signs of addiction

What’s The First Stage Of Addiction?

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, it can feel like you are carrying a heavy burden. Unfortunately, statistics show that over 21 million Americans struggle with substance abuse, which is just one of the many forms of addiction our population faces.

Although it seems to happen quickly from an outside perspective, addictions are not formed overnight; a variety of factors can contribute to drug and alcohol addiction. Genetic and environmental influences, socioeconomic status, and preexisting health conditions can all play a role. However, most health professionals who work in the field of addiction can agree that there are stages of addiction, experimentation, regular use, high-risk use, and addiction or dependency.

From the outside looking in, it can be hard to determine what stage someone is in. And it’s important to note that not everyone in the first two stages of this process will develop an addiction. However, those in the 3rd stage (high-risk use) will often struggle with addiction. Therefore, understanding these stages is critical in recognizing you might have a problem. This article aims to help you identify early symptoms of addiction and point you toward resources that can help.

Early Warning Signs Of Addiction

Unfortunately, casual use of drugs and alcohol can quickly devolve into a substance abuse issue. While there are several common signs, each substance will affect the body differently and reveal different warning signs. The following are common signs of someone struggling with alcohol or substance abuse.

  • They often cannot recall recent events or have repeated conflicts with friends or family members.
  • They have frequent mood swings, are irritable, or feel depressed.
  • They are using alcohol or drugs to solve a problem, relax, improve their mood, or sleep.
  • They often complain of headaches, anxiety, sleeplessness, or stomach pain.
  • They might have trembling hands, suffer from nosebleeds, or exhibit appetite or sleeping pattern changes.
  • They might have sudden noticeable changes in weight.

It’s important to note that any of these symptoms on their own do not mean a person has an addiction; although they are common traits of people struggling with addiction.

Who Is at High Risk For Addiction?

Although anyone can fall into addiction, certain circumstances can put you at a higher risk. There is some evidence that your family history or genetics can play a role in future addiction. As well as the age of your first exposure, children and teens exposed to drugs and alcohol at a younger age are more likely to develop issues later in life. Preexisting mental health issues can cause depression, and PTSD can put you at a higher risk for addiction. As well as environmental factors such as sexual abuse or trauma. Many people start experimenting with drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate, as they find themselves needing more and more to achieve the desired effects.

Visible vs. Invisible Signs of Addiction

Often those struggling with addiction work hard to hide their consumption from others. Although with addictive or compulsive behavior, as the obsession continues, it can become harder for the addicted person to conceal their behavior. While you might not see your loved one consuming drugs or alcohol, you might notice the after-effects.

Some early signs you might notice are a loss of energy or motivation, neglecting their appearance, spending excessive amounts of money on a substance, unusual or continual problems at school or work, including poor performance, lateness or social dysfunction. You might observe they are often intoxicated, and performing risky behaviors while intoxicated. In addition, you might notice them exhibiting signs of withdrawal when they are unable to take the substance they prefer. They might start lying about their habits and where they have been or be defensive or aggressive when questioned.

Where To Turn For Help

At Collective Counseling Solutions, we are here to help. We work with counselors and therapists nationwide to help people get the help they need. Our counselors accept insurance, and we have a vast network of accredited counselors to help with specialized care, such as addictions. If you or someone you know needs help, contact us today. Many of our counselors offer services such as individual or group therapy. If you have been affected by someone else’s addiction, counseling could greatly help you. Don’t hesitate to start your healing journey. Contact us today.

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