Last updated: 05/6/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Addiction can put a strain on every relationship in an individual’s life, especially a marriage. Sometimes, though, it can be hard to know for sure whether or not your spouse is truly addicted to a particular behavior or substance. Once you understand the common signs of addiction, you can determine whether or not you should seek help for your husband or wife.
What are the Signs of Addiction?
Someone who is addicted to drugs, alcohol, or another type of substance will not be able be able to stop taking the substance on their own. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the person will “keep using the drug even though it’s causing terrible family, health, or legal problems.” This type of inability to control actions, even in the face of serious consequences, also occurs in the case of behavioral addictions.
Some of the most common signs of addiction are listed below. If your spouse exhibits these signs often, there is a strong possibility that they may be an addict.
- Losing interest in the things that once made them happy
- Becoming extremely forgetful and/or apathetic when it comes to the other aspects of their life
- Being tired, depressed, or unhappy often
- Spending large amounts of time alone or exhibiting secretive behavior
- Exhibiting sudden or unprecedented episodes of violence
- Not caring about their physical appearance or failing to keep up their hygiene
- Becoming hostile whenever you try to talk to them about their behavior or substance use
- Having problems at school, work, or during interactions with others that stem from the behavior or substance use
Addiction vs. Problematic Behavior
For some people, it can be difficult to distinguish true addiction in their loved one from a behavior that they dislike or by which they are often frustrated. Health Direct defines addiction as “not having control over doing, taking or using something, to the point where it could be harmful.” This distinction can help determine the difference between true addiction and problematic behavior.
A person who likes to play video games every day may be obsessed with this activity and this could cause problems with their spouse. However, this is not considered addictive behavior. When a person enjoys playing video games so much that they do so all day, missing work or school often, and being unable to cut back even when loved ones ask, there is a stronger chance that they are experiencing a true addiction.
Is Your Spouse an Addict?
Ask yourself the questions below. If you answer yes to many of them, it may be time to seek help for your spouse.
- Does my spouse seem unable to stop or reduce their problematic behavior?
- Has their behavior caused multiple problems in our lives and in our marriage?
- Does my spouse constantly make excuses for their behavior?
- Does my spouse become very unhappy or show physical reactions when they are unable to engage in their behavior?
- Does my spouse depend on their substance use or another type of behavior to get them through the day.