The Blurred Line of the ‘Stereotypical Addict’

An Addict Can Be Difficult To Spot

When we think of an ‘addict’, the images of an individual holding a cardboard sign at an intersection or a person living under a highway bridge often comes to mind. While there are countless reasons as to why these individuals ended up in such a position, some of them may have an undiagnosed mental health issue or psychological disorder.

The stereotypical addict is no longer the face of those living under city bridges and begging for money on urban sidewalks; addicts can be lawyers, educators, and corporate c-level executives. With the advent and overprescription of strong and addictive pharmaceutical drugs, addicts have become the faces of everyday people who we interact with on a daily basis.

The Ruthless Cycle of Addiction

Addiction, whether to drugs or alcohol, is a disease that can affect anyone regardless of race, sex, genetics, or socioeconomic background. The reality is that you can no longer tell who is an addict simply by looking at them.

There is an increasing number of individuals who are addicted to prescription medications such as opioids and benzodiazepines. These drugs require a doctors prescription in order to obtain and are controlled substances in the United States. With an increase in stress levels among those who are in college as well as in the workforce, the desire for medications that mitigate the side effects and symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression, are in high demand.

One of the major issues plaguing the U.S. is the prescription drug epidemic which is affected all facets of the country. Those who have been issued a prescription for anxiety can become almost immediately ‘hooked’ on these drugs. Since these drugs release endorphins and boost serotonin levels in the body (‘feel good’ chemicals naturally found in the body), individuals become reliant on a steady dose of the drug in order to feel the high-level of happiness. When an individual does not receive the dose of the drug, the body is unable to naturally produce the same level that the body is able to produce while on the drug. This, in turn, creates a very vicious cycle.

Signs of Substance Abuse

While it can be hard to look at somebody and tell that they have a substance abuse issue, there are certain telltale symptoms that can hint at an addiction. Some of the common signs of an individual who may be struggling with a prescription drug problem are:

  • Poor memory/inability to remember things
  • Slurred speech
  • Dilated pupils
  • Forgetfull
  • Aggression and agitation
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Dozing off during work
  • Taking frequent unexplained breaks during the work day

If a colleague of yours is showing these signs on a regular basis, they may be struggling with a prescription substance abuse problem. For those who are struggling with a prescription drug abuse issue, treatment and help are available. The longer that an individual is addicted to drugs, the more serious their disease will become. As soon as their doctor no longer prescribes them the medication, they may turn to illicit drugs in an effort to obtain the same feeling experienced when they took doctor-ordered medications. This is a very dangerous slippery slope that may lead to full-on illicit drug addiction.


If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.