Stages of Addiction in Adolescents


Addiction to drugs and alcohol will surely have various negative effects on adolescents, their family members and the realization of their hopes and ideas. The sad fact is that that every addict started life as a human being with great potential. The addiction, like an overwhelming cancer can consume these hopes and dreams. There are different stages of addiction. Each stage would require a different type of treatment modality. They are the early stage, the middle stage and the late or advanced stage of addiction. In adolescents, the stages of addiction can progress more quickly than as an adult, although this is not always true. It can take a few months or a few years to reach the later stages of addiction.

Addiction to drugs and alcohol will surely have various negative effects on adolescents, their family members and the realization of their hopes and ideas.

Early stages of addiction

Begins smoking cigarettes, Experimentation with drugs, Begins smoking pot and drinking, Hangs out with the drugging and drinking crowd, May steal medications from parents, Urgent requests for money, cons and manipulates to get requests met, Preoccupation with finding drugs and orients activities around them, School problems begin, maybe truancies or begging parents to make excuses for them, May not come home when requested, staying out all night, Few consequences from their use, Ability to control use, Tolerance to using, Substance use becomes a way of communicating to others, Attention span decreases, Lower tolerance to frustration

Middle stages of Addiction

Beginning to try and limit their use, Blaming others for thing that are going wrong, Using different types of drugs to gain control over use, Withdrawing from family and friends, Stealing, Academic decline and truancy, Mood swings, Lying, Increase in time spent in using substances, Changes in personal, appearance, Arguments within the family, Legal difficulties, Loss of control

Late stages of Addiction

Suspension or being expelled from schoolIncrease in anxiety, Lowered self esteem, Increase in legal issues, Blackouts, Passing out, Signs of withdrawal symptoms, Unable to control substance use, Isolating, Anger outbursts, Denial of using, Weekend binges or daily use, Paranoia, Begins to steal, deal or prostitute to support their habit, Weight gain or weight loss, Stops trying to hide their use

Addiction is chronic, progressive and sometimes fatal. There are many forms of treatment for adolescent addiction. No one single treatment is effective for all individuals. Treatment must touch on all facets of the adolescent’s life. Social, family, school, legal and medical are just some areas that need to be a focus on, in treatment. If the adolescent is using heroin, medication management may be successful, such as buprenorphine or methadone.

If an adolescent is using drugs, the best form of treatment always includes the family. Family participation and counseling is vital in providing proper treatment to the adolescent. Studies showed that the number of adolescents recovered is very low without participation of their family.

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