The 5 Stages of Addiction [Infographic]

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The effects of alcohol and drug use and the progression of addiction varies for each person. The risk of addiction is high with continued drug use. Although, there are some individuals who can use without developing an addiction because of their level of use and how their bodies react. Look at these five stages of addiction to learn more.

Stage 1: The First Use Begins the Stages of Addiction

Using alcohol or drugs for the first time is the first stage of addiction. Experimenting with drugs may not seem bad, but some substances can cause dependence or addiction with just one use. The initial use could have other consequences as well. Some individuals underestimate their level of intoxication and may drive while under the influence, which can be dangerous for them as well as others.

It’s hard to detect drug use at this point or to be able to tell whether it will become more serious. Those who are concerned about loved ones using should find out why they’re using if possible. They should also try to watch how often and how much they’re loved one is using as well.

Stage 2: Social Use Becomes a Regular Activity

Drug use becomes a regular thing for people who do it in social situations. Many start to use one or more combinations of drugs as part of their daily activities. This is hard for others to see when the users continue to function as normal. Functioning drug users slowly show signs of substance abuse, such as:

  • Appearing sick in the morning
  • Drinking or using more than intended
  • Losing interest in hobbies
  • Making excuses for using

Although using in social situations is common, not all users do this. Some people become more private and isolated, only using while they’re alone.

Stage 3: Binge Drinking and Substance Abuse Grow

In the next stage of addiction, individuals begin to binge drink and abuse other substances. Although slightly different, these behaviors are risky.

Binge drinking is the heavy consumption of alcohol in spurts. Rather than having three drinks every day, for example, binge drinkers may consume three in an hour and then go on to drink even more throughout the day.

Substance abuse is the use of drugs to the point that it seriously hampers health, social function, and work performance. Binge patterns are common for individuals who abuse drugs. They might only use on weekends, but the effects interfere with the rest of their lives.

Stage 4: Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Develop

Individuals who continue using substances can develop alcoholism and drug dependence. This means that their bodies and minds begin to rely on whatever they’re taking. Psychological dependence refers to users needing drugs to function or feel well. Physical dependence refers to their bodies building a tolerance to drugs and experiencing withdrawal when individuals aren’t able to drink or use.

With dependence comes obvious, serious changes in behavior and increased danger. The best way to help loved ones who develop dependence is to get them treatment. However, they have to want treatment for it to work.

Stage 5: Continued Use Becomes Drug Addiction

People who continue to use alcohol or drugs past the point of dependence develop a drug addiction. This is a disease that involves changes in the chemical balance of the brain. This imbalance makes it impossible for users to control their substance use even when they know the consequences.

The longer that people have addictions to substances, the harder it is for them to recover. However, it is possible. Recovery is a lifelong process for individuals struggling with addiction. However, the disease is manageable. Those with drug or alcohol addictions need professional treatment to begin this process.

Drug Treatment Programs at The Hills Treatment Center for All Stages of Addiction

If you or a loved one need treatment for addiction, you can get everything that you need in luxury. With a central location in Los Angeles, California, The Hills Treatment Center is a full-service detox and rehab clinic. You can expect confidential and private care from our staff.

Along with allowing pets during treatment, our staff includes a world-class chef and massage professionals. Some of your options for drug treatment programs  include:

  • Intensive outpatient
  • Partial hospitalization
  • Residential
  • Sober living

Don’t let your use of drugs progress through the stages of addiction. If you have an addiction, you can overcome it with our help. Call The Hills Treatment Center at 844-915-0287 to begin your recovery.

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