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What are the 4 Stages of Addiction?

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What leads a person down the path of drug addiction is different for everyone. However, most agree there are several factors involved when discussing the risks associated with addiction and why people develop an issue.

Harmful Consequences Caused by Addiction

According to the National Institute of Health “Biology of Addiction”:

People with addiction lose control over their actions. They crave and seek out drugs, alcohol, or other substances no matter the cost—even at the risk of damaging friendships, hurting family, or losing jobs. What is it about addiction that makes people behave in such destructive ways? And why is it so hard to quit? (NIH)

Addiction is a chronic and progressive relapsing brain disease characterized by the inability to stop using drugs despite any harmful consequences they may cause. It affects people from all walks of life. What are the 4 Stages of Addiction?

Four Main Stages of Addiction Growth

When it comes to drug use and addiction, there are four main stages. Those that experience the first two stages may or may not develop an addiction, but when someone reaches the third stage, the likelihood of developing a full-blown addiction is significant. Stage 1: Experimentation – The first stage of addiction is experimentation. Everyone that uses drugs starts at this stage. Experimentation is defined as using drugs voluntarily without experiencing any negative consequences or effects. Drinking or using drugs as a way to have fun or be socially acceptable is very common. Some may drink or use it to cope with a hard situation. For some individuals, experimentation is the only stage they will ever experience. They may experiment in the younger years of their life and never pick up another drink or drug. However, not everyone moves on to the next stage of addiction, which is regular use. Stage 2: Regular Use – The second stage of addiction is regular use. At this stage, an individual is usually using regularly to cope with an underlying mental illness like depression, anxiety, or trauma. Some people may even have physical pain they are using drugs or drinking to cope with. At this stage of addiction, risky behaviors will develop, like driving under the influence or violence. Regular use can also start to affect a person’s job or home life. However, with regular use, some individuals may still be able to stop on their own. Stage 3: Risky Use/Abuse – The third stage of addiction is risky to use/abuse. During this stage, the individual is drinking or using drugs despite any negative consequences it is causing. Cravings appear, the person is getting to where they are extremely depressed or tired if they can’t get their drug of choice, and it becomes more difficult to stop using. In this stage, drugs, and alcohol become a priority in the person’s life, and the beginning stages of addiction have now started. Stage 4: Drug Addiction and Dependency – The fourth stage of addiction is dependency and drug addiction. During this stage, an individual is completely dependent on drugs or alcohol or will experience severe withdrawal symptoms. Compulsive use of drugs, extreme cravings, and willingness to go to any lengths to get their drug of choice, even if it means breaking the law or hurting others, is experienced in the fourth stage. Addiction affects personal relationships, physical and mental health, finances, family, and a person’s job. Finally, at this stage of addiction, detox and treatment are necessary to begin recovery. At any stage of addiction, help is necessary. Especially if you’ve reached the point where you cannot stop on your own, and it’s hurting your life. Recovery is possible, but without treatment, addiction will lead to death.

Start Treatment for Addiction at Evoke Wellness at Miramar

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, our addiction specialists are available around the clock to assist you. Evoke Wellness at Miramar offers cutting-edge addiction treatment. We offer a safe environment and treat our clients with respect. We specialize in making sure our patients have the most comfortable detox process possible. You no longer have to continue to suffer out of fear, let us help you get on the path to sobriety. Give us a call today, all calls are free and confidential, with helplines open around the clock.