Understand The Stages Of Drug & Alcohol Addiction
Addiction is not sudden, although some people are more susceptible than others and so their timescale will be quicker, there are so many roads that lead to addiction, and everyone is different, therefore, there is no definitive span of time that can be pointed to. There are, however, four main stages of drug and alcohol addiction and these are experimentation, regular use, high-risk use, and addiction. Let’s have a look at these stages and try to understand the differences between them and how one can lead on to the next.
What To Watch For
Each one of these stages will display symptoms of addiction development, but it is only going to be noticeable if you are keen on what to look for. The most important symptoms that you should watch for include excessive experimentation, consistent use in daily life, changes in behavior, physical side effects that represent a growing dependence and, of course, a loved one’s inability to stop using.
By remembering all five stages of addiction, you can keep a watchful eye during the summer and work to intercept an addiction from developing in yourself or a loved one before it is too late.
What Are The 4 Stages Of Addiction?
Understanding the four stages of addiction is a critical step in recognizing that you or your loved ones may have a problem which you or they should seek for help. Each stage clearly describes the process of recognizing and admitting the problem, preparing for addiction treatment, and dealing with life after treatment of alcohol and drug abuse. It’s an integrated theory that’s compatible with most evidence-based and holistic treatments, like the 12-step program and behavior therapy. If, after reading this article, you feel as if you or a loved one may be exhibiting symptoms of addiction, please reach out to a member of our team here at Flow Recovery Retreat regarding alcohol or drug addiction treatment in Thailand.
Disclaimer: The information given on this website, and on the Flow Recovery Retreat website, is not to be taken as professional medical advice, it is for educational and information purposes only. It is not to be taken as a replacement for the services offered by the Flow Recovery Retreat or any other qualified medical practitioner.
1. Stage One: Experimentation
These days, experimentation with drugs and alcohol is commonplace, and no one thinks when they take that first drink or smoke that first joint that anything bad will come of it. In fact, the classification of this stage is ‘the voluntary use of drugs without experiencing any negative social or legal consequences. It’s this lack of consequence which is dangerous, it’s a one-time thing, nothing bad will come of it, right? And for some that’s true, they can take or leave it. However, there are those for whom it is an opening door to addiction, their drug of choice will keep them feeling good and will solve all their problems, or so they believe; this leads on to the next stage. It leads to regular use.
2. Stage Two: Regular Use
This is possibly the most dangerous stage, a fairly high proportion of the population will use drugs, especially alcohol, on a regular basis. It’s almost seen as normal, expected even. Many people will meet up with friends and have a couple of drinks with no issues, and no negative consequences, but for some, the risk of becoming reliant on their drug of choice is at its most critical point. It becomes routine, part of everyday life and it’s generally at this point that people start taking risks, like for example driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs. At this stage, too, it’s quite easy to think that there’s no problem, you can quit any time, that it will be easy. Here too, starts an element of guilt or shame, of hiding their problem or making light of it and making excuses. This leads to the next stage.
3. Stage 3: High-Risk Use
The cusp between these two stages is a narrow one. The definition of high-risk use is that the consequences of the use of drugs or alcohol begin to have negative consequences, be they social or legal, but their use is carried on despite this. What was a short-lived fix of escapism becomes a way of life, a dependence. The cravings are like trying to sate an unquenchable thirst, they become oppressive and insufferable. The high-risk elements are the risks you are willing to take to try to gratify your need. Driving whilst drunk, operating machinery while high, taking your children to school whilst under the influence. All of these things you would not have even considered previously but you now try to justify them to yourself and as a result, many aspects of your normal life begin to suffer, like your job and your relationships.
4. Stage 4: Addiction
The final stage, addiction, is the absolute dependence on the drug, whatever it is, and you feel like you cannot live without it. And in many respects that’s nearly true, your body has become dependent, and any abstinence causes physical symptoms such as shakes, sweats, tremors, and other frantic behavior. Much of the time, you will be under the influence of your drug, it’s now no longer an escape but a necessity. At this stage, you feel like you wouldn’t be able to go without, even if your life depended on it, which, of course, it does.
Fortunately, no matter which stage of addiction you’re in, help is available. Addiction is a progressive illness that only gets worse when left untreated. Once you’re ready to admit that you have a problem and want to embark on your journey to recovery, please feel free to reach out to us at Flow Recovery Retreat.