Drug addiction doesn’t happen overnight and most who start abusing do not usually plan on getting addicted. Recognizing the different stages would help know how to get out while you still can. It varies from person to person (based on physiology and psychological).
Some take years while others rapidly move through the stages to addiction.
This is the ideal case. In this stage the protective factors outweigh the risk factors. Its is the stage to that should be the desire of all.
Once the risk factors exceed the protective factors, people begin to try out out drugs for themselves like trying alcohol and illegal drugs at social gatherings. Some from peer pressures, to escape problems or out of curiosity. No addiction in this stage yet and possible to stop. Some drugs are highly addictive so care needs to be taken at this stage. Many stop at this stage and do not proceed to the next.
The person begins to use drugs in a patterned manner. This does not necessarily mean daily…it could be weekends, after work. This stage usually doesn’t interfere with the users daily responsibilities like work, school, family.
Some of the consequences ( legal, emotional, physical, or social) of drug use begin to be suffered by the user, friends and family. Significant changes in character could be signs to alarm you to stop. This stage needs you to starting seeking help for you or your loved one.
At this stage, it becomes very difficult to quit drugs on your own. It is characterized by compulsive seeking (cravings) and using of drugs. Users continues to use drugs despite the negative consequences and suffers withdrawal effects when not exposed to the drug. The user is usually in denial of his/her current situation. Behavioral change, emotional support and in some cases drug therapy may be needed to get user out of this stage.
If you are a victim of drug abuse, seek help from from a health care provider.