Examining Drug Use Patterns
A recent article posted on psychcentral.com is very helpful in identifying whether or not you (or someone close to you) truly have an addiction problem. What’s the difference between social drinking and being an alcoholic? How do you know if you are on the road to dangerous addictions or not? Truly, this varies for each individual, but the author of the aforementioned article gives some good guidelines as to how to define these boundaries in defining 4 degrees of drug use.
People experiment with drugs for all kinds of reasons. Some are curious about what it will feel like, others are pressured by someone else. Most people who, despite their motivations, experiment with drugs or alcohol do not become addicted. However, the thought that ”just once won’t hurt anything” is incorrect because one could drink and drive for instance. Further, in individuals who are predisposed to addictions, partaking of a substance one time can set in motion a pattern of drug abuse and dependency.
#2 Social Use
“The social drinker or drug user uses substances in social situations, usually to relax, fit in or have fun. Although it seems innocent enough, especially compared to the solitary drug user, social use often leads to greater degrees of substance use. If the social user continues using even in the face of negative consequences, they’ve crossed the line into substance abuse” (psychcentral.org).
#3 Binge Drinking
Binge drinking is a dangerous pattern of drug use. Many tend to overlook binge drinking as being problematic because it doesn’t occur on a daily basis. However,
“binge drinkers are 14 times more likely to report driving under the influence than those who do not binge drink. Binge drinking has also been linked with alcohol poisoning, unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, assaults, accidental injuries, liver disease and high blood pressure, among other negative consequences…. But despite these dangers, more than half of the alcohol consumed by adults and 90 percent of the alcohol consumed by underage drinkers in the U.S. is in the form of binge drinks. Young adults are the most likely to binge drink, even though early drug use is strongly associated with drug and alcohol addictions later in life” (psychcentral.org).
#4 Substance Abuse and Addiction
Defining substance abuse and addiction can be challenging, but the behaviors that are exhibited when substance abuse and addiction occur are fairly basic. In the basic sense, when a substance interferes with one’s daily life and routine, it can be an addiction. Psychcentral.org outlines a few of these: (psychcentral.org)
- Trying to control your drug or alcohol use unsuccessfully
- Using drugs or alcohol in dangerous situations (e.g., before driving)
- Spending a great deal of time finding, using and recovering from the effects of drugs
- Withdrawing from friends and family, or giving up other activities to use drugs
- Needing more of a drug to get the same high (i.e., tolerance)
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit drugs