There are stages of addiction. It doesn’t just all happen at once. No one becomes addicted after their first sip of wine. There have been many people who have claimed after the first hit of a certain drug that they knew that was it for them. But that was not the first time they tried alcohol or drugs. There were stages to get them to that point. While most people are familiar with the first stage, almost everyone has tried something when they were young, only those with an addiction problem will make it past the third stage. Knowing that there are stages of addiction and understanding that progressing past the initial stages will lead to a more serious relationship with substances, allows you to keep track of where to draw the line or, in some cases, blow right past it.
If you have moved into the later stages of addiction you may want to reach out to a substance abuse treatment program and get the help you need. Contact New Horizons Recovery Centers at 267.435.3134 for information.
The 7 Stages of Addiction
An addiction is a long process that takes place over time, not overnight. Just like many things in life, there is a beginning, middle, and end. The seven stages of addiction are:
- Initiation – This is where you try a substance for the first time. Your first beer, your first cigarette, your first hit off a joint, it all starts somewhere. Most people with an addiction will have made that first move before they turned 18. And by 20 they have already developed a substance use disorder with their drug of choice.
- Experimentation – This is when you turn to alcohol or drugs to relieve stress or are in a social situation where others are using. There is no dependency at this stage and if your use never moves past experimentation then there is little to be concerned about unless you are in your teen years and your brain is still developing.
- Regular use – Regular use does not mean daily use, at least not for everyone. It may simply mean having a few beers on the weekend. But those few beers are something you would miss if you didn’t have them. Rather than dependency, this is a pattern of behavior forming. A mental reliance on your drug of choice has begun.
- Risky use – This is where the behavior becomes noticeable to where it has become a problem. Showing up to work with a hangover may happen in stage three but now this type of behavior is becoming a regular thing. At this stage, you are trying to hide your use and have become ashamed and embarrassed enough to worry about what people think of your substance use.
- Dependence – You now have a serious problem. You know it. Others know it. A psychological dependence may develop before a physical one. Marijuana is more psychologically dependent than physical even for people who smoke every day. Prescription medication is a drug that people become psychologically dependent on before physical dependence takes over.
- Addiction – Once you have an addiction it is no longer a conscious choice to use drugs. You can’t stop yourself even if you know there will be negative consequences. At this point you may not be fully aware of your behavior anymore, the decline being what it is.
- Crisis/treatment – The choice now is either to enter a treatment facility or continue the downward spiral which will lead to physical ailments like cancer and organ failure and, possibly, jail if you get behind the wheel of a car.
Reach Out to New Horizons Recovery Centers Today
Addiction does not happen overnight. There are seven stages that get progressively worse if you do not curtail your use or end it. The song lyric may go “the first cut is the deepest” but with addiction, as many cuts as there are along the way, the last cut is the deepest by far. Hopefully, you never have to experience that stage. But if you are reading this, you are probably on to stage four or beyond. At New Horizons Recovery Centers in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania we don’t care what stage you are at, just that we can offer you help if you’re willing to help yourself. Our facilities have been recently renovated and we would like to make space for you. We can be reached online or at 267.435.3134 for you to take the first step on your journey to wellness and recovery.