Although it can feel like addiction appears out of nowhere, it rarely does. Instead, addiction develops over time. Seeing the stages of addiction in order can help you see exactly how drug and alcohol dependencies develop. Fortunately, the final step of the process can be recovery.
Experimentation With Addictive Substances
You can’t become addicted to any substance until you’ve tried it yourself. Therefore, the very first stage of addiction is that first use. All too often, people argue that experimentation, especially among young people, is safe. In reality, experimentation could easily be what initiates the development of a dangerous and lifelong addiction.
The only way to stop this first step from occurring is to increase education and awareness for the general public. When people know how dangerous certain substances are, they can avoid them altogether. If a person never uses cocaine, for example, they won’t ever develop a cocaine addiction.
Abusing Drugs or Alcohol
After use, the next stage in the development of an addiction is abuse. This means more than just occasional or recreational use of a dangerous substance. It’s especially easy to demonstrate this stage by looking at alcohol abuse.
The first time a person drinks alcohol, they likely won’t become addicted. Over time, however, they might begin to drink more and more. Eventually, binge drinking might be standard for them. This is abuse, and it can often be found on the pathway to alcohol addiction.
Developing an Addiction
The stages of addiction can be physical, psychological, or behavioral. In the most basic chemical sense, addiction develops within the brain. When a person uses an addictive substance, it typically floods the brain with feel-good chemicals such as dopamine. The brain will continue to want this sensation, and that’s the root of the addiction itself.
Once your brain recognizes that drugs or alcohol feel good, addiction is on its way. While overcoming that addiction can be challenging, there are effective options available.
Admitting There’s a Problem
One of the key stages of addiction is acknowledging that you have an addiction. Even when all the signs and symptoms are there, it’s hard to admit to that you have this illness, especially when there’s a stigma surrounding addiction. However, admitting that you’re struggling with addiction just means that you can start to explore recovery options and get healthy sooner.
Finding Help for Addiction
Addiction can lead to a number of devastating outcomes, but when enough becomes enough, addiction treatment, rehab, and professional support can help. The right substance abuse programs can include everything from detox to aftercare, allowing individuals to get help and support every step of the way.
Don’t Struggle Through the Stages of Addiction Alone
Whether you’re looking for a gender-responsive women’s or men’s drug rehab, professionals at Ashley Addiction Treatment Center can help. As part of our Primary Program, our professionals help you develop a comprehensive strategy can lead to lifelong recovery and freedom from addiction.
The stages of addiction don’t appear overnight, and they can’t disappear overnight, either. At Ashley Addiction Treatment Center in Havre de Grace, Maryland, you can access resources as you work toward sobriety. Take back control over your life and call 866-313-6307.