Millions of Americans suffer from drug and substance-related disorders every year. Studies reveal that young adults account for the most significant percentage of substance use disorder (SUD) per age group. However, even minors and older adults suffer from the epidemic. Addiction does not happen overnight, so it’s essential to learn about the stages of addiction to save a life.
What Are the Stages of Addiction?
There are different phases that a person goes through before becoming a chronic substance abuser. Each step has its distinct symptoms. Five stages mark the development of addiction. However, there are two additional stages – the sixth and seventh stage represents SUD and treatment, respectively.
First Stage: Initiation
Many Americans try substances such as alcohol at a young age. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), several million people in the US aged 12 years and above abuse legal or illegal drugs for the first time out of curiosity.
The initiation stage mostly occurs during the teenage years when group influences, such as peer pressure, have significant control over an individual’s life. At this stage, individuals abuse substances mainly because their peers are doing it. Adolescents also get into drugs at this stage because the part of the brain responsible for decision-making is still developing. As such, they are vulnerable to making wrong decisions.
Second Stage: Experimentation
The second in the stages of addiction begins when people narrow the use of drugs to specific occasions. Such situations include parties for teens or stress-relieving moments for adults. At this stage, users tie substance use to social events that they view as fun and inconsequential.
Users can control the intake of substances because they are conscious of the risks. Even when people use vast amounts of the drug, they can still make rational decisions. For example, it is possible to binge drink without behaving weirdly at this stage.
Third Stage: Regular Use
If you reach this level, you become a frequent user of the substance. There is a predictable pattern of how you use the drug, but a daily habit may not develop. You will start using the substance alone, unlike in the past where you took it in the company of friends or peers. Most individuals start getting worried if they don’t get the drug at this stage.
Fourth Stage: Risky Use
The drug starts encroaching into your life at this stage; you will experience its adverse effects in your daily life. For example, you may find yourself driving under the influence, increasing the risks of causing accidents and run-ins with the law. Also, your performance at work or school will dwindle, and you will strain interpersonal relationships.
Fifth Stage: Dependence
Those who surpass the other stages of addiction fall deep into dependence. Besides, you will develop tolerance to the substance, meaning you will need dangerously high doses to achieve pleasurable effects. You also become psychologically dependent on the drug. Failure to take the drug at this point will push you to overwhelming withdrawal effects.
Substance Abuse Treatment at Midwest Recovery Center
Several symptoms indicate when someone is suffering from a SUD, including:
- Inability to survive without the drugs
- Taking uncontrollable doses of the drug
- Avoiding friends and family
- No longer enjoying productive activities and hobbies
- Not seeing a problem with weird behaviors
The good news is that there are several treatment programs available for your disorder. At a rehab facility, you will access various treatment options, such as:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Family therapy program
- Group therapy program
- Men’s rehab center
- Women’s rehab center
It takes time before someone advances through the stages of addiction. When you discover the problem in time, you can seek professional help from our addiction treatment center in Ohio before the habit leads to grave consequences. Contact Midwest Recovery Center at 833.627.0039 for more details.