Addiction is a disease that can affect anyone at any time. Like any disease, it requires professional help to heal from and recover. Similarly, the sooner an individual gets the addiction treatment they need, the sooner they can return to full health. Addiction is complicated, having both physical and mental effects requiring different approaches to help individuals recover. One of the keys to recovery is learning to identify the stages of addiction. Doing so not only allows for the proper treatment to be applied but helps in preventing the disease from taking hold and doing serious damage to an individual. Insight Recovery Centers believes knowledge is one of the strongest tools to use to prevent and address addiction.
Why Addiction Treatment Is Important
Traditionally there are five stages of addiction. At each stage, an individual can seek out support and, through addiction treatment, return to full, positive health. There is no point where someone is too far gone or not worth helping. While it may be a challenge, addiction treatment is always waiting for individuals. They just need to be made aware of it and accept the support. Therefore, it makes sense to learn to identify the stages of addiction so you or a loved one can get the necessary help.
The Five Stages of Addiction
- Experimentation: Sometimes called first use, this is the stage where an individual is first exposed to a substance, whether it’s drugs or alcohol trying it for the first time. Experimental use doesn’t necessarily lead to addiction. Often, a one-time doesn’t cause dependency or addiction. But some drugs (for instance, heroin) are so potent that even a single-use can cause addiction. Experimentation is usually a sign an individual is trying to address some other issue, usually involving mental health. If you or a loved one is experimenting with drugs or alcohol, reach out to a counselor or therapist to talk about why.
- Regular Use: As the name of this stage implies, individuals develop a routine of using drugs or alcohol. They may have set times they turn to substances. For example, only drinking on the weekends or after work, using drugs like marijuana to relax, or using prescription pills when in discomfort or to sleep. During this time, regular use is slowly becoming problematic because it is becoming a regular part of an individual’s life, suggesting a habit is being formed.
- Risky Use: This stage of addiction is when an individual exhibits what professionals call substance use disorder. Use of drugs or alcohol deeps to the point of substance abuse. Individuals fail to be able to control how much or how often they use drugs or alcohol and may begin to feel the early signs of withdrawal when they don’t use it. This is also a stage where addiction begins to take hold mentally.
- Tolerance: When an individual develops a tolerance, it means their body has become accustomed to drugs or alcohol. Tolerance means the brain and body have adjusted to the drug, and it now takes a greater amount to feel the effects of it. It is at this point that an individual turns away from using drugs or alcohol for pleasure. Instead, they abuse substances because their body is unable to function normally without the substance. They experience withdrawal symptoms when they don’t use enough of the substance regularly.
- Dependency or Addiction: This final stage of addiction is when the use of drugs or alcohol is at its height. Finding and using substances is the only concern an individual has. This extreme stage requires intervention and immediate support to heal from.
Insight Recovery Centers
Learning to identify the stages of addiction is the key to getting the right treatment for substance use disorder. At Insight Recovery Centers, our experienced and compassionate counselors and therapists use a variety of therapeutic approaches to help clients address, cope with, and ultimately overcome their addiction. Our addiction therapy treatment uses approaches such as:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Harm reduction
- Trauma-informed care
- Dual diagnosis treatment
By having all of these options and others available, we can craft a customized treatment plan to meet the unique needs of each client. So contact Insight Recovery Centers today at 703.592.6946 to learn more. Now is the time to find help and return yourself to full health.