One of the greatest troubles facing today’s society is drug addiction, as it encourages not only the dangerous behaviour of the users but also of the criminal elements they rely upon for their supply.
While the large-scale trouble drug addiction causes is not without historical precedent- for instance, the use of drugs was a critical issue in the First Anglo-Chinese War, also known as the Opium War, it is more of perhaps more of a problem now than ever. Advances in technology have made drug pushers more powerful than ever, as they are capable of coordinating large-scale operations worth untold amounts of money, and insist on defending their stake with high-powered weaponry that causes untold destruction to addicted people living in our towns and cities.
While “winning the war” on drug addiction at the global level may be some way off in the future, it is possible to begin combating it on a smaller scale, in our own homes, work places and communities.
As part of doing this effectively relies on one’s knowledge of drugs and how they work, here is a simple guide to the four stages of drug addiction and the effects they have on the user.
Just as the road to alcoholism begins with a single drink, the path to drug addiction begins with the first use. Excluding cases of babies born to women already dependent on substances, it is difficult to imagine a circumstance under which one could experience drug addiction without first using drugs.
While trying something “just this once” might seem innocuous, there is always the chance that it is could also be a gateway leading toward a life of misery through the mental obsession and physical compulsion associated with active addiction.
At some point in time, the use of an illicit substance becomes more than just dabbling or a once-in-a-while thing and takes the next step toward becoming a behaviour representative of drug addiction. Oftentimes this is signalled by a particularly negative event coming from the use of a drug.
With the increasingly regular consumption of a drug also comes the heightened risk of an adverse experience stemming from it, both in terms of sheer mathematics and also the poor choices and risky behaviour endemic of drug addiction. For example, an alcoholic might see this transition point come in terms of a drunk driving accident or an episode of acute alcohol poisoning. A drug addict, on the other hand, might be arrested for possession or be hospitalized for an overdose.
Rather than learn a lesson from this, the power of drug addiction will compel the user to double down on their mistakes and press forward with their addictive behaviour, no matter the danger, consequence or risks involved. This qualifies them as on the cusp of moving from drug abuse to drug dependence (addiction) as one is willing to overlook negative consequences in order to pursue the habit. Increased willingness to accept both physical risks, in terms of deleterious health effects, and social problems, such as withdrawal from friends and family as well as trouble at work, are hallmarks of this stage of drug addiction.
Dependency / Addiction
The continued abuse of drugs will eventually lead to full-blown addiction, in which the chemistry of the body has been changed in accordance with the constant presence of drugs within the system. At this point, in addition to the dangers posed by the drug itself, there is a chance that stopping its use can lead to problems caused by withdrawal.
Fortunately, there is hope. At We Do Recover, our rehabilitation centers provide the needed support and intervention to help those trapped in the progression of drug addiction to gain control and take back their lives.