits or signs. Nonetheless, road to recovery can be very frustrating, hurtful, and damaging thanks to the power of these abused substances.


Common Behavioral Effects of Drug Abuse 

It is important to remember that the behaviors expressed are not always present. They show up, however, in the midst of addiction and seem to rear their ugly heads to those individuals closest to those suffering, such as a parent, a spouse, a child, or best friend.

They may think they are hiding their drug abuse rather well. You may be wondering why in the world they are behaving so oddly. And, its all the result of addiction.

These are the most common effects of drug abuse on a person’s behavior.


1. Manipulation

The act of manipulation can be deceitful and damaging. Those who love this person want to help. They want to do what they can to help the situation.

However, the person suffering feels the powerful pull of the drug and is not ready – for one reason or another – to let it go.

They  will assure their loved ones that it’s ok and that everything is under control. They will work to minimize the problem, making the loved ones feel as though perhaps they are over-reacting. It’s an extremely common trait.


2. Often Places Blame on Others

Not wanting to own up to his or her actions, a person suffering from alcohol or drug abuse will frequently blame others. If confronted for having possession of a drug or paraphernalia, they will often deny it – saying that it belongs to someone else.

Similarly, these effects of drug abuse are seen in other aspects of life as well.

  • If they get into a confrontation at a grocery store, he or she will say the other person started it.
  • If they are removed from a movie theater for being disruptive, he or she will often say it was a result of the theatre or someone in it.

Whatever the situation is, those suffering from drug abuse typically do not take ownership of it in the beginning. It will likely always be someone else’s fault.


3. Lying

As comes with manipulation and blaming others, we have lying. Nobody wants everyone to always know about their business, and this is especially true for those suffering from drug abuse.

The less you know, the less they will have to be confronted about their addiction. Lying, then, becomes like second-nature. These effects of drug abuse could be the result of:

  • Self-disappointment
  • Anger
  • Shame
  • To avoid getting in trouble, and more

A person suffering may lie about the drug use, about where he or she is going, doing, and so forth. It is much easier to tell loved ones the things they want to hear rather than know the truth. Otherwise, thy know he or she will face confrontation, intervention attempts, pleas, and other such things. This leads to an all-around uncomfortable situation.


4. Aggressive and Intimidating Behaviors

Effects of drug abuse can can lead to a person perceiving things differently. Over time, loved ones and those showing care and concern can be perceived as malicious.

They are attempting to get their loved one help, yet the person suffering from abuse feels as though a force is being built up against him or her.

Until the person suffering can come to terms on their own, this plan of help is only going to cause the abuser to put up walls, fences, and guards. The aggressive and intimidating behaviors that come with it are similar to a mechanism of defense. And they will cause the individual to react when he or she feels as threatened.


5. Behavior Including Criminal Activity

Since an individual suffering from addiction  is being compelled to use by the force of the drug, it’s common for them to do what they can to get it. Including acts that may be criminal.

Individuals who have never been in trouble before may easily find themselves arrested for breaking and entering a conveyance – all thanks to the grip the drug has.

While any sort of criminal activity may appear due to the change in judgment, the following effects of drug abuse are most commonly seen:

  • Stealing
  • Loitering
  • Possession of a substance and/or paraphilia
  • Forging prescriptions
  • Driving while under the influence


6. Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is another type of common addiction behavior that rears its head often. It may come on strong rather quickly, too.

For example, those closest to an addict will try to persuade one to get help for the addiction. Those who do usually find one of two reactions. Anger and aggression may appear. But, another potential is more emotional. This may be used to make one question whether what they are seeing with the abuser is truly happening.

Guilt is another common emotional abuse tactic. When it comes to the case of an abuser, this would be, for instance, a time when one may hear:

How dare you even say you think I have a problem. Or, I am just stressed out because (names list of problems) so I am a little out of it – and you are going to go around spreading rumors that I am an addict?



Addiction changes the brain. And, since the brain is what tells us how to act and react to life’s situations when it is altered, we are going to respond differently

. The well-put-together, responsible, innocent person you may have once been is no longer the case when struggling with an addiction. Instead, you will notice effects of drug abuse on your behaviors.

These may include engaging in

  • Emotional abuse
  • Aggression
  • Blame
  • Lying
  • Manipulation

You may even find yourself in trouble for some criminal wrongdoing.

However, it’s never too late to change these behaviors. Whether you are suffering from drug abuse, or you love someone who is, being aware of these behavioral changes can make approaching addiction recovery a bit easier.  


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