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12 Excuses Addicts Use To Cover Up Their Addiction

There are several ‘tactics’ that addicts and alcoholics will use when it comes to making an effort to hide their addictions. They will often use strategies such as rationalization, minimizing, justifying, intellectualizing, lying by omission, avoiding, and flat-out denying their addiction when confronted. Here are 12 excuses addicts use to cover up their addiction. These are quite common ones and range from typical reactions to being outright questioned about their drug use to common excuses used to explain away the side effects that result from their substance abuse.

#1. It was prescribed by my doctor

Just because a doctor prescribes you a medication doesn’t necessarily mean that you need it. First of all, you may have been less than honest about your symptoms in order to manipulate the good doc into giving you that prescription. Other times, it might be the doc who is not above board with his/her practice, that is, they might be irresponsible in their prescribing behaviors.

#2. I have chronic pain (so I need to take these meds)

Whether you actually do have chronic pain, due to a botched surgery or a chronic condition, or not – this is a common excuse to abuse painkillers. Even if you do have a real pain condition, painkillers are actually not the best treatment. There are so many alternatives for pain treatment out there that also improve your overall quality of life.

#3. I have ADD/ADHD 

Therefore I need to take Ritalin, Adderall, Vyvanse, or some other amphetamine in order to cope. First of all, it’s questionable that ADD/ADHD is even a real thing. Secondly, it’s more than possible to learn coping methods without the use of medications.

#4. I just need something to take the edge off

Or it might sound like this, “I just need a drink or (insert drug name) to unwind, relax, or deal.” They might follow it up with something like, “What’s the big deal? So-and-so does it and they don’t have a problem.”

#5. I’m just going through a hard time

The irony is that that “hard time,” such as a divorce, loss of job, or financial problems – is probably due in part if not completely to the substance abuse.

#6. It’s my depression/bipolar disorder, etc.

Someone who is addicted and abusing substances will no doubt be exhibiting signs of moodiness, irritability, depression, inappropriate elation, or be oddly energetic at times – all of which can be a tell-tale sign of addiction, and will probably try to cover up their mood swings by blaming it on their mood disorder.

#7. My friends and I are just partying

It’s just recreational use, or partying, no big deal. Yeah, well I was using that excuse for a long time until I realized that no one else I knew was using like I was using. I was definitely the addict of the group.

#8.I only use on the weekends

That’s what weekends are for, right? Even so, the addict who uses this excuse is probably minimizing their use; they’re probably using a lot and a lot more often than that.

#9. I only have one to two glasses of wine in the evening

Again, this sounds like typical minimizing.

#10. I’m under a lot of stress

When explaining away extreme weight-loss – an often common side effect to abusing certain substances like amphetamines, meth, opiates, even alcohol.

#11. I recently had some unexpected expenses, such as an unforeseen vet bill

To justify money troubles that commonly result from addiction and substance abuse.

#12. I’m on a new medication that’s causing some weird side effects

Drowsiness, changes in mood, irritability, as well as physical signs and symptoms: dilated/constricted pupils, changes in appetite (hardly eating), restlessness, jittery – depending on what substance is being abused, these can all be signs of addiction. An excuse addicts use to cover up their addiction is that their taking a new medicine – prescribed by their doctor, of course – and that’s why they’re acting weird.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.


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