What Are the Stages of Addiction

a man drinking water thinking about the stages of addiction

Substance addiction does not happen overnight. There are stages of addiction that occur over time, from casual to recreational use and, finally, dependency. During this time, the addicted person may change behavior and become less responsible. His or her habits may lead to problems in their relationships, workplace, and finances.

At worst, substance abuse leads to serious health issues that can culminate in chronic illnesses or hospitalization or death due to overdose. However, you can get addiction treatment for yourself at any point in the process. Learn about the stages of addiction and how Kemah Palms can help you by calling us today today

Stage 1: Experimentation

The majority of people struggling with addiction don’t start with the desire to be addicted to a particular substance. The first of the stages of addiction is curiosity and experimentation. You are offered cocaine at a party, and, curious to experience new things or nervous about not fitting in, you try it. Regardless of the reason, you don’t usually intend to continue using the drug more than a few times.

Some people get addicted while trying to cure themselves. Someone with chronic pain may start using opioids for pain relief and increase the dosage until they are addicted. During experimentation, a person uses the substances occasionally and voluntarily. You will feel like you have complete control and can even stop using for days, weeks, or months with no effects.

Stage 2: Regular Usage

Over time, users start to incorporate the substance into their regular routine, moving to the next stages of addiction, habitual drug use. This stage might look like self-medicating on prescription painkillers when injured. Alternatively, you may start going to molly parties every week or taking methamphetamine every time you need to stay up late to study or finish a work/school assignment.

At this stage, you’re not yet dependent on the drug for normal physical or psychological functions, but your brain is rewiring itself. It is learning to respond to the drug’s reward loop, which causes a range of symptoms, including:

  • Relaxation or stress reduction
  • Weight loss
  • Pain relief
  • Better sleeping
  • Pleasurable highs

You still have control and can stop using, but you probably won’t because you like the feelings the substance induces.

Stage 3: Risk-Taking Usage

At this stage, substance usage has become a problem. Your career, relationships, or financial health begin to deteriorate. Substance usage makes you do things you would never have before, like driving under the influence or selling belongings to buy drugs. Your loved ones have noticed and may already have recommended that you get drug addiction treatment.

You may be aware that you have a problem, particularly when the consequences hit home, such as getting fired or breaking up with a partner. Teenagers are especially prone to risk-taking behavior as a result of drug use. Some may outgrow it as they age, but parents should never underestimate the addictive potential of drugs and substances.

Stage 4: Dependence

Dependence is where all the above stages of addiction have been leading. Your brain craves the feelings generated when you use drugs, and now you need them to function.

As you grow more tolerant of smaller dosages, you need to increase dosages to achieve the same high. Depending on the drug, you may experience physical or psychological withdrawal symptoms if you don’t take it. You may need a medical detox program and drug rehab in South Houston to kick your drug habit.

You Can Get Help at All Stages of Addiction with Kemah Palms

If you feel like your drug or substance use is getting out of hand, reach out to a loved one or rehab program near you, such as Kemah Palms. Don’t wait until you’ve gone through all the stages of addiction and hit rock bottom. While your substance abuse can be contained, some effects of your actions when high cannot be reversed.

At Kemah Palms, we can handle all your addiction, detox, and rehab needs. Contact Kemah Palms today, and let’s set you on a path towards getting control over your life.