How Can You Tell When Drug Use Becomes Addictive?

Q & AIn most cases, you can’t tell when drug use becomes addictive.

Most of the time you can’t see that drug use has turned to abuse until after-the-fact, until it’s too late. That’s one of the reasons addiction is so baffling.

In many cases, increasing drug use takes place so gradually that it’s easy to miss the significance of the escalation. That’s because the process of increasing tolerance takes time (though it escalates more rapidly as one progresses to the later stages of addiction). It often requires severe negative consequences before the question of addiction even arises. And even then, there may be powerful motivations to assume that it’s not a big problem or that it’s manageable, both on the part of the addict (for more, click on Denial), and his or her loved ones (for more click on Enabling, Detaching & Letting Go).

There are some people, however, who don’t go from use to abuse gradually. They are “born addicts,” people whose abuse starts immediately: they suffer serious physical, emotional, and often legal problems from the very first time they encounter drugs or alcohol. They often come from families with a multi-generational history of addiction and seem to have inherited it.

Unfortunately for all involved, “born addicts” are no less susceptible to denial than those who become addicted progressively. The immediate negative repercussions they suffer don’t dissuade them from further drug use. Rather, they only want more.

But “born addicts” tell a very consistent story. Knowing how they describe their common experience can help identify if you or someone you love may qualify as one.

For more click on Clues for When Drug Use Turns to Abuse.

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