Stages Of Addiction" 1st To Last

Stages of Addiction Few people take their first dose of a drug-- illegal or legal-- with the hope of getting addicted. Yet 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 rapidly addiction can take hold and with the amount consumed before passing the hidden line from freedom to enslavement.

While each distinct case may vary in time frame and ferocity of dependency, some patterns are common among the complete pool of substance abusers. Through the statements of addicted people and the professionals who treat them, researchers can uncover benchmarks for the stages of drug addiction.

Experimenting With Drugs

Experimentation can have manifold different motivations. For youths, peer pressure is a significant factor in taking their first drag, drink or snort. That being said, addiction need not begin in youth. A middle-aged or older individual may try out prescribed pain relievers to remedy continuous aches and discomfort. Even seniors might use drinking or substances to soothe isolation. These represent significant moments in a person's life when a substance is taken to force a bodily, social or emotional affliction a bit more bearable. Disconnected instances of use may or may not be followed up with increased repetition or quantities. Without a realistic self-assessment an honest appraisal of the signs of drug addiction an individual can move unknowingly into the more distressing stages of drug addiction.

Regular Use

Taking a drug or other substance regularly does not automatically lead a person into addiction. Some people can consume a drug regularly for a period and after that end its use with negligible distress. The probability of addiction is based upon the duration of the use period and the potency of the doses. Should the duration continue indefinitely and the potency of dosage also increase, regular usage could become drug addiction. Yet another cautionary signal is certain adjustments in conduct. If speech and behaviors change dramatically, especially an increased tendency toward aggressiveness and hazardous conduct, it is necessary to end taking the substance.

Dangerous Consumption

As the stages of drug addiction are traveled through, the person's personal choices and conduct become progressively unsafe, both to herself or himself and others. 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 a vehicle under the influence of illegal substances in 2009.

• Driving while under the influence of a depressant • Using cash foolishly to acquire the drug • Defensiveness in conversation • Concealing things • Changes in appearance. Changes in appetite, memory failure and deteriorating coordination are also indications of substance abuse. The line of demarcation dividing high-risk use and dependence is difficult and thin to differentiate. Finding aid for yourself or someone you care about should not be postponed at this phase.


Of all the stages of drug dependence, addiction and use are the most difficult to demarcate. The disastrous penalties of drug abuse are already observable in dependency. Through all of this, though, the dependent stands apart from the addict by meeting sufficient responsibilities to maintain the essential structure of his or her life. The direction of substance abuse stages remains headed downward, the semblance of functionality persists.


If adjustments are not made-- and help is not looked for-- the stages of drug addiction trigger the most harmful phase: addiction itself. With this the person is mentally and physically bonded to continual use of the drug or alcohol. The stage of brain disorders is arrived at and the victim undergoes numerous detrimental effects of long-term substance abuse. The heart and circulatory system might be imperiled, as can the respiratory tract. The immune system is weakened, allowing hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, and some forms of cancer to devestate the addict. Brain damage and mental deterioration can also occur. At this intensity, the sufferer pursuing liberty from addiction will need to submit to detoxification. Since the addiction is of both body and mind, withdrawal syndromes are most effectively overseen and treated by knowledgeable medical professionals. Once the addictive drug has exited the physical body, the substance abuser should collaborate with pyschologists to isolate the root causes and nature of the addiction. Honest and systematic treatment options with mental health professionals, combined with frequent attendance in a self-help group has helped many seemingly irreparable addicts to daily lives without drug abuse.

Without a candid self-assessment-- an trustworthy evaluation of the signs of substance addiction-- an individual can pass unwittingly into the more severe stages of drug addiction. Using a drug or other substance on a regular basis does not necessarily lead an individual into addiction. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health declared that 28.4 percent of young people between the ages of 21 and 25 operated a vehicle under the influence of illicit drugs in 2009. Of all the stages of drug addiction, dependence and use are the most challenging to separate. If changes are not made-- and aid is not looked for-- the stages of drug addiction draw a person to the most severe stage: addiction itself.

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