The rising number in deaths due to addiction around the country is alarming and cause for taking a closer look at our friends and family who might be in danger. So many people think that it will never happen to someone like him or her, or someone they know and love, but the reality of the matter is that no one is safe from a disease like addiction. Sometimes, family members and friends of someone who was lost to addiction look back on the lost life and can’t identify where it all went wrong. Unfortunately, some addicts can hide their secret so well that not even their closest friends know something is wrong. Other times, the addict is in complete denial of their problem and attempts to assure loved ones that they have it under control. For these reasons, it’s important that people are able to pinpoint where things may be taking a turn for the worse.
Every journey down addiction road is different, but with that, many of the tell tale signs are the same. Nexus Recovery Services blog has identified 5 stages of addiction, and how realizing these stages while they’re happening can save a life in the long run.
The first stage of addiction is experimentation. This is a tough sign to identify because so many people drink alcohol or need to take prescription drugs for physical or mental pain. Some of the main reasons for experimentation are to “take the edge off”, to fit in, or to enhance performance in some cases. If your friend is taking prescription medications for a legitimate reason, it isn’t cause for a red flag. If however, they should be fully recovered and they’re still seeking new sorts of pain relief, this might be the beginning of an experimental problem. It’s also a bad sign when your friend or family member move up in the level of drugs they’re using; say marijuana to cocaine.
2. Regular use
The next stage of addiction as identified by Nexus Recovery Services blog post is regular use. If you and your buddies go out and drink every Saturday night, it’s not much cause for concern. If however he or she begins drinking alone in non-social situations, or makes alcohol or drug use a patterned habit, it could be a red flag.
3. Risky use
This stage of addiction is a sure sign of an underlying problem. Where the first two stages might be fuzzy on if you should step in or not, this stage is where intervention definitely needs to occur. When alcohol or drug use starts affecting the person’s everyday life, something is wrong. Some examples include putting others at risk by drinking and driving, causing a strain on their relationships, putting themselves in financial troubles to fund their habits or pay for wrongdoings while under the influence. Things are only going to get worse in the next stages of addiction.
Dependence happens right before there is a full-blown addiction. If the person starts to suffer from withdrawal symptoms when they’re not under the influence, their body is beginning to depend on the substance. This doesn’t yet mean that the person is addicted, but it is a symptom. They may also begin to build up a tolerance in this stage, meaning they need more to feel the same or might move onto a stronger substance altogether.
The last stage is full-blown addiction. Even if the person is experiencing harmful effects due to the substance, they’re still using it. The addiction becomes out of control when it’s compulsive and controls the addict’s life and relationships. It will be extremely difficult if not impossible for someone in this stage to recover from his or her addiction without the help of medical professionals.
If you feel that your might be traveling down the path of addiction, there is no shame in asking for help early. If you see your friend or family member entering these stages of addiction, it would be wise to contact a medical professional for advice and help.