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How Long Does it Take to Get Addicted to Drugs?

Published On: 20 August 2021

Addiction is a serious condition that affects every aspect of a person’s life and their community. In the United States, approximately 23 million people live with addiction.[1] Each person has their own journey with addiction. There is no accurate way to predict perfectly who will become addicted to drugs and who will not. While one person may use drugs once and develop an addiction, another may use them without becoming dependent on them.

Just as it is impossible to determine who will become addicted, it is impossible to predict how long it takes to get addicted to drugs once they begin to use them. Some factors can make it more likely that someone will become addicted if they used drugs, but it is impossible to guess how long it will take or how many times they can use before a dependence forms.

Addiction is a complex issue with biological, environmental, and emotional aspects. In every case, early treatment and support are important to give people the best chance at a full recovery from their addiction. If you or someone you love is showing the signs of addiction to drugs or alcohol, you are not alone. Getting treatment for addiction does not have to be scary or intimidating. Addiction treatment facilities in West Palm Beach, such as Daylight Detox, offer flexible, comprehensive care in a peaceful setting, which allows you to focus on healing from addiction.

how long does it take to get addicted to drugs

How Does an Addiction Begin?

Using drugs can change the way your brain works. Most drugs work on the brain’s reward system. When you use a drug, your brain adapts to the presence of the drug. If you reduce the amount of the drug you take or stop completely, your brain and body respond by increasing your cravings for the drugs. You may also experience uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal that make it difficult to quit. Over time, your brain and body are dependent on the drug and stopping seems impossible.

Addiction can occur no matter how you begin to use drugs. People can become dependent on prescription medications or develop an addiction to party drugs. Some people may use drugs to help them manage their emotions and find that they can no longer function without them. Avoiding using drugs is the only way to shield yourself from addiction. Once you are in the throes of an addiction, it is important to get the treatment you need to overcome it. 

What Factors Affect How Long it Takes to Get Addicted to Drugs?

While it is impossible to predict who will become addicted to drugs or how long it might take, there are some risk factors that make it more likely for someone to become addicted to substances. These include:[2]

  • Family history of addiction: If someone in your immediate family struggles with addiction, it is more likely that you will become addicted to substances.
  • Mental health issues: Struggling with a mental illness can make it more likely that you will use drugs to self-medicate and also interferes with your ability to make healthy choices about substance use. 
  • Early substance use: Research has shown that if someone begins using substances at a young age, they are more likely to develop an addiction than someone who does not.
  • Using certain substances: People who use heroin or other opioids, cocaine, or methamphetamines are more likely to develop an addiction than those who use other substances. 

Once someone begins using drugs, factors like how often they use, which substances they use, their environment, and their overall physical and mental health might determine how quickly their addiction develops. It is important to note that anyone who uses drugs can become addicted, regardless of any of these risk factors. 

Recognizing the Signs of Addiction

Real addiction does not often look like it is portrayed in movies or on TV. People who are living with addiction often continue to go to work or school and live their lives. However, addiction puts them at risk of financial, social, and physical harm, even if they are able to function in their daily lives. Regardless of how long it takes to get addicted to drugs, and since everyone’s addiction develops at different rates, it is important to recognize the signs of addiction and get treatment as soon as possible to avoid serious negative consequences. 

Some signs of drug addiction include:

  • Using more than you intended to 
  • Continuing to use despite negative consequences
  • Falling behind at work, school, or at home
  • Suffering an injury or medical issues related to your substance use
  • Having financial or legal problems because of your substance use
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms if you stop or cut back
  • Needing more of the substance to get the same effect
  • Having frequent cravings for the substance

Getting treatment for addiction is the best way to get the support and skills you need to overcome your addiction and learn how to live the fulfilling, healthy life you deserve.

Start Your Recovery Today 

If you or someone you love requires treatment for substance abuse or addiction, you are not alone. Reach out to the staff at Daylight Detox. We offer a range of adaptable programs to give you the help you need to move past your addiction.

To speak with an admissions counselor, please call us today.

References:

  1. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/10-percent-us-adults-have-drug-use-disorder-some-point-their-lives
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4008086/
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