From Substance Use to Substance ABUSE…When Did I Turn This Corner?

From Substance Use to Substance ABUSE…When Did I Turn This Corner?

By In Addiction Recovery, First Steps
Posted November 2, 2015

“My friends drink together often and they’ve all tried drugs, but they aren’t addicts…What makes me different?”

No two people are exactly the same. Each of us has our own unique genetic composition and a set of life experiences which affects our disposition to addiction. Some can use drugs or alcohol one time and never think of it again, while others will develop a deep inner craving over which they have no control. The desire to use again becomes the driving force behind all decisions, regardless of negative consequences. This is the result of a change that occurs in the brain which makes it nearly impossible to deny the impulse to use.

The Switch – Substance Use to Substance Abuse

Substance use is commonly defined by the ability to maintain control over drug or alcohol use. Examples of controlled use include: deciding where and when it is appropriate to use, never using for an extended period of time, having no difficulty sticking to this guideline, and never experiencing the symptoms of withdrawal.

Use turns into abuse when that control is lost. A chemical dependency eventually sets in making sobriety unattainable without help. Signs of addictions include: increased tolerance, experiencing withdrawal symptoms, loss of control over use, inability to remain sober and using despite negative consequences. Substance addiction (also called substance use disorder) is a very difficult cycle to break. Many addicts experience temporary sobriety, lasting anywhere from several weeks to a  year or more, only to fall back into addiction. It is important to seek professional help in order conquer addiction, and learn how to maintain a long term sober lifestyle.

Influencers of Addiction

There is no way to look at a person, psychologically or physically, and determine whether or not they will become an addict. However, there are certain factors which could put you at a higher risk of developing substance use disorder, or addiction.

Family History

A history of addiction in a family could mean that a person is predisposed to addict behavior. Whether this behavior is learned as a result of being raised in a home where the addict personality was prevalent, or inherited biologically, the likelihood of developing an addiction is increased.


There are many environmental factors which can impact the risk for addiction. These include: peer pressure, a history of physical or sexual abuse, high stress levels, pronounced drug use in the geographic location the individual resides or works in, extreme poverty, quality of life. It is quite common for individuals dealing with the above mentioned to self medicate as a form of dealing with circumstances. Doing so, however, exaggerates these issues, leaving them in a worse position where substance abuse is leaned on more heavily.


A link has been discovered between age and the development of addiction. The younger a person is when they begin using, the more likely they are to become an addict. As we know, addiction can take place at any age. However, the adolescent brain has underdeveloped decision making and self control centers, increasing their odds of engaging in dangerous behaviors.

Addiction Help

Are you unsure whether you fall into the addict category or not? Do you fear that you may have lost control? Contact The Shores Treatment and Recovery Center today. We would love to talk with you about the possible presence of addiction in your life, and how to reclaim sobriety. Give us a call today at (772) 800-3990 .


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