Many people will never move on from phase 1 experimentation, but most people who progress beyond phase 2 will in fact develop an addiction. Here's a breakdown of the 4 stages of drug addiction so you can learn to identify the symptoms and signs of addiction or, if you've already progressed, what to do about it. While it may not necessarily lead to full-blown addiction, experimenting with drugs is in fact considered to be the first stage of addiction. Especially among young people, experimentation is often accepted or even encouraged, but it's important to remember that experimentation isn't always harmless.
Especially if teens have certain risk factors for addiction, experimenting can be an easy path to a longer future of substance use disorders. During the fourth stage, the addict has reached a point that he would never have imagined when he began experimenting. If they are able to identify their problem, they are rarely willing or able to take steps to correct it. During phase 4, support from peers and family is important, but it is also a serious emotional strain and sometimes even impossible.
With the exception of those who accidentally fall into addiction (usually as a result of taking a prescription drug), substance addiction follows a formula. What starts out as fun or relaxation can end up being traumatic and even deadly. It's helpful to know these stages and use knowledge to prevent the ultimate outcome of addiction. Very few people set out to become addicts.
A more common scenario is for a friend or family member to offer the user a substance, usually with the stated intention that using the drug is fun or useful. A candidate may view this case of getting high as something that happens only once, but the first time may be what opens the door to the downward spiral of addiction. Peer pressure is the main culprit behind this type of experimentation. Young people, in particular, are in a crucial developmental period when it comes to the need to feel accepted by their peers.
However, even though teens have a reputation for letting themselves be carried away by a crowd, even adults are not immune to this pressure. Measurable stress levels tend to increase, for all of us, when we realize that we are not accepted within a group. Those who don't have a good defense against social ostracism often use an offered medication to feel included. Others will start taking a medication offered as a means of relieving physical discomfort.
While supposedly safe when taken as prescribed, pain relievers used without a doctor's prescription are currently the main factor in developing addiction. An overwhelming number of current heroin users cite prescription drug misuse as the starting point of their opiate addiction. At this next stage on the path to addiction, something that was previously considered recreational or temporary becomes a lifestyle. The user discovers that life is not as comfortable or satisfying without using the substance and begins to use it as a crutch to overcome everyday life.
Experiences, if considered without the drug, may be considered boring and consumers may not see any viable options for improving their sobriety circumstances. With a full-fledged addiction, the user has become comfortable with the changes listed above. Less time is spent on self-contemplation, since most thoughts focus on how to get the next high. An addict may not even look like the person you met before.
In addiction, users will feel that they cannot abstain from using the substance. They may decide to stop smoking, only to disappoint themselves by using it again. They may be aware of the misery of their loved ones, but their concern cannot take precedence over the need to use. Friends and family can take a back seat and partner with others who consume and supply the medication.
Someone in the throes of drug addiction may begin to neglect their basic needs. Toilet habits may deteriorate, meals may be skipped and it may become impossible to sleep without the influence of the medication that dictates the schedule. Jobs can be lost, resulting in a loss of income. Having no income can contribute to increased criminal behavior and the search for charities, and can become a revolving door to sustained poverty.
SEO Specialist in Sri Lanka Just like there are stages of addiction, there are stages on the road to getting out of addiction. The recovering addict must take steps that include recognizing the problem, developing a plan to stop smoking, and putting the plan into action. When the addict is ready to make changes, there are a multitude of useful treatment resources available. A medical detox is the safest and most effective way to end chemical dependence on a substance and develop the tools necessary for lifelong sobriety.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and looking for a detox in New York or New Jersey, Ascendant is here to help. Our drug treatment and detoxification center in New York has caring, experienced professionals who can help you get your life back on track. All calls are kept 100% confidential. The second stage of the addiction process occurs when a person begins to turn their use of alcohol or drugs into a habit.
While your use may have started for recreational, relaxation, or self-medication purposes, at this stage, your substance use is necessary to get through the day. At this stage, the individual may even view life without using addictive substances as boring, less interesting, or less rewarding. In reality, substances can worsen feelings of anxiety or depression over time and cause people to become less interested in activities they once enjoyed. The final stage is full-blown addiction; when the person no longer questions the increased use of a substance and is comfortable with the increased danger, risk and challenges that may have introduced into their life.
Most of the person's thoughts will focus on how and when they can get high again. They may neglect basic hygiene, skip meals and lose sleep. Your relationships and your work will suffer. It's common for a person to make several attempts to stop using drugs or alcohol before they recognize that they have an addiction.
Once they have been officially diagnosed with their addiction, the most successful path to recovery is professional detoxification and research-backed treatment. There are a variety of tools and treatments that can help someone break the cycle of addiction, from cognitive behavioral therapy to peer support groups, all with the goal of helping the person develop the tools needed to control the chronic condition that is addiction. Saeed is a specialist in psychiatry with more than 40 years of experience in the field of medicine. He received training in General Psychiatry at the Medical Branch of the University of Texas, where he was selected as Medical Director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
He currently serves as medical director at Into Action Recovery Centers. Full Bio Into Action is an addiction treatment center specializing in personalized treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, conveniently located in Houston, Texas and led by experienced master's counselors and medical professionals. Some people will be able to enter the regular use phase without developing a dependency or addiction. These people will be able to stop using drugs on their own.
