What Is Addiction?
While anyone can form an addiction, some individuals are more vulnerable than others. Vulnerability will depend on several factors including genetics, exposure to drugs, living environment, mental health conditions, and more. For example, a person who was exposed to drugs in the home at a young age may be more likely to experiment with drugs early, start using them recreationally, and eventually form an addiction.
Drug & Alcohol Addiction: The Five Stages
- First Use/Experimentation – A person is in this stage when they use a drug or try alcohol for the first time. While some people can experiment without ever developing an addiction, some have a harder time fighting the disease once they try something.
- Regular Use – Someone in this stage may consider a substance as part of their lifestyle. Using their drug of choice may help them feel more comfortable in social settings.
- Problem Use/Risky Use – A person displays risky use when they have faced problems or dangerous situations due to a substance but still continue to use it.
- Dependence/Tolerance – Someone is dependent on a drug when they need it to feel good or when they crave a substance if they don’t have it in their system.
- Abuse/Addiction – A person is in this final stage when they can’t function without their substance of choice. They have faced consequences from using it, but it hasn’t stopped them from seeking out and abusing the substance.