Addiction does not occur overnight. It takes time to develop the maladaptive pattern of abuse that leads to the physical and emotional control of substances. Addiction develops in 4 stages:

Stage 1: Experimentation-usually occurs in social situations with peer pressure. Initially, you could be trying to be popular with your peers and it’s often “just for fun” cause everyone’s doing it.

Stage 2: Use/Misuse-Using substances to cope with uncomfortable feelings and situations.

Stage 3: Abuse-Using substances regularly that interferes with daily functioning, relationships or health. This is the point that you begin to lose control over the substance and it begins to control you.

Stage 4: Addiction:This is when you are dependent on the substance and develop a tolerance and loss of control over the substances. You are also in denial over the full impact of the addiction. You no longer think and behave rationally about the substance. There is secrecy as you are using the substance alone and it is controlling your life.

While you cannot guarantee ways to prevent someone from abusing substances, there are things people can do to prevent substance abuse.

  • Understand how substance abuse develops. It’s important to understanding how substance abuse develops and make sure you are always in control if using substances.
  • Don’t give into peer pressure. You want to avoid the temptation of peer pressure and avoid friends who pressure you to use substances. Prepare a good excuse plan ahead of time to keep you from giving into peer pressure.
  • Treat your mental illness. If you are suffering from depression, anxiety or trauma from your past, seek professional help. Many people who suffer from mental illness tend to use substances to mask or cope with symptoms.
  • Be aware of your family history of addiction. Some people have underlying factors such as genetics and you want to understand your family history since addiction tends to run in families.
  • Develop good and solid support systems. Having close friendships and close family ties is useful in helping you deal with stress and issues to help you sort out emotions.

Staying healthy emotionally and physically makes it easier to deal with life stresses. Maintaining a healthy life style and strong coping skills can reduce the temptation to rely on substances to deal with stress.

To learn more about our services click here: Substance Abuse Treatment

If you are interested in counseling, we see clients in our Chelsea office.