The Common Downward Spiral of Substance Use The Common Downward Spiral of Substance Use | Vantage Point Recovery

The Common Downward Spiral of Substance Use

Usually substance use begins for a simple reason. It might be because of stress or emotional pain or just plain old experimentation. However, there is well-worn path that most people move through from initial substance use all the way through addiction.

Usually substance use begins for a simple reason. It might be because of stress or emotional pain or just plain old experimentation. However, there is well-worn path that most people move through from initial substance use all the way through addiction.

Experimentation, for instance, is common for teens and young adults who are typically searching in many ways during their youth. However, the danger is that the euphoria of a drug or the pleasurable experience that a substance brings can keep someone using drugs for long time after experimentation. Later in life, an individual might turn to drinking or drug use if their work, family, or personal life becomes too stressful. They might feel they need a coping tool for the demands in their life. In this case too, the initial need for a coping tool might lead to regular use of the drug. Sometimes, it’s not stress but emotional pain, such as loneliness or guilt or anxiety that might lead someone to initially turn to drugs or alcohol.

After the first introduction to a drug and if the pleasures outweigh the costs (hangovers, for instance), then a person might choose to use that substance on a regular basis. This is often the next step on the path toward addiction. Regular use might be drinking on the weekend or getting high three or four times per week. But at this stage regular use has not turned into an addiction. It would still be relatively easy for a person to stop using if they choose.

The next step on the downward spiral of substance use is risky use of the drug. For instance, instead of using after work or on the weekend, a person might choose to drink before going to work. Or they might choose to get high on cocaine right before a stressful business meeting. The drug is becoming more and more of a dependence, which is leading to making poorer choices regarding drug use.

The last step on the downward spiral is the development of an addiction. At this stage, a person is developing a tolerance to the substance. This means that he or she has to ingest more of the drug in order to experience the same high. Also, a person might be thinking about getting high more often. In other words, a person might be daydreaming about getting high and thinking about the drug more often than if he or she were using the drug occasionally. Another sign of an addiction is that it becomes a coping tool more and more. A person relies upon the use of the drug so much that it becomes the sole focus of one’s life. In fact, the use of the substance becomes so central in one’s life that they are neglecting other areas of life.

Typically, when substance use becomes more and more severe, there is a growing deterioration of one’s life.  This is the danger of simply being introduced to a drug. For some, their first drink or their first experience of cocaine is none other than stepping into the painful experience of addiction.

If you or someone you know is using drugs or alcohol, it’s essential to seek support so that you can find healthier ways to cope with the challenges of life.

 

If you are reading this on any blog other than Vantage Point Recovery, it is stolen content without credit.
You can find me on Twitter via @VPRVoice and Facebook via Vantage Point Recovery.
Come and visit our blog at https://vantagepointrecovery.com/blog/.