Addiction is a prevalent problem worldwide, affecting all countries, large and small. It is an issue that affects all classes, genders, and ethnicities. Studies show that over 2% of the entire world’s population has an illicit drug or alcohol addiction. The US ranks among the top 10 countries affected by drugs and alcoholism, with about 20 million individuals experiencing substance abuse disorder. Such high stats for drug abuse lead to the question, why do people do it? This question is not easy to answer as the causes of addiction vary from individual to individual.
Drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs are designed to help individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD) to gain control over their drinking and abstinence from alcohol. These programs typically include individual and/or group sessions, medication-assisted treatment, education, and relapse prevention strategies.
Some people start drug abuse due to familial negligence; others do it for fun, while some try it as a coping mechanism for their loss. Moreover, some are involuntary addicts who started taking prescription opioids to manage their pain but became addicted. In such situations, where the cause of addiction may or may not be known, we need to be supportive and compassionate towards our loved ones who have fallen into this habit. To do that, we must be vigilant enough to identify when our friends start showing signs of addiction. Once we identify these signs, we can get them the help they need from professional facilities and rehabs, like the Delphi Health Group. Rehabs like these play a vital role in helping addicts recover and return towards a healthy life. However, anyone doesn’t just become an addict. There are some stages which a person may normally go through until they become an addict who needs professional help.
Now, let’s see some stages of addiction that we should be aware of to help identify if a loved one might be on the road to becoming an addict.
1. Initiation of Drug Use
As the name suggests, the first stage is the initiation of using any drug or substance. It is the first time someone tries a drug. Although there is no age of addiction, most people try their first drug, alcohol, or any other substance before 18. If they continue using the substance, they will develop a disorder by 20.
Teenagers might get access to illicit drugs and other substances at different social gatherings. Moreover, some youngsters also try out drugs for fun or due to peer pressure. If drugs are readily available at home, school, or work, their chances of developing a SUD are high. Besides, a family history of drug abuse and mental health problems worsens the situation tenfold.
2. Experimentation with Drugs
Most teenagers who initiate using any substance are most likely to experiment with it or other drugs again. It becomes easier if drugs are readily available at home or school. While most parents may overlook the initiation stage, they can detect the experimentation stage. Teenagers who don’t have access to drugs will try getting their hands on them one way or another. So, if your child is asking for odd amounts of money frequently, you may want to ask them some questions. In most cases, they will deny it, so you must be extra attentive towards their activities, people they meet, places they go, etc.
3. Frequent Drug Use
The third stage of addiction is when an individual starts using a drug regularly. This stage comes after experimenting with different substances and once they have selected their poison. At this stage, they will frequently use the substance, but it still isn’t a disorder at this point.
This stage is different from having a drink or two at a friend’s party. Most addicts consume an unhealthy amount of alcohol or drugs in this stage. However, frequent drug or substance use is relatively common among adults, who may or may not progress to a more serious stage.
4. Drug Abuse
When drinks and drugs are no longer a source of recreation for an individual, that’s when they have reached the stage of substance abuse. Their sole focus is on the drug of their choice, and nothing else matters to them. They will not perform well in their responsibilities, and their relationships will suffer. Moreover, some also start stealing at this stage to fulfill their needs for drug consumption. Since they start over-consumption of drugs or alcohol, it starts losing its effect on them. So, they start increasing the amount of the drug, which can be fatal.
5. Drug Dependence
This stage is the one that brings withdrawal symptoms. When individuals become dependent on a drug to function, their bodies adapt to that. So, when they are not getting the drug in the right amount, their bodies start reacting. It affects their productivity, mental health, and overall life quality. Most drug-dependent people lose their jobs, fail in their marriages, and even go to jail for crimes and misdemeanors.
6. Substance Use Disorders (SUDs)
In the last stage of addiction, the individual develops a substance use disorder. It is a mental disorder affecting the addict’s brain and behavior. Due to this disorder, the addict loses control over their actions and continues using drugs to the point of overdosing. This is when professional help is essential for their survival.
Breaking the Cycle
No matter how far your loved ones have gone down the path of addiction, you can always bring them back. All it needs is patience, compassion, and professional guidance. You can consult a professional, well-reputed facility to aid in their recovery and bring your loved ones back to life.