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Typical Addict Behavior in Relationships

picture of Joe Gilmore
Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

June 20, 2024 (Originally Published)

June 20, 2024 (Last Updated)

Table of Contents

Understanding typical addict behavior in relationships can help you recognize if someone you care about is struggling with addiction. These behaviors can harm relationships and make it hard for loved ones to provide support.

Read on to learn how to spot signs of addiction and find out how to connect with effective and compassionate treatment.

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10 Common Signs of Addiction in a Relationship

All addictions are unique, but there are many common signs to look out for if you suspect your partner is abusing drink or drugs.

1) Secrecy

They hide their drinking or drug use and make excuses to be alone or away from home. They might be secretive about where they are and what they’re doing.

2) Lying

They often lie about the scope of substance abuse. They may deny using drugs or alcohol even when it’s obvious.

3) Mood swings

Their mood can change quickly and unpredictably, especially when they haven’t had access to substances. They might go from happy to angry very fast.

4) Neglecting duties

They ignore their duties at home, work, or school. This can include missing important deadlines, not doing household chores, or skipping family events.

5) Financial problems

They often ask for money or have unexplained expenses. They might spend large amounts on substances, leading to unpaid bills or frequently borrowing money.

6) Isolation

They withdraw from family and friends, spending more time alone or with new friends who also use substances. This leads to fewer social activities and less engagement with loved ones.

7) Health issues

They have frequent health problems like headaches, nausea, weight loss, or lack of energy. These issues are often linked to substance use and can get worse over time.

8) Loss of interest

They lose interest in activities and hobbies they once enjoyed. This can affect their work, social interactions, and personal interests.

9) Irritability

They become easily irritated or angry, especially when they can’t use substances or when asked about their behavior. This can lead to frequent arguments and conflicts.

10) Change in appearance

They may neglect their hygiene and appearance, looking unkempt or tired. Changes might include poor grooming, weight loss or gain, and a general lack of self-care.

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How Does Addiction Impact Relationships?

Addiction can impact relationships in many ways, including:

  • Trust issues: Addiction often leads to broken promises and lies. This makes it hard for partners to trust each other and creates ongoing suspicion and doubt.
  • Communication breakdown: People with addiction may avoid important conversations. This leads to misunderstandings and frustration because talking is key to resolving conflicts and maintaining a healthy relationship.
  • Emotional distance: Addiction can create an emotional gap between partners, causing feelings of loneliness. The addicted person may become emotionally unavailable, leaving their partner feeling unsupported and disconnected.
  • Frequent arguments: Addiction increases tension and stress, leading to more frequent and intense arguments. This can strain the relationship and create a hostile home environment.
  • Financial strain: Spending money on substances can cause severe problems for the entire family. This strain leads to more stress and frequent arguments about money and budgeting.
  • Neglect: The addicted person may neglect their partner’s emotional and physical needs. This leads to feelings of abandonment and resentment, harming the relationship.
  • Health risks: Substance use can lead to risky behaviors, putting both partners’ health in danger. This includes exposure to diseases, accidents, and mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
  • Family stress: Addiction creates a stressful home environment, affecting everyone, including children. This stress can cause emotional and behavioral problems in family members.
  • Codependency: Partners might develop an unhealthy dependence on each other. One person may enable the addiction while the other relies on the addicted person for their sense of worth, preventing both from seeking help.
  • Breakdown of intimacy: Addiction can reduce both emotional and physical closeness. The addicted person may be less interested in maintaining a close relationship, leading to feelings of rejection and loneliness in their partner.

How Do I Get Help an Addicted Loved One?

Helping a loved one who is struggling with addiction can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to support them:

  • Learn about addiction: Understanding what addiction is and how it affects a person can help you better support your loved one. Read books, visit websites, and talk to professionals to learn more.
  • Talk to them: Have an honest and caring conversation with your loved one about their addiction. Let them know you’re worried and that you want to help. Be supportive and avoid blaming or judging them.
  • Encourage treatment: Suggest that they seek professional help. Offer to help them find a treatment center or counselor. Let them know that addiction is a medical condition, and that treatment can help them get better.
  • Set boundaries: Set clear boundaries to protect your well-being. Tell your loved one what behaviors are unacceptable and stick to your limits.
  • Offer support: Support them through their recovery process. This can include going with them to appointments, helping them with daily tasks, and being there to listen when they need to talk.
  • Take care of yourself: Supporting someone with an addiction can be stressful. Make sure you also take care of your own mental and physical health. Seek support from friends, family, or a counselor if needed.
  • Join support groups: Joining a support group for families of people with addiction can provide you with advice and emotional support from others who understand what you’re going through.

Helping a loved one with addiction is not easy, but your support can make a big difference in their recovery journey.

Call our dedicated team of recovery experts for help getting your loved one into rehab at 866.330.9449.

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Get Addiction Treatment for Your Loved One at Renaissance Recovery

Do you need help for a partner with addiction? If so, we offer rehab covered by health insurance at Renaissance Recovery in California and Florida.

If your loved one needs help detoxing from alcohol, drugs, or prescription drugs, we can connect them with detox centers nearby. After detox, they can move into an ongoing treatment program at one of our rehabs by the beach. Outpatient treatment allows your partner to continue their daily commitments while attending weekday therapy sessions.

All addictions are unique, so all treatment programs at Renaissance offer personalized treatments, such as:

Begin your recovery journey today by calling our friendly team at 866.330.9449.



At Renaissance Recovery our goal is to provide evidence-based treatment to as many individuals as possible. Give us a call today to verify your insurance coverage or to learn more about paying for addiction treatment.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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