Progression Of Abuse To Addiction

Stages of Addiction Few people take their first dose of a drug-- illegal or legal-- with the hope of getting addicted. For 2009, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that 23.5 million people sought some form of treatment for drug and alcohol problems. Of course, individual physiology and psychological makeup have much to do with how rapidly addiction can take hold and with the amount consumed prior to passing the invisible line from freedom to slavery.

While each distinct instance may differ in time frame and ferociousness of dependency, some patterns are standard within the complete pool of drug abusers. Out of the statements of addicted people and those who treat them, clinicians are able to identify benchmarks for the phases of substance addiction.

Experimenting With Drugs

Experimentation can have many different motivations. For youths, peer pressure is a top factor in partaking in their very first puff, drink or snort. Addiction need not begin in youth. A middle-aged or older individual might try prescribed pain relievers to manage persistent aches and discomfort. Even the elderly might use alcohol consumption or drugs to alleviate loneliness. These represent critical moments in life when a drug is taken to force a bodily, emotional or social ailment a bit more bearable. Disconnected occasions of use might or might not be continued with greater repetition or amounts. With no realistic self evaluation a truthful evaluation of the symptoms of drug addiction an individual might move unwittingly into the more acute stages of drug addiction.

Consistent Use

Using a drug or other people substance on a regular basis does not always lead a person into addiction. Some can take a substance steadily for a period and then discontinue its use with little or no discomfort. The probability of dependence is based upon the duration of the consumption and the strength of the dosages. Should the duration extend indefinitely and the potency of dosage increase likewise, routine usage might become drug addiction. Another cautionary signal is particular adjustments in tendencies. If speech and conduct adjustment dramatically, particularly an increased tendency toward aggression and unsafe conduct, it is necessary to stop taking the substance.

Dangerous Consumption

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While the stages of drug addiction are traveled through, the person's personal decisions and behavior become progressively hazardous, both to herself or himself and other people. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 28.4 percent of young people in between the ages of 21 and 25 drove under the influence of illicit substances in 2009.

• Driving a vehicle while under the influence of a depressant • Spending cash recklessly to acquire the substance • Defensiveness in verbal exchanges • Hiding things • Changes in look. Changes in appetite, memory failure and deteriorating coordination are also indications of substance abuse. The demarcation line in between unsafe use and dependence is difficult and thin to differentiate. Finding aid for oneself or another person you love should not be delayed at this phase.


Of all the stages of drug addiction, use and dependence are the most challenging to differentiate. The destructive penalties of substance abuse are already observable in addiction. For instance, the dependent individual is commonly absent from work as a result of repetitive use of the controlling compound. In addition to the employer, the substance abuser may occasionally allow obligations to family members, good friends, neighbors and society go by the wayside. The unsafe conducts mentioned above become more regular also. Through all of this, though, the dependent differs from the addict by meeting sufficient responsibilities to preserve the basic structure of their life. Though the trajectory of drug abuse phases remains headed downward, the appearance of functionality lingers.


If changes are not initiated-- and assistance is not looked for-- the stages of substance addiction lead to the most serious stage: addiction itself. Here the user is psychologically and physically bound to ongoing consumption of the drug or alcohol. The stage of brain disorders is reached and the sufferer undergoes a number of detrimental results of long-term substance abuse. The heart and circulatory process may be imperiled, as can the respiratory system. The immune system is weakened, allowing hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, and some types of cancer to ravage the addict. Brain damage and mental deterioration can also occur. Because the addiction is of both body and mind, withdrawal manifestations are best overseen and treated by qualified medical professionals. When the addicting drug has left the body, the drug abuser should work with mental health professionals to determine the origins and constitution of the addiction.

Without a sober self-assessment-- an honest assessment of the signs of substance addiction-- an individual can pass unknowingly into the more severe stages of drug addiction. Taking a drug or other substance on a routine basis does not necessarily entrap an individual into addiction. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health declared that 28.4 percent of young people in between the ages of 21 and 25 drove a vehicle under the influence of illegal drugs in 2009. Of all the stages of drug use, dependence and addiction are the most challenging to separate. If changes are not made-- and assistance is not looked for-- the stages of drug addiction draw a person to the most serious stage: addiction itself.

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