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When Does Experimenting Become Drug Addiction?

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Experimenting with drugs and alcohol can lead to drug addiction.

There comes a point in the lives of many young adults when they consider experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Many people who experiment don’t expect to develop drug addiction or alcohol abuse. They assume “it won’t happen to me,” but it does. 

In 2018, 6 percent of high school seniors reported smoking marijunana daily, and 14 percent reported binge drinking within the past two weeks. 

Is important to understand how harmless experimenting could lead to drug addiction.

Drug addiction used to be looked at as a moral failing, or something that happens to “bad people.”

Drug addiction is now classified as substance use disorder, which is a mental illness, and not a moral failing or lack of willpower. Substance use disorder, like many other mental illnesses, cannot be detected by medical tests such as blood work and CAT scans.

Does that mean the only way to know you are going to develop a drug addiction or alcohol addiction is by experimenting? Not exactly.

There are many signs that you could have the “addiction gene,” such as other family members being addicted to drugs or alcohol, being diagnosed or undiagnosed with another mental illness such as depression or anxiety, or having a lack of self-esteem and a history of trauma. Even without any of these it is important to keep in mind you could still become addicted to drugs and alcohol.

The "addiction gene" causes experimenting with drugs to become a drug addiction.

The most effective way to not become addicted to drugs or alcohol, is to not do drugs or drink alcohol. But complete abstinence for high schoolers, full time college students, or those in the workforce may be a little unrealistic.

So, you decided to gamble and experiment one or two times with your friends, and it was fun.

You felt free and happy for the first time in a long time. But you don’t really think about the drugs or alcohol again. You know it was expensive to go out with friends and don’t have much money laying around to do it all the time, plus you have class and your recreational flag football team.

Drug addiction causes lapse in judgement. Pawning things, stealing, and lying are common with people who develop drug addiction.
Being lonely and depressed are common side effects to drug addiction.

About a month passes and your friends want to do drugs and drink again. You say, “Sure. Why not?”

The next weekend comes, and your friends want to do drugs and drink again. You say, “Sure. Why not?”

Now getting drunk and high is part of your weekend routine. You convince yourself that it’s fine, it’s only a social thing. You are all just having fun, because its only on the weekends, maybe once during the week, that’s it! You are still able to go on in life and do the things you have to, like your relationship, work, homework and that recreational football team.

This next step in the cycle is where experimenting becomes drug addiction. It happens very gradually, then suddenly, and your stuck wondering, “How did I develop a drug addiction, I was just having fun!?”

You have no money, you got fired from your job and can’t find a new one. You are worried about how you will get money to continue using drugs and alcohol. Suddenly, this doesn’t feel like a phase or only “experimenting with drugs in college.”

You might try to steal from family or pawn a few things that you “didn’t like anyway.”

It is no longer fun to drink or get high, but you can’t stop cold turkey. You only do it because you must, or you won’t make it through the day without getting sick.

This is how curiosity killed the cat, don’t let it kill you too. Experimenting with drugs and alcohol puts you at a greater risk for developing drug addiction.

Alcohol and Drug Detox Near Atlanta

If you or a loved one has a problem with drinking or drugs, don’t wait until it gets worse. Contact an Atlanta Detox Center admissions specialist at 833-440-8642. 

Unlike many detox programs, Atlanta Detox Center is a premier alcohol and drug detox in Georgia that also specializes in other addiction treatment services such as addressing the co-occuring mental health disorders that made us abuse drugs in the first place.

During the medically assisted detox process our compassionate clinical staff will ensure the most possible comfort for you, no matter what substance you used. Whether you need detox from alcohol, prescription drugs, opiates, methamphetamine, Xanax or heroin, we are equipped to safely and securely get the substance out of your system. 

Once detox is complete, we our care coordination team will help you determine which level of substance abuse treatment you will need next. You won’t leave our facility without references to addiction recovery treatment centers in Georgia

At Atlanta Detox Center and all other Amatus Recovery Centers across the country, we strive to bring you out of the life threatening disease of addiction and back into society. 

We have been where you are, we understand, and we want to help.