Recognizing Experimentation as The First Stage of Addiction
Addiction is a scary disease and even scarier for the loved ones of the person it’s taking over. Approximately 200 people in America die everyday from drug over doses, a statistic that has more than tripled in the last 20 years. This doesn’t include alcohol induced deaths or drunk driving accidents. Addiction can go unnoticed until it’s gone on for so long that it’s extremely hard to recover from. Luckily, there are many facilities that offer help for these exact problems. The most successful cases of recovery or intervention however, happen when it’s caught in the earliest stages of addiction.
As identified by Nexus Recovery Services blog post, one of the first signs of addiction is experimentation. It can be hard to distinguish experimentation from social use, but there is a fine line between the two. Identifying the first stage of addiction could be life changing for both you and your loved one.
Initial drug or alcohol use is usually “voluntary and infrequent” to begin. While there are a few common reasons as to why people begin using alcohol or drugs, everyone’s story differs in some way. Common reasons include seeking relief from pain whether it is physical pain, stress, or emotional pain. People often use the term “taking the edge off”, meaning they’re using drugs or alcohol to unwind from a stressful day at work or calm themselves down from a recent heartbreak. Most people experience something like this on occasion, but it becomes a problem when patterns begin to form.
The Nexus Recovery Services blog uses the following examples as experimentation being the first stage of addiction.
- Using alcohol or drugs as social lubricant
- Taking the edge off from stress
- Using marijuana to unwind at night
- Taking opioids for chronic back pain
- Using Adderall or Ritalin when not prescribed
- Anabolic or androgenic use of steroids in athletes
- Drinking alcohol or drugs because of peer pressure
This is especially troubling because the first stage of addiction isn’t always easily identifiable if you or someone close to you is the target. You might know the person so well that you believe their justifications for their behavior, or if you’re the potential addict, you may be making excuses and hiding from your problem. There is no problem with having a beer at dinner or while you watch the game at night, but is the line drawn when you move to marijuana to unwind from a hectic day? Because alcohol is legal for those who are over the age of 21, alcohol is a bit more difficult to distinguish between normal use and abuse.
There is of course a more highlighted problem when the drug of choice is illicit. According to AddictionCenter, “an addiction to illicit drugs change the way a person’s brain works, and consequently the way they think and act.” Experimenting with illicit drugs is extremely dangerous and can quickly be marked by dependence and a full-blown addiction.
Recognizing experimentation as the first stage of addiction can save your life or the life of a loved one. If you believe you or someone else could benefit from medical attention or even a support group, there’s no harm in contacting a medical professional. Nexus Recovery Services offers differing programs that cater to the needs of individual clients in need of support. Nexus offers four programs including a partial hospitalization program, intensive outpatient program, outpatient program, and an aftercare program. Located in Los Angeles, California, Nexus Recovery Services can be reached at (888) 855-6877 to talk to a professional about setting up a personalized treatment program.
Addiction is nothing to joke about. With the increasing death toll due to both drug and alcohol addiction, getting help early is the best possible option when it comes to leading a healthy and fulfilling life.