Some addicts have developed a high degree of skill for hiding their addiction. They can be so good at it that even their spouse and children will not be aware of the problem. The deterioration caused by an addiction means that it is probably not possible to hide the evidence indefinitely but addicts are able to fool others for a long time. They can be so good at it that even when they admit to their substance abuse problems other people may find it hard to believe them.
Reasons for Hiding an Addiction
There are many reasons for why somebody would want to hide their addiction including:
* They already realize that they have a problem and do not wish other people to find out about it.
* They are worried that other people will nag them if they are public about how much they drink or use drugs.
* They wish to avoid the social stigma associated with substance abuse.
* They don’t want their employers to find out about the extent of their addiction because it could harm their career.
* Celebrities will hide their addiction because they want to protect their image.
* Employees who want to drink or use drugs during work time will need to hide this or they would lose their job.
* Fear of losing a spouse or partner may encourage the individual to take their substance abuse underground.
* The individual does not want their children to find out about the addiction.
* If they are addicting painkillers they may hide this out of fear that the physician may refuse to give them any more prescription.
How Addicts will Attempt to Hide Their Addiction
The addict will be willing to go to extreme lengths in the hope of hiding their addiction. This can including doing things such as:
* Driving half way across town to buy alcohol in a liquor store where they will not be recognized.
* Hiding empty alcohol bottles or medicine containers around the house or driving long distances to dispose of these empties.
* Adding water to spirit bottles to disguise how much has been consumed.
* The individual tries to blame other people for problems caused by their substance abuse.
* Hiding alcohol or medicine in places where they think nobody will find them. Some addicts will go the extreme of creating holes in their floorboards or walls so they can hide the evidence of their addiction.
* Hiding alcohol inside bottles labeled as soft drinks.
* Alcoholics will drink plenty before going to a party and smuggle in a hip flask. That way they will not have to drink too much in front of other people.
* They will tell lies about where they have been and what they have been up to.
* Always chewing mints after they drink to disguise the smell of alcohol.
* Those people who are addicted to pain killers may begin attending different doctors.
* Some individuals manage to hide their addiction by becoming successful in other areas of their life.
* The addict may admit to a less serious drug problem in order to hide their real addiction. For example, the heroin addict might admit to taking cannabis.
High Functioning Addict
The high functioning addict can be particularly skilled at hiding their addiction. These people have a well maintained addiction, and this means that the individual has managed to find a great deal of success in their life despite their substance abuse problems. Most people associate addiction with poverty and desperation so the high functioning addict can use their success as camouflage. If any concerns are raised about their drinking or drug taking they can point to all the good things that are happening in their life.
Despite their success the high functioning addict can be in grave peril. This is because they may end up hitting rock bottom particularly hard. The high functioning addict may feel that they have more to lose by admitting to their problems. This means that they will continue with it even though it is destroying their mental and physical health. The fact that they have hidden their problems by being successful may mean that they are under no pressure from other people to stop. The attitude may be that they deserve to let their hair down after all their hard work. Many high functioning addicts die young because they were so good at hiding their addiction.
Signs of a Hidden Addiction
Despite how good they can be at hiding an addition there will usually be clues that give the addict away including:
* They always smell strongly of mints. Of course there are also people who overindulge in mints but are not alcoholics.
* The individual seems unable to remember things they have said or done. This is because they have suffered a blackout due to intoxication.
* Alcohol or pill bottles are discovered in unexpected places in the home.
* The individual always seems to be short of money. This is because a drug or alcohol habit can be expensive to maintain.
* Often complains of feeling unwell in the mornings. This could be due to hangovers.
* Takes a great deal of time off work.
* There has been a noticeable deterioration in productivity at work.
* The individual seems to have lost interest in their personal appearance and hygiene standards.
* Valuables or money disappear from the home.
* The individual always seems to have a bottle in their hands. Even if this has a soft drink label it could still have alcohol inside.
* The person becomes highly defensive when there is any mention of their alcohol or drug intake.
* They are behaving in a secretive way or have been found out in lies.
* Their mood seems to be erratic with great highs and lows.
* There are times when the individual is overly talkative. Sometimes what they are saying doesn’t make much sense.
* They always seem making vague complaints about pain and offering explanations for continued use of pain killers.
* They appear inebriated after only a couple of drinks. This may be because they have been drinking beforehand.
* The sometimes exhibit signs of paranoia. This can be a side effect of certain drugs such as amphetamine.
* There are strange stains on their clothing. This may be as a result of inhalant abuse as some addicts will put the chemical on their clothing and inhale from there.
* Regular coughing fits for no apparent reason can also be a sign of inhalant abuse.
* Nasal problems may occur as a result of cocaine or inhalant abuse.
* They have lost interest in things they once enjoyed.
* They appear to be hallucinating.
* Pupils are dilated.