The 7 Stages of Addiction
Understanding the 7 Stages of Addiction
Drug and alcohol addiction does not happen overnight. It is a result of a long process of repeated substance abuse that gradually alters the brain and creates a negative behavioral pattern that can be difficult to break on your own. Progression of drug addiction varies between people, however there is a general pattern that can be broken down into stages of addiction. While there is some debate on how many stages of addiction there are, seven stages of addiction is the most popular for mapping out the process of full-blown addiction. The seven stages of addiction are:
Stage 1: Initiation
The first stage of addiction to drugs is referred to as initiation and is when the individual tries the drug or alcohol for the first time. However, just because someone tries a drug does not mean they immediately have drug abuse and addiction. Certain circumstances need to align for the individual to continue using and move to the second stage of substance use disorders.
Stage 2: Experimentation
The second stage is when they experiment with drugs. The individual has moved on from trying the substance of choice and is now taking it in different contexts, such as in social situations or self medication mental health conditions. There are little to no cravings for the substance of choice in this stage.
Stage 3: Regular Use
When the person continues to experiment, it can grow from periodic to regular use. There may be problems caused by regular drug or alcohol use such as going to work hungover. However, there is still no drug addiction at this point.
Stage 4: Risky Use
The fourth stage involves more frequent drug abuse and is impacting their life negatively. They may not realize their shift in addictive behaviors personally, but people on the outside will.
Stage 5: Dependence
The fifth stage is marked by the person’s addictive behaviors no longer being recreational, but rather they have become reliant on it. Dependence can either be physically or psychologically dependent, but either way they feel they need it in some way to continue through life. The person may have withdrawal symptoms when they stop using but do not get drug addiction treatment.
Stage 6: Addiction
When a person enters stage 6 and develops full blown addiction, their drug abuse is no longer a conscious choice. Behavior change that began during stage 4 will grow to extremes with the user likely giving up old hobbies and avoiding friends and family.
Stage 7: Crisis/Treatment
The final stage of drug addiction is what ends up being the breaking point in their life. Substance use disorders have grown out of control and there’s serious danger to their well-being, such as a fatal overdose. However, this stage of drug use disorder can also be what forces them to get addiction treatment from a drug rehab.
What Causes Addiction?
There are several factors that play into the development of substance use disorders, including physical and psychologically dependent. The biological process that causes substance abuse and addiction involve the reward pathways in the brain. When alcohol, illicit drugs, and certain prescription medications are used, they release certain feel-good chemicals in the brain and the brain then relates those feelings with substance use, and craves more. Over time, drug abuse can create a dependence and addiction to drugs. The brain then requires drugs and alcohol in order to function and when the person stops using, they develop withdrawal symptoms. They continue to use drugs and alcohol in order to stop those negative withdrawal symptoms.
People may start substance abuse for several reasons, including to self-medicate mental health conditions, trauma, or stress. They continue to rely on the drug or alcohol in order to cope, and over time develop a physical dependence and addiction. Substance abuse treatment requires treating the physical and mental aspects of addiction for successful addiction recovery.
Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment at DayBreak
DayBreak Treatment Solutions is a comprehensive drug and alcohol addiction treatment center. We offer alcohol and drug medically supervised drug detox and alcohol detox to help break the physical part of addiction to drugs and various evidence-based treatments to treat the underlying causes. Our addiction treatment programs also include dual diagnosis treatments for co occurring substance abuse and mental health which may have been the root cause of your addiction to drugs. If you or someone you love is battling drug and alcohol addiction, DayBreak Treatment Solutions can help you at any stage of drug addiction. Please give us a call today at (844) 695-0083 to start your road to addiction recovery.