There are five stages of drug and alcohol abuse: experimentation, regular use, problem or risky use, dependence, and addiction. People generally progress though these phases as they become addicted to substances.

Knowing them can help people recognize addiction in family members and friends, as well as themselves. The sooner addiction treatment is sought, the better. Rehabilitation is much easier in the early stages.

Experimenting With Substances

Experimentation is using drugs and alcohol voluntarily. This can be as a reaction to life circumstances, depression, or peer pressure. Use is occasional, and most people are able to quit on their own. However, many choose to continue because they like the feeling they get from drugs and alcohol.

Regular Drug Use

In this stage, the use of substances becomes more frequent, and the individual may begin to do it alone.

Addiction Problem or Risky Use

As the name suggests, the third stage is when individuals begin to suffer negative consequences from drug and alcohol abuse. Examples of problems could be relationship issues, physical or health problems, legal problems, trouble with a job, or getting into trouble while driving. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, almost a third of the people in the United States display risky drinking behavior.

Drug and Alcohol Dependence

When an individual reaches the dependence stage, they no longer seem to care whether they suffer negative consequences. Some of the specific criteria for being dependent on drugs and alcohol include an increased tolerance to the substance, withdrawal symptoms when trying to reduce usage, and extremely irresponsible behaviors, such as losing a job.

Substance Addiction

Drug and alcohol addiction is when the condition is considered to be a disease. The person is no longer capable of controlling any aspect of it, and their life revolves around the substance. Obvious physical and mental changes have occurred.
The 5 Stages Of Addiction

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Each one of these stages will display symptoms of addiction development, but it is only going to be noticeable if you are keen on what to look for.

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By remembering all five stages of addiction, you can keep a watchful eye during the summer and work to intercept an addiction from developing in yourself or a loved one before it is too late.