Before something turns into an addiction, it starts with something small. What started as a casual use of cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol can turn into dependence without you realizing it. You might be thinking, “what are the stages of substance abuse?” We will be discussing it one by one for you to know what to look out for. This can help not only you but your friends and family, too.
5 Stages of Substance Abuse
There are a lot of factors such as peer pressure and curiosity that can kick start alcohol or drug use. Other people begin to use drugs legally through a doctor’s prescription. The experimentation stage of substance abuse can begin anytime. Older people get tangled in substance abuse due to a variety of reasons such as losing a loved one or failing in their careers. Sometimes, it feels like their only escape is through alcohol or drug use.
If you suspect someone of experimenting, you should ask them their reasons for doing so, and how often they do it. From there, you can assess if there’s a possibility of it turning into something more pressing.
2. Regular Use
People get accustomed to substance use, but some of them are in denial that they are. The second stage of substance abuse is regular use. This doesn’t mean that they do it every day. However, they acquire a seemingly obvious pattern like doing it on specific days or when they feel anxious, stressed, or lonely.
Eventually, you will also notice that they have included their vice in their daily routine. They can’t seem to go on with their day without a puff of a cigarette or a shot of alcohol. You will also notice subtle changes in their behavior as their substance use becomes more frequent.
3. Risky Use
In this stage of substance abuse, you will notice a drastic change in a person’s overall state. They tend to put their lives and others at risk by driving while drunk or high. They may also have trouble accomplishing their duties and responsibilities at work. Others will also have a difficult time in school, sacrificing their grades in the process.
There will also be an obvious change in their relationships with other people. They may also undergo physical changes from substance abuse, although this may be different for each person. These physical changes may include a puffy face, bloodshot eyes, and a strange change in their skin color. If this causes you to worry, you can encourage them to get treatment before it spirals to addiction.
When someone becomes dependent on a substance, it seems like they cannot get enough of it. Even if they are fully aware of its drastic effects, this is when they cannot stop themselves. They tend to consume more at this stage of substance abuse because their mind and body have already developed a tolerance.
This is when physical changes from substance abuse become more apparent. You will notice an excessive loss of weight, dilated pupils, and changes in their behavior. There are mood swings, reclusiveness, and erratic behaviors that become obvious and can sometimes cause harm to other people. At this stage, you should ask for help from professionals, so they can begin treatment.
This is the final stage of substance abuse, and the hardest to control. In some cases, this can be life-threatening. People who reach addiction require immediate professional help. There are a lot of consequences that come with substance addiction.
People who get addicted tend to lose their job or fail in school. Their relationships also fail drastically. It is like their life is totally turned upside down. At this point, professional intervention and treatment is the key.
Recognizing these stages will be beneficial for everyone. Once you notice a serious change in a person’s life, you will have to talk to them and tell them that treatment is very much available. It is never too late to turn back from substance abuse. You can tell them about Haven House Recovery Center, a recovery center near Clarksville. We can help you get treatment. Our staff is more than willing to give you or your loved ones the help you deserve. Through our Christ-based programs and your commitment to stay sober, you are sure to get through this problem. Don’t hesitate to contact us.