The problem with regular use is that the risk of substance abuse increases significantly during this stage. It also increases risky behaviors, such as driving under the influence of alcohol, unexplained violence, and symptoms of depression and anxiety. An addiction doesn't form spontaneously overnight. Instead, it is the result of a long process of repeated substance abuse that gradually changes the way a person views a drug and the way their body reacts to it.
This process is linear and progresses the same for each person, although the duration of each step of that progression can vary greatly depending on the person, the dose and the type of drug being used. Since this process follows a pattern, it is possible to divide it into the stages of an addiction, starting with the person's first use and up to the addiction itself. While there is some debate about the number of stages of addiction, seven is one of the most popular numbers to chart the process. Understanding each stage and the behaviors associated with each of them is a valuable way to identify if a person is at risk of developing an addiction or if they have already developed one.
As each stage progresses, so do the dangers associated with using the drug, as the ability to stop using it becomes much more difficult. If the circumstances coincide and the person continues to take the drug, they may soon find themselves in the second stage of addiction. In the experimental phase, the user has stopped testing the drug on his own and is now taking it in different contexts to see how it affects his life. In general, at this stage, the drug is related to social actions, such as experiencing pleasure or relaxing after a long day.
For teens, it's used to improve party environments or manage the stress of homework. Adults primarily start experimenting, either for pleasure or to combat stress. During phase 2, there are few cravings or no desire to consume the medication and the individual will continue to make a conscious decision whether to use it or not. They can use it in an impulsive or controlled manner, and the frequency of both options depends mainly on the nature of the person and the reason for taking the medication.
At this time there is no dependency, and the person can still easily stop the medication if they so choose. As a person continues to experiment with a substance, its use normalizes and goes from periodic to regular use. This doesn't mean that they use it every day, but rather that there is some kind of pattern associated with it. The pattern varies from person to person, but in some cases it may be taken every weekend or during periods of emotional turmoil such as loneliness, boredom or stress.
At this point, social media users can start taking their chosen medication on their own and, in turn, eliminate the social element of their decision. The use of the drug can also be problematic at this time and have a negative impact on the person's life. For example, a person may start showing up to work hungover or high after a night of drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana. Right now there is no addiction yet, but it is likely that the person thinks about the substance they choose most often and has begun to develop a mental dependence on it.
When this happens, quitting smoking becomes more difficult, but it's still a manageable goal without outside help. With phase 4, the person's regular consumption has continued to increase and now often has a negative impact on their life. While a periodic hangover at work or at an event is acceptable for phase 3, in phase 4 cases like that become common and their effects become evident. Right now, many drinkers are arrested for drunk driving, and all users are likely to see their work or school performance noticeably affected.
Frequent use can also cause financial difficulties where there were none before. The feature of entering phase 5 is that a person's drug use is no longer recreational or medical, but rather because it depends on the substance of their choice. This is sometimes considered a broad stage that includes the formation of a tolerance and a dependency, but by now, the individual should have already developed a tolerance. As a result, this stage should only be marked by a dependency, which can be physical, psychological, or both.
In the case of physical dependence, the individual has abused the drug of choice long enough for their body to have adapted to their presence and learned to trust it. If use is stopped abruptly, the body will react with abstinence. This is characterized by a negative rebound full of uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous symptoms, which must be managed by medical professionals. In most cases, people choose to continue using it, rather than seeking help, because it is the easiest and fastest way to escape abstinence.
With some medications, especially prescription drugs, the individual may enter this stage through psychological dependence before a physical one forms. When this happens, the individual believes they need the medication in order to function like a normal person. In this case, the drug usually becomes a survival mechanism for difficult times and then extends to cases where it shouldn't really be needed. For example, a patient taking painkillers may start taking too much medication because they perceive moderate pain as severe pain.
In any case, the person takes the medication because they have come to the conclusion that they need it in some way to continue for life. Once this mentality takes hold, addiction is almost certain. Dependence and addiction are words that are sometimes used interchangeably and, although the words are similar and are frequently related to drug use, they are different. One of the biggest differences is that when a person develops an addiction, their drug use ceases to be a conscious choice.
Until that time, it's still at least a shadow of one. At this stage, people feel that they can no longer live without access to the medication they have chosen and, as a result, lose full control of their choices and actions. The behavioral changes that began during phase 4 will become extreme, as the user is likely to abandon old hobbies and actively avoid friends and family. They may compulsively lie about their drug use when asked and quickly become agitated if their lifestyle is threatened in any way.
