There are varying stages of alcohol and other drug use. Typically, the first stage is experimenting, or using alcohol or other drugs for the first time. This is followed by recreational or social use. Although there is no regular pattern of use at this time, the alcohol or other drug is used "to have fun".
As the level of frequency of use increases, it becomes habitual; it is usually at the habitual stage that friends and family may first recognize the use. Abuse occurs when the person continues to use the alcohol or other drug despite negative consequences, such as missing days of employment, problems with family relationships, financial issues or legal troubles. Finally, addiction occurs when that person is completely involved with and dependent on alcohol or other drugs, sometimes described as "living to use and using to live".
Addiction is a bio-psycho-social disease. It is chronic, progressive, sometimes fatal, and has both genetic and environmental roots. Often, addiction is characterized by periods of relapse and periods of recovery. Addiction transcends economic, social, racial/ethnic, religious, occupational, or age groups. Addiction, also referred to as chemical dependency, manifests as a compulsion that drives an individual to continue to behave in a way that is harmful to him or herself, and loved ones, despite negative consequences. Among youth, it is an urgent issue as the human brain does not fully develop until age thirty.
Addiction is not a lack of willpower or a sign of weakness. It is not a character flaw or a moral deficiency. It is a disease. Treatment for addiction is as effective as treatments for other chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma or hypertension.
We recognize that not everyone is an addict, and we offer programs and services for youth, adults and families designed to meet each individual's unique circumstances.
If you, or someone you love, has an alcohol or other drug problem, the Drug Abuse Alternatives Center (DAAC) can help. Call toll-free (877) 888-DAAC (3222) or (707) 544-3295 for more information.
HOPE HEALTH HEALING
It is BIOGENETIC
It is a PRIMARY Illness
- You don't choose to acquire it.
- A family history of drug/alcohol problems puts you at greater risk.
It is a CHRONIC Illness
- If you have chemical dependency, it's not a symptom of some other problem.
- If you have chemical dependency and other problems, your chemical dependency will interfere with treatment for other problems unless the chemical dependency is also treated.
It is a PROGRESSIVE Illness
- It won't go away because you ignore it, don't like it or don't want to believe you have it.
- It's not "just a phase".
If left Untreated, Addiction can be FATAL
- Without treatment it will eventually get worse.
- It usually gets worse more quickly for women and young people.
- Drinking and driving
- Overdose/alcohol poisoning
- Organ Failure