Drug Addiction

Understanding the stages of addiction can be helpful in identifying the signs of drug addiction and seeking appropriate treatment.

What Is Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction, also known as substance use disorder, is a chronic and often relapsing condition characterised by the compulsive use of drugs despite the negative consequences it causes. It is a brain disease that affects a person’s behavior, motivation, and decision-making abilities.

Addiction can occur with various substances such as alcohol, opioids, cocaine, marijuana, and prescription drugs. When a person becomes addicted, they may experience intense cravings for the drug and require increasing amounts to achieve the same effects. They may also experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the drug.

Signs & Symptoms Of Drug Addiction

The signs and symptoms of drug addiction can vary depending on the type of drug being used and the individual’s unique circumstances. However, some common signs and symptoms of drug addiction may include:

  • Increased Tolerance
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Loss of control
  • Cravings
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Social isolation
  • Financial problems
  • Changes in behavior and mood

Drug Addiction Stages

Drug addiction typically develops over time and can be categorized into several stages. While the stages of addiction can vary from person to person, the following stages are a general outline of how addiction can progress:


This is the initial stage, where a person tries a drug out of curiosity or peer pressure. At this stage, drug use is usually occasional and doesn’t cause significant problems.


Regular use

At this stage, a person begins to use the drug on a regular basis, either to feel good or to cope with negative emotions. The person may start to experience some negative consequences, such as decreased motivation or problems with relationships.


Risky use

As drug use continues, a person may start to engage in risky behaviors, such as driving under the influence or using the drug in dangerous situations. The person may also experience physical or mental health problems.



In this stage, the person has become physically and psychologically dependent on the drug. They may experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the drug and need it to function normally. At this stage, the person is likely to experience significant negative consequences from drug use.



This is the most severe stage of drug addiction. The person has lost control over their drug use and is unable to stop, despite negative consequences. They may continue to use the drug even when it causes significant harm to their health, relationships, and overall well-being.

Ketamine for the treatment of addiction: Evidence and potential mechanisms

Ketamine is a dissociative anaesthetic drug which acts on the central nervous systemchiefly through antagonism of the n-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor. Recently, ketamine has attracted attention as a rapid-acting anti-depressant but other studies have also reported its efficacy in reducing problematic alcohol and drug use. This review explores the preclinical and clinical research into ketamine’s ability to treat addiction. Despite methodological limitations and the relative infancy of the field, results thus far are promising. Ketamine has been shown to effectively prolong abstinence from alcohol and heroin in detoxified alcoholics and heroin dependent individuals, respectively. Moreover, ketamine reduced craving for and self-administration of cocaine in non-treatment seeking cocaine users. 1


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