Our everyday lives are filled with activities, such as cookouts, pool parties, and road trips with family or friends, and the last thing you may be keeping an eye out for are the stages of a drug or alcohol addiction. It is important that you become aware of the different stages of addiction so you can recognize a problem as soon as it starts to develop.
So what are the five stages of addiction that you should look for?
Experimentation – The first stage of drug and alcohol addiction is one of the most difficult to catch, especially if you or your loved one has only just tried drugs for the first time. It is hard to determine if this experimental use of addictive substances will turn into something deeper and more serious. If you have a loved one who is experimenting with drugs or alcohol, you should look for the reasons behind it, along with how much and how often they experiment with the substance.
Regular use – At this stage, the individual has already incorporated their substance abuse into their everyday lives. That means they use drugs/alcohol regularly. For some, this stage is difficult to recognize, especially if they are still functioning more or less normally. During this time, you can watch to see if their regular use is slowly becoming a problem.
Risky use – This stage is also difficult to determine, especially if you’re the only one who thinks that it is risky behavior, while others think not. However, if the individual is regularly using drugs or alcohol, you will notice some significant changes in their behavior that will likely alarm you. At this point, you should work toward discovering ways to help them get treatment for their risky use.
Dependence – In this stage, the individual grows dependent on their substance of choice, both with the body and the mind. At this time, the addict will show serious behavioral changes that are obvious and dangerous. During this period, it is the best if you help your loved one by providing them substance abuse treatment options that can help end their dependency.
Addiction – if your loved one continually abuses substances, this will lead to drug/alcohol addiction. When addiction finally develops, the only option for him/her is to seek help from addiction treatment professionals.
It is possible to spot symptoms of addiction development during each one of these stages, but you will only notice them if you’re keen enough. The most important symptoms to watch for are if your loved one is excessively experimenting with substances, uses substance on a daily basis, changes behavior, exhibits physical side effects that represent a growing dependency, and, of course, if they are unable to stop using the substance. Seeking for a treatment centers services can be the best choice if anyone feels that they can’t achieve recovery alone. Other services might also include therapies, support meetings and aftercare support.