Addiction is a very complex and difficult topic to understand, and it is also one that can hit close to home, striking a deeply emotional chord when you have a loved one who is struggling with the disorder. The questions that arise are many, and getting the answers you need can help you to ensure that your loved one is properly cared for in an effective and evidence-based addiction treatment program. Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about addiction.
Does My Loved One Have an Addiction?
If your loved one uses drugs or alcohol, how can you tell when they’ve crossed the line from recreational or legitimate use of the drug due to prescription and into a full-blown addiction that requires treatment? Addiction is defined by the existence of both a chemical and emotional dependence on an illicit substance, and it is often marked by withdrawal symptoms when the substance cannot be obtained. While there is no surefire way to tell if a person is truly “addicted” to a substance in the clinical sense of the term, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) lists a few of the most obvious and common signs of addiction, such as:
- Seeking and using a substance repeatedly in spite of any negative consequences it may have caused
- Uncontrollable cravings for a particular substance
- Problems at work or an inability to work or hold a job as a result of drug use
- Excessive debt and/or spending to acquire the substance
- Health problems related to substance abuse
- Family or relationship problems as a result of continued drug and alcohol use or poor behavior choices under the influence
What Are the Stages of Addiction?
Many people are curious about the progression of addiction or, more accurately, about how an addiction develops over time. While addiction can progress differently for different people – some individuals may become addicted to a substance after one use, while others may use it for years before developing a true addiction – there are generally considered to be six stages or types of addiction.
- Experimentation. For most people, it starts with simple drug or alcohol experimentation. A person is curious about alcohol or drugs and tries them for the first few times, learning about the effects of different substances and how much of a substance is required to elicit a desired effect.
- Social drug use. Next, an individual may overuse their favorite substances in a social setting.
- Binge drinking or drug use. This includes issues with binge drinking, using large amounts illegal drugs, or combining substances.
- Substance abuse. Chronic overuse of alcohol or another substance constitutes substance abuse. At this point, the issue may begin to have regular and negative effects in the user’s life, and those around him or her may realize that is not an occasional problem.
- Addiction. If the person continues with substance abuse, it can and likely will eventually turn into addiction.
How Can I Help My Addicted Friend or Family Member?
If someone you care about is struggling with an addiction, the most pressing question on your mind is likely how you can help them to heal. The most efficient way to help them jumpstart their personal journey to recovery is to contact us at the phone number listed above. Learn more about our comprehensive program that includes:
- Intensive diagnostic and evaluation process
- Detox and medical supervision
- Addiction therapy
- Personal and group therapies
- Family therapy and support options
- Long-term aftercare services, including sober living
Call now to get your addiction questions answered today.