People do not wake up one day and plan to become addicted. Addiction doesn't just happen. There are stages that lead up to a person becoming addicted. It is imperative that people understand what these stages are and use them as red flags to prevent it from happening to them. There is a reason that people get to that point in their lives.
It All Starts With Just Trying
It usually begins with experimenting with drugs. People try a few drugs here and there and claim it is harmless and really believe there are no consequences. It doesn't take too long before they like it and do it a little more and try other drugs.
Regular use is the point with the stages of addiction that separates the addicts from non-addicts. This is when the behavior becomes more risky, they begin to binge, and become more fixated on using.
This leads to drug abuse. Abuse leads to broken relationships, not meeting responsibilities, and other harms but the user still continues on despite the negative consequences. There is only one place left.
Addiction is the final step after all of the other stages have been met. A person becomes an addict. They are entirely dependent on drugs and experience uncontrollable cravings. Withdrawal symptoms surface when the drugs are stopped and the only way to go is death or treatment.
After Addiction, There's Only Treatment or Death, Your Decision
How long these stages take for everyone will be different. Some move faster than others. It could take a few months or many years for a person to arrive at being addicted. Addiction can never be that simply defined.
It is important however, to understand what the stages are and to know if you are at a higher risk for becoming an addict. Knowing and fully understanding can work wonders in prevention and can eventually save your life.