Steps Of Abuse To Addiction: 1st To Last - An Overview

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 ingested before passing the unseen line from freedom to enslavement.

While each particular instance may vary in time frame and ferocity of dependency, some patterns are standard within the complete pool of drug abusers. Through the testimonies of addicts and the professionals who care for them, clinicians are able to uncover benchmarks for the stages of drug addiction.

Experimenting With Drugs

Addiction does not have to begin in youth. Even seniors might take alcohol or substances to soothe isolation. Without a honest self evaluation-- a candid assessment of the symptoms of drug addiction-- an individual may pass unknowingly into the more severe stages of drug addiction.

Regular Use

Using a drug or other substance regularly does not always lead a person into addiction. Some people can take a drug continuously for a period and after that discontinue its use with little or no distress. The likelihood of dependence is based upon the duration of the consumption and the potency of the dosages. Should the time-span extend indefinitely and the potency of dosage also increase, routine use could develop into drug addiction. An additional cautionary sign is particular changes in conduct. If speech and behaviors adjustment substantially, especially a raised propensity toward aggressiveness and unsafe behavior, it is necessary to cease taking the drug.

Hazardous Usage

While the stages of drug addiction are passed through, the individual's personal decisions and behavior get progressively hazardous, both to himself or herself 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 operated a vehicle under the influence of illegal substances in 2009.

• Driving a vehicle while under the influence of a sedative • Using cash irresponsibly to obtain the substance • Defensive during verbal exchanges • Concealing things • Changes in appearance. Changes in desire for food, memory failure and degrading fine motor skills are also signs of drug abuse. The line of demarcation seperating hazardous consumption and dependence is difficult and thin to differentiate. Securing help for yourself or a person you care about should not be delayed at this phase.


Of all the stages of drug dependence, addiction and use are the toughest to differentiate. The devastating consequences of substance abuse are already observable in addiction. Through all of this, though, the dependent differs from the addict by satisfying sufficient responsibilities to maintain the fundamental framework of his/her life. The trajectory of substance abuse stages is still headed downward, the semblance of normalcy lingers.


If adjustments are not initiated-- and aid is not sought-- the stages of drug addiction lead to the most grievous phase: addiction itself. Now the individual is psychologically and physically bound to continual use of the substance or alcohol. The point of brain disorder is reached and the victim is susceptible to several harmful consequences of prolonged substance abuse. Given that the addiction is of both body and mind, withdrawal signs and symptoms are best managed and addressed by seasoned doctors. When the addicting drug has left the body, the drug abuser should work with pyschologists to determine the root causes and character of the addiction.

Without a candid self-assessment-- an sincere assessment of the signs of drug addiction-- an individual could pass unknowingly into the more severe stages of drug addiction. Taking a drug or other chemical substance on a consistent basis does not automatically lead an individual into addiction. 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 a vehicle under the influence of illegal drugs in 2009. Of all the stages of drug dependence, use and addiction are the toughest to separate. If changes are not made-- and aid is not secured-- the stages of drug addiction lead to the most harmful stage: addiction itself.

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