How Easy is It to Get Addicted to Drugs?

The slippery slope of substance use and dependency can sometimes start with just one encounter with a drug. It may begin with “doing a line” at a party, taking a tablet at a rave, or experimenting with a friend. For some people, this first interaction sets the scene for a long, difficult, and life-changing journey. 

This reality leads many people to wonder why some people get addicted to substances after a single use when others don’t, or how long it takes to become addicted to drugs. These are important questions, and the knowledge of how quickly addiction can take hold may spell the difference between life and death.

How Quickly Can Someone Become Addicted to a Drug?

Can you get addicted to drugs even if you only try them once or every now and then? The short answer is yes. True, there are some people who can try a substance and not become addicted. Yet for others, their particular predispositions may make addiction more likely. 

There are several factors that make certain individuals more prone to addiction

  • Genetic Predisposition: Those with a family history of substance abuse tend to have a higher likelihood of becoming addicted to substances. 
  • Mental Health: Those struggling with mental health issues may seek relief from drugs. However, substance use adds another dimension of hardship for that individual and also often exacerbates the mental health issues at hand.
  • Social Environment: In situations where peer pressure is high and/or there is rampant drug use in the social environment that one is consistently exposed to, there is an increased likelihood of substance use and addiction. 
  • Physical Dependence: Once someone has used substances often, the body learns to depend on the presence of the drug. Trying to stop using the substance at that point leads to withdrawal which is very difficult, so the individual may continue to use in order to avoid the withdrawal symptoms. 

What leads to the rapid progression of drug addiction? 

  • Immediate Gratification: Many substances lead to an intense and immediate pleasurable response. The individual is left wanting to recreate that feeling again, and again, leading to increased use and often creating dependency.
  • Chemical Dependence: When someone uses a substance consistently, the body becomes dependent on the substance and their tolerance increases. This leads to more frequent use of higher and higher doses, spurring the addiction cycle.
  • The Substance: Certain substances are more highly addictive than others, leading to a more rapid addiction cycle. For instance, methamphetamines and opioids are highly addictive and tend to create greater dependencies more rapidly than other substances.

Substance Use Treatment Centers Near Me

Understanding how quickly drug addiction can evolve can make all the difference in taking swift action. If the signs of substance use are evident in someone you love, or if you’re struggling with addiction, take the SBIRT assessment today. SBIRT stands for Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment and it is a method used to identify and address substance use concerns and find nearby treatment centers. SBIRT assessments in Mississippi are easy, free, and completely online. Early intervention can make all the difference, so take action now!