The Addiction Process

Five Behavioral Stages of the Addiction Process

  • Experimental Use – First or second use, use of gateway drugs, and/or peer pressure and group use.
  • Regular Use – 90% of users – a general lack of negative consequences.
  • Transition – Problems, isolation and tolerance develop.
  • Early Dependence – Consequences grow, increasing awareness of the addiction to friends and family.
  • Full Dependence – Addict is now aware of the addiction and has feelings of hopelessness, coupled with significant consequences (i.e., jail, hospital, death).

Warning Signs of Drug Dependency

  • Increase in tolerance, amount and frequency
  • Changes in personality
  • Mood swings
  • Defensiveness
  • Avoiding friends and family
  • Excuses, lying, denying, blaming
  • Changes in lifestyle
  • Trouble at home and work
  • Withdrawal from friends, family and activities