Published On: July 23, 2020
Updated On: March 28, 2023
Drug or alcohol addiction doesn’t happen instantly. No, it’s more akin to a slippery slope that one falls into without understanding where they’re headed. This is how people become ensnared. Addiction sneaks in the back door, under cover of night, to ease a person gradually into a world of hopelessness and despair.
Read on to understand the five stages of addiction:
In the first stage of addiction, initiation, the individual tries the substance for the first time. This is the introductory stage. A person may experience peer pressure or become curious about substances at this point. While not addicted, this stage puts an individual at high risk of experimentation in the following stage.
The second stage of substance abuse is experimentation which can be challenging to recognize as dangerous. This could mean using drugs one time at a party or drinking copiously with friends on Friday nights.
This is the stage where addicts think they’re fine. They can quit; they aren’t addicted; they’re just experimenting and only do it “socially.” This stage is the gateway to more frequent substance use.
By this stage, drug or alcohol use has moved from occasional, only at parties or special occasions, to everyday life. You’ll probably notice your loved one’s personality change at this stage. This is because the effects of the drugs are taking over their natural personality and chemically altering how they think and behave. The serious signs of addiction begin to become apparent to friends and family.
This is difficult to discern as everyone’s definition of risky behavior differs slightly. However, this stage will bring out more frightening behavioral and mental health changes. You might notice a person with an ordinarily sweet nature becoming harsh, secretive, and demanding.
During this stage, substance abuse becomes an accepted crutch in the user’s everyday life. This is when the reality of drug or alcohol abuse becomes obvious to others and sets in as a real issue.
By this stage, a user’s body has become wholly dependent on their substance of choice. They can’t think, move, or function without their drug and are usually in denial about the reality of their situation. This is when things sometimes escalate to the point of violence.
During this stage, users will steal to substantiate their habit because they’re desperate to get the drugs their body now depends on to function. This stage is typically when users find themselves behind bars because they have stolen from too many people or have committed a crime outside their family unit to feed their habits.
The dependence stage is when the problem can no longer be ignored. It’s a prominent issue that must be dealt with before the user can do additional harm to themselves or others.
The last stage is full-on addiction. By now, your loved one is merely a shell of the person they once were. They have likely quit their job, hanging around with a completely different crowd, not behaving like themselves, and doing things you would never have imagined they would do in a million years – all to feed their habit.
By this stage, your loved one needs serious help to fight their substance addiction. It’s no longer something they can ignore. They’re stuck and need trained professional help to overcome their situation.
Once addiction has hit its highest point, a person will experience “rock bottom.” This is where the addiction can no longer be ignored. The person’s relationships, health, and professional life are at high risk.
Many people are given a wake-up call at this point and see the need to reach out for help. They can seek treatment that fits their needs, including support for withdrawal symptoms, and begin the road to recovery.
Choose Soul Surgery for Recovery
Thankfully, your loved one’s story doesn’t have to end with the addiction stage. They can achieve full recovery through our addiction treatment programs at Soul Surgery.
We understand why addicts behave the way they do, and we know that your loved one is caught in a vicious cycle that they too desperately want out of. Our goal is to break the cycle and promote addiction recovery. Contact us today to learn more.