If you’ve known someone who has struggled with addiction, chances are you’re all too familiar with the fact that addicts manipulate. Manipulation accompanies the struggle, no ifs, ands, or buts.
Addicts are controlled by their desire to use — and abuse — their drug of choice. The intense physical and psychological need to use that drug typically outweighs any consequence or side-effect. That uncontrollable desire creates an overwhelming sense of desperation, leading the addict into behaviors that fall as immoral and unfathomable to those who have never struggled with addiction. For example, manipulating doctors into prescribing more drugs.
Why Do Addicts Manipulate?
While the reasons behind addict behaviors like manipulation are nuanced, these are a few big ones:
Desperation — The stop signals that a non-addicted person experiences before chemical overdose are replaced by a reward response in the addict’s brain. The addict becomes consumed by the desire for that reward. Desire becomes desperation and nothing else will matter besides getting their fix.
Reduced Rationality — Addiction actually changes the way a person’s brain works. Addicts develop a chemical dependance on their drug of choice that trumps any sense of rational behavior. Because of this neurological change and desperation to use, an addict won’t see manipulative behaviors as irrational.
Need for Control — An addict is controlled by their drug of choice. It’s common for an addict to feel powerless over the need to use. Oftentimes, an addict will try and compensate for that lack of control with a need to control other aspects of his or her life. That includes manipulating (and controlling) the people in their lives.
Each of these aspects can justify manipulative behavior in an addict’s mind. Pair them together and you’re left with an exponentially higher cause for manipulation.
Addicts will use certain manipulative tactics to accomplish their agenda. Generally, that agenda is a fix. These tactics include threatening to harm themselves, guilt-tripping, throwing angry fits, and isolating themselves.
Generally, it’s those closest to the addict that are at the receiving end of these manipulation tactics. However, if an addict has access to a psychiatrist, they may target the doctor with their tactics because of the close proximity to a drug prescription.
Typically, an addict’s main agenda is to get their hands on that next fix. Psychiatrists have the ability to prescribe drugs. See where we’re going here?
You may be thinking that any legitimate psychiatrist should be able to see these tactics for what they are and deduce an addict’s drive. But keep in mind the reasons behind the manipulation. As previously mentioned, addiction changes the chemical makeup in a person’s brain. Such neurological changes leave way for co-occurring disorders, including anxiety and depression. These disorders are actually means for a therapist or psychiatrist and perhaps even a prescription.
On top of that, a doctor may be qualified to treat mental disorders like anxiety and depression but may lack the skills, knowledge, or training to recognize, diagnose, and/or treat addiction. Compound that with the stigma and prejudice that surround addiction and the path to doctor manipulation becomes increasingly clearer.
Manipulative behavior, whether towards doctors or loved ones, is but one problematic pattern that is tackled in treatment. If you or a loved one is seeking help for a substance abuse problem, our addiction counselors are available 24/7 by phone: 833.433.0448