Casual Use Can Lead to Drug and Alcohol Abuse
For many people, what starts as casual use can lead to drug and alcohol abuse. It may seem unfair — as others may be able to casually use drugs or alcohol without the loss of control. And while the causes of addiction are not entirely known, what we can recognize are the habits that lead you to abuse drugs or alcohol.
Stages of Alcohol & Drug Addiction
According to the National Institutes of Health, there are several stages of drug use that may lead to dependence.
- Experimental use — typically involves peers, done for recreational use; the user may enjoy defying parents or other authority figures.
- Regular use — the user misses more and more school or work; worries about losing drug source; uses drugs to “fix” negative feelings; begins to stay away from friends and family; may change friends to those who are regular users; shows increased tolerance and ability to “handle” the drug.
- Daily preoccupation — the user loses any motivation; does not care about school and work; has obvious behavior changes; thinking about drug use is more important than all other interests, including relationships; the user becomes secretive; may begin dealing drugs to help support habit; use of other, harder drugs may increase; legal problems may increase.
- Dependence — cannot face daily life without drugs; denies problem; physical condition gets worse; loss of “control” over use; may become suicidal; financial and legal problems get worse; may have broken ties with family members or friends.
Changing Your Addictive Habits is Not Easy — But is Vital to a Successful Recovery.
Once you’ve been addicted to a drug, you’re at high risk of falling back into a pattern of addiction. If you do start using the drug, it’s likely you’ll lose control over its use again — even if you’ve had treatment or haven’t used the drug for some time.
It’s important to understand and avoid the situations, or “triggers” that would lead you to use the drug again and to change the behaviors that lead to drug or alcohol use. Recovery experts say it is important not to make the mistake of hanging out with old friends who are still doing drugs. This also means avoiding bars and clubs or any other environments you associate with drug abuse. Changing your addictive habits is not easy — but is vital to a successful recovery.
Addiction treatment and recovery centers, like 12 Keys in Jensen Beach, can help you uncover the habits that lead to drug and alcohol abuse. They’ll also help you make the difficult and important changes that will lead you to a substance-free lifestyle.