The Stages of Addiction   

  The Stages of Addiction  

The truth is that there are stages of drug addiction, and progressing through them is how addiction develops. The good news is that if you can identify that you’re in an early stage of substance abuse, you can break the cycle before full-blown addiction occurs and end up in a drug rehab centre. Understanding the different stages of addiction will help you to recognize where you or your loved one stands today, so that you can intervene and take action before addiction sets in for good.

Stage 1 – Experimenting

Experimentation. By definition, substance abuse is a habitual pattern of drug use that usually develops over time. Drug experimentation occurs when a person tries drugs for a specific reason or situation—perhaps it’s to cope with some other issue, or to act out in some way, or even just to have fun. In many cases, these experiences are fairly benign and don’t lead to further drug use.

Stage 2 – Frequent use

At some point in your life, you may have been able to use drugs just a few times a month and still function well. In stage 2, you are now beginning to use it more frequently. For example, if you used once or twice per week before entering stage 2, you may find yourself now using daily or every other day. This is where full-blown addiction can develop without intervention and why it is so important to act quickly when you realise that you’re becoming addicted.

Stage 3 – Financial issues

Drug or alcohol abuse can take a toll on every aspect of your life and create problems that extend beyond health concerns. In stage 3, individuals are likely to experience legal, financial, and/or professional troubles. Many lose relationships with friends and family members due to their addiction issues. Progression in drug or alcohol use is common in stage 3—and often corresponds with an increase in cravings for more substances. Individuals may spend most of their time getting, using, or recovering from substance use at home or work.

Stage 4 – Dependence

At some point, using and abusing a substance becomes more than just something that’s fun or relaxing. By this stage, your body is physically dependent on drugs; you crave them and feel awful if you stop taking them. Without proper treatment,  it’s easy to become stuck here. You may be aware that you need help, but any attempts to change are likely to fail in early stages unless you seek professional help at a rehab centre near  you.

Stage 5 –  Substance use disorders

The final stage is substance use disorder. This is an ongoing, compulsive reliance on substances that negatively affects every area of a person’s life.

It’s possible to recover from addiction, but it takes a commitment to getting help. You don’t have to do it alone, and if you’re at an early stage in your addiction, getting professional help for drug detoxification may be enough to break through denial. Long-term recovery is easier when you have medical supervision and a strong support network—people who can cheer you on, encourage you when you falter, hold you accountable for your actions, and help keep distractions from slipping back into old habits.


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