Users, at this point, can also be so disconnected from their old lives that they don't recognize how their behaviors are harmful and the effects they have had on their relationships. Another term for addiction is a substance use disorder, which is an accurate description because it is a chronic illness that will present lifelong risks. Even after a person stops consuming a medication and has undergone treatment, there is always a danger of relapse. This means that one must commit to a complete lifestyle change to maintain one's life of recovery.
The final stage of addiction is the breaking point in a person's life. Once here, the individual's addiction has become far beyond their control and now represents a serious danger to their well-being. It is sometimes referred to as the crisis phase, because at this point the addict is at greatest risk of suffering a fatal overdose or other dramatic life event. Of course, although the crisis is the worst case scenario for this stage, there is also a positive alternative that can be found in this case.
Whether on their own or as a result of a crisis, many people seek help from a rehabilitation center for the first time to begin receiving treatment. As a result, this stage can mark the end of your addiction, as well as the beginning of a new life without drugs or alcohol, full of hope for the future. Have you been able to identify with any of the seven stages discussed today? If so, it may be time to seek professional help at an addiction treatment center. At Brookdale Addiction Recovery, we can provide you with the individualized care you deserve, through our patient-centered approach to treatment.
As each patient enters our program, our medical and clinical team thoroughly evaluates them to develop comprehensive treatment plans tailored to their needs. Sometimes there is a perception that addiction is something that exists in a person's character or does not exist. This idea may lead one to believe that a person struggling with addiction to a substance may have once drunk or tried an illicit drug and immediately became addicted. However, the reality is a little more complex than that.
As defined by the American Society for Addiction Medicine, addiction is a chronic brain disease that affects brain reward, pleasure, memory, and motivation. Like many chronic diseases, it doesn't just happen one day. Often, there are several circumstances that, over time, cause a person who would otherwise enjoy the occasional consumption of alcohol or avoid substance abuse to become addicted to drugs or alcohol. The process of developing addiction in this case tends to occur in a series of stages and, like other chronic diseases, often turns into a cycle of addiction, treatment, or abstinence and relapse.
The multiple stages of addiction can occur over a short period of time, or they may take months or even years to develop. A person who has only occasionally drunk may, over the years, develop a habit that can develop into alcoholism. If you think you or a loved one may be struggling with addiction, let us hear your story and help you determine the path to treatment. Sometimes, these stages can occur simultaneously.
For example, in the case of illicit substances used for “euphoric”, even one use is considered abuse. Some of these illicit substances can also cause tolerance in one or two uses. However, in most cases, all of these steps are part of the chronic cycle of addiction. There are many reasons why the person who ends up struggling with an addiction might try the substance early on.
It can be as seemingly benign as getting a prescription to control pain or a mental health problem, as culturally typical as trying a first drink at age 21, or as insidious as being pressured by friends or family members to try illicit drugs. Regardless of how the initial use occurs, it is the first step toward addiction. However, even these risk factors will not necessarily lead to the high-risk person developing a substance use disorder such as addiction. Other contributing factors are often involved, including later stages of addiction.
When a person has used a prescription medication or has abused other substances for an extended period of time, the substance may cause changes in the brain that cause tolerance, a condition described in Merck Manuals as one in which the original dose or use of the substance no longer produces the same physical or mental effect. As a result, the person using the substance may increase the dose or frequency of use to try to recover the original result. For a while, this could work. Then, over time, tolerance to this new dose occurs and the person increases again, causing a progression to heavy substance abuse.
However, if the person has been using a medication to treat another condition and becomes dependent on that medication to feel good regardless of the condition being treated, it may be a type of dependency that leads to addiction. In general, experiencing 2 to 3 of these symptoms is considered a mild substance use disorder. Reporting 4 to 5 of them leads to the diagnosis of a moderate disorder. If the person has 6 or more of the symptoms, this is considered to indicate a serious substance use disorder or addiction.
A person may make several attempts to stop using a substance before realizing that addiction is a factor. However, when an addiction is diagnosed, it is possible to interrupt this cycle of addiction, withdrawal, and relapse through professional treatment backed by research that demonstrates your ability to help. Multiple methods, including cognitive and behavioral therapies, group peer support, and other physical and mental health treatments, can encourage the person to develop tools to manage this chronic and recurring condition. Like medications and therapies used to treat asthma and diabetes, addiction rehabilitation treatments are designed to help a person learn to control a chronic substance use disorder and reduce the likelihood of relapsing into drug use.
With certified and experienced motivation and help, these people can learn to interrupt the cycle of addiction and move toward sustained abstinence, which heralds recovery and results in a more positive future. It's also important to recognize that addiction doesn't just affect the addict himself, but everyone involved in his life. Understanding how the brain and body react differently throughout the different stages of addiction can help you avoid going too far toward a full-blown addiction. The American Society for Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines addiction as “a treatable chronic medical illness involving complex interactions between brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual's life experiences.”.
We offer treatment for chemical dependencies such as cocaine addiction, drug addiction and alcoholism. Whether a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol, addiction should be considered as a chronic illness similar to diabetes or a heart disease that can be controlled but will not be cured. . .