Sometimes, there just isn’t that self-awareness that’s needed. But what exactly does that even mean? Well, you know how you can easily pick up on changes in other people, such as weight gain, weight loss, or getting unhealthy, such as noticing them falling more and more into an addiction? Well, it’s like that, really. It’s easy to spot this in others, these changes, and since they’re so gradual for yourself, it’s hard to actually see this within yourself.

But that’s the thing, though: addiction can creep into your life in subtle ways, often without you realizing it. You can be stuck in a rut due to work, and you’re so focused on so many other things within your life that your addiction slowly gets bigger, and you’re slowly relying more on it. Basically, it starts as an occasional indulgence and can gradually become a habit that takes control of your thoughts and actions.

This is why you need to be aware, and this is exactly why you need to start recognizing the early signs of addiction. It is crucial to take proactive steps to address it before it spirals out of control. Understanding these signs can help you or a loved one seek the necessary support and make positive changes. But what are the less obvious signs that you might be developing an addiction? Well, here’s what you need to know.

Increasing Preoccupation with the Substance or Behavior

This is actually one of the first signs of addiction. You might find yourself thinking about it more often, planning your day around it, or looking forward to it excessively. This preoccupation can start to dominate your thoughts, making it difficult to focus on other aspects of your life. So, is this something that rings a bell at all? Well, if you notice that your mind frequently drifts to thoughts of when you’ll next indulge, it’s a signal that your relationship with the substance or activity is becoming unhealthy.

You’re Neglecting Responsibilities and Hobbies

Sometimes, life just gets in the way and you’re having to neglect things you need to do or love to do, work is a great example. But what if it’s something that’s often seen as an indulgence? Well, the thing is, as addiction takes hold, it often causes you to neglect responsibilities and activities that once mattered to you.

You might find yourself skipping work, neglecting household chores, or missing important events because you’re preoccupied with your addiction. There’s even the potential for hobbies and interests that used to bring you joy may start to lose their appeal. Is this happening in your life right now? Because this alone is such a major red flag!

You Keep Justifying It

Are you making excuses for yourself and this bad behavior? You might tell yourself that you deserve it after a hard day, that it’s not as bad as other people’s habits, or that you can stop anytime you want. This self-justification is a defense mechanism to avoid facing the reality of your addiction. This rationalizing of it is only going to get bigger and bigger, and it’ll get to the point where it’s going to be so hard to escape it’s going to feel impossible.

This is exactly why you need to do what you want: to get ahold of your right now and make changes for yourself right now! Depending on how far deep you are, it might be best to look into a luxury rehab that offers therapy for this because it’s not just a detox that needs to happen, but you need to rewire your brain to get yourself to know and remember that what you’re doing is not okay. You can’t justify unhealthy habits; the more you do, the worse it will get.

Your Mood is Changing More

You might become more irritable, anxious, or depressed. Were you like this prior to your addiction? You may find yourself lying to loved ones or behaving in ways that are out of character. This is something that’s really common, too.

Yes, by all means, these changes can strain relationships and create a cycle of negative emotions that perpetuate your addiction. So basically, you’re hurting yourself, and you’re hurting others, and this will lead you to hurt yourself more, therefore, in a more negative mood. It’s like this spiral, and it’s only going to get worse to the point you’re at rock bottom.

Changes in Your Social Circle

Now, this can usually be a pretty big clue, sometimes people will just outright tell you, sometimes you need to just see this for yourself.  You may start to spend more time with people who share your interest in the substance or behavior and less time with friends and family who don’t. Is this happening to you?

Do these people feel the same way and seem dependent on it, too? Now, there’s a difference between having friends who like to go out once a week to get a drink versus folks who go out every night. It’s the same for hobby groups and clubs; it’s about seeing who’s full-on dependent on said substance or activity.