The First Stage of Addiction

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A recent study on substance abuse disorders or SUDs found out that more than 20 million adults in the USA are the victims of addiction. Most of them are between the age of 18-25. Another survey found out that each year the number of addicts in the age group of 12-17 have been steadily rising. This portrays a very grave picture for future generations as the epidemic of drug addiction seems to be growing & growing strong.

This article to educate readers about addiction & addictive behaviors. In this article, we will discuss how addiction develops in a person & bring about physical & psychological changes that further promote addictive behaviors & sets someone down the dark abyss of substance abuse & addiction.

The first stage of addiction is Initiation. People in the age group of 15-20 are the ones most at risk, because of their rebellious nature & mindset. According to a survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than 2.8 million youngsters above the age of 12 are proactively consuming drugs & most of them are already seriously addicted. Here are a few reasons why youngsters are more at risk.
Out of curiosity Availability of drugs and alcohol within the community Whether or not friends use drugs or alcohol Mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, or ADHD

Experimentation is the second stage of addiction. In this stage, a person becomes more confident about the entire idea of using drugs or alcohol for recreational purposes. They start to seek oy newer ways or opportunities to consume their substance of choice. Peer pressure also plays a vital role here. If you’re surrounded by other addicts & substance abusers, you’ll tend to develop addictive behaviors more quickly & in the early stages, it will make you more confident & proactive, which further hastens the onset of addictive behaviors.

The third stage is of regular use. In this stage, all inhibitions regarding alcohol & drug consumption go out the window. The only thing relevant now is regular, scheduled use. A pattern or a routine build-up which conflicts with the normal day to day chores or tasks. In this stage, the person in question is well on their way to developing serious addictive behaviors.

The fourth stage is that of incessant, risky consumption. In this stage, the user starts consuming their substance of choice with full disregard for their mental & physical health. This, in turn, starts creating problems in a developing addicts’ life & sometimes may even get them in trouble. It starts to affect their relationships & might even compromise their own safety.

The fifth stage of a developing addict is that of dependence. In this stage, an addict will start developing a strong dependency on their substance of choice. Psychological & physical dependence starts to set in. It will start influencing not only their behavior but also their productivity. Usually, with long-term alcohol or drug consumption, a person also starts developing a natural tolerance to their substance of choice.

The sixth stage of a developing addict is a substance use disorder. In this stage, an addict truly becomes an addict & cannot take upon regular day tasks & chores without consuming the substance of their choice, neither can they control the amount or frequency of their use. They might even be aware of all the negative effects of their behavior but are still unable to stop or even change. In this stage, an addict also starts lying to friends, family & acquaintances. They start avoiding normal situations & conversations & such negative behaviors only keep on deteriorating with time.