Steps Of Abuse To Addiction: Beginning To End

Stages of Addiction Few people take their first dose of a drug-- legal or illegal-- with the hope of getting addicted. For 2009, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration declares 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 swiftly addiction can take hold and with the quantity consumed before crossing the unseen line from freedom to enslavement.

While each distinct case may be different in time frame and ferociousness of dependency, some patterns are standard among the entire pool of drug abusers. Through the statements of addicted people and the professionals who treat them, clinicians are able to uncover benchmarks for the stages of drug addiction.

Experimenting With Drugs

Addiction need not begin in youth. Even seniors might use alcohol or substances to soothe being lonely. Without a honest self evaluation-- a truthful evaluation of the symptoms of drug addiction-- an individual can pass unknowingly into the more distressing stages of drug addiction.

Regular Consumption

Using a drug or other people substance on a regular basis does not necessarily lead a person into addiction. Some can take a drug regularly for a time span and then terminate its use with little or no distress. The probability of dependence is based on the duration of the consumption and the strength of the dosages. Should the timeframe extend indefinitely and the strength of dosage increase likewise, routine use might become substance addiction. Yet another warning signal is certain changes in conduct. If speech and conduct change significantly, especially an increased propensity toward aggressiveness and high-risk conduct, it is necessary to end using the substance.

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Hazardous Use

As the stages of drug addiction are passed through, the individual's personal decisions and tendencies get progressively more risky, both to himself or herself and other people. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 28.4 percent of young adults 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 sedative • Spending cash foolishly to obtain the substance • Defensive during conversation • Hiding things • Adjustments in appearance. Adjustments in desire for food, memory failure and degrading fine motor skills are also indicators of drug abuse. The line of demarcation seperating hazardous consumption and dependence is difficult and thin to differentiate. Finding aid for oneself or someone you love should not be put off at this stage.


Of all the stages of drug addiction, dependence and use are the most challenging to differentiate. The destructive repercussions of drug abuse are definitely apparent in addiction. The dependent individual is regularly absent from work because of repeated usage of the controlling drug. Beyond the employer, the substance abuser will occasionally let obligations to family members, friends, neighbors and society go by the wayside. The high-risk behaviors mentioned above become a lot more regular also. Through it all, though, the dependent differs from the addict by satisfying enough responsibilities to preserve the essential framework of their life. The direction of drug abuse stages is still headed downward, the semblance of functionality lingers.


If changes are not made-- and help is not looked for-- the stages of drug addiction result in the most dangerous stage: addiction itself. Now the individual is psychologically and physically bound to ongoing consumption of the drug or alcohol. The point of brain disorders is reached and the patient goes through many detrimental results of prolonged substance abuse. The cardiovascular system and blood circulation process might be endangered, as can the respiratory system. The immune system is weakened, permitting hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, and several types of cancer to devestate the addict. Brain damage and dementia can also take place. At this depth, the person pursuing liberty from addiction should go through detoxification. Because the addiction is of both mind and body, withdrawal syndromes are best managed and treated by knowledgeable doctors. After the addictive substance has left the physical body, the substance abuser should collaborate with psychotherapists to determine the origins and nature of the addiction. Honest and systematic treatment options with mental health professionals, coupled with regular attendance in a self-help group has helped numerous ostensibly irreparable addicts to lives devoid of drug abuse.

Without a sober self-assessment-- an sincere analysis of the signs of drug addiction-- an individual can pass unknowingly into the more acute stages of drug addiction. Using a drug or other substance on a consistent basis does not always lead an individual into addiction. 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 illegal drugs in 2009. Of all the stages of drug addiction, use and dependence are the most difficult to differentiate. If adjustments are not made-- and assistance is not gotten-- the stages of drug addiction lead to the most harmful stage: addiction itself.

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