The Many Ways that People Hide Their Addictions

With the physical and psychological effects that typically accompany addiction, addictions are often pretty easy to identify. But they aren’t always; in fact, sometimes those who have developed addictions to drugs or alcohol have developed multiple methods for hiding their addictions, and these methods might be so effective that you don’t even suspect that there is an addiction present. This is why it’s important to know how people try to hide substance abuse. If you or someone you love is battling an addiction, contact the West Palm Beach treatment center today and get help. Here are some of the most common ways that addicts hide their addictions.

Out of focus woman with her hands signaling to stop isolated

“Pre-gaming” for social events

This is particularly common among those addicted to alcohol, who might find themselves involved in social drinking situations. These addicts will use before attending a party or social event in order to appear that they aren’t overdoing it while around other people.

Lying about whereabouts

Often a person with a drug or alcohol addiction will lie about whereabouts in order to disguise time spent drinking or using drugs. An addict might claim to be “working late” when he or she, in actuality, is alone at a bar or in the car using. “Working late” is a common excuse used among working professionals, whom people already expect to work late and maintain work as a high priority.

Hiding the physical evidence

Many addictions have some sort of physical evidence that goes along with them, and addicts tend to put extra effort into hiding this evidence. A person who is addicted to alcohol, for example, might drive an extended distance in order to dispose of empty bottles, or someone who is addicted to prescription drugs might hide medicine containers is various places around the house.

Toasting at party

Using friends and family members

As this article mentions, those with addictions whom you might not suspect of even having an addiction are likely being helped by enabling friends and family members. These friends and family members, while often trying to help out of love, will enable an addiction to continue by making excuses for the addict, lending money, providing shelter, etc. This enabling, in turn, makes the addiction much less obvious, as the addict will seem to have it all together. With or without meaning to, an addict is hiding an addiction by accepting the help of enabling friends and family members.

Succeeding in other areas

While an addiction might cause a person to fall short in work, home, or financial responsibilities, that person might focus on succeeding in a particular area in order to give the impression that he or she has it together. An addict might, for example, seek success at work and use that success to put off a normal persona.

Surrounding themselves with a similar culture

Someone with a drug or alcohol addiction might seek to become part of a culture where some of the addictive behaviors are considered normal. Someone who is addicted to alcohol, for example, might take up gambling and spend a great deal of time in a gambling environment since it is so often accompanied by drinking.

Prescription Bottle Tops

Confessing to a different addiction

An addict might confess to having a less serious problem in order to hide the real problem at hand. A person who is addicted to heroin, for example, might claim instead that he or she has been using marijuana. This method attempts to explain any apparent signs of the addiction while allowing the addiction to continue.


Then, of course, there are ways that those with addictions handle questions about suspected substance use and abuse. Denial takes on many forms. There is comparison, where an addict might say something like, “I’m not as bad as so-and-so.” There is rationalization, where the addict might say something like, “I can go for a week without drinking, so I don’t have a problem.” There is uniqueness, where the addict might claim to be in extenuating circumstances, such as having a particularly difficult month. There is distraction, where the addict might use humor or even threats to divert attention away from the addiction. And then there is minimizing, where the addict describes behaviors and habits in a better light than they should be cast in. There are only a few of the types of denial that an addict might use to draw attention away from an addiction.

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