Addiction can affect people from all walks of life. Whether the occasional glass of wine became a daily occurence, or that first time trying illicit drugs caused immediate dependence, not everyone can stop using on their own. The stages of addiction can range mild to life-threatening if a person continues to use. And since most people who use substances do want to stop, it’s not uncommon to wonder what stage is considered too late to recover from an addiction. Here’s everything you need to know about the stages of addiction and whether it’s too late to recover.
What are the stages of addiction?
There are a total of five stages of addiction. These stages are experimentation, using a substance regularly, risky use, becoming dependent and addiction.
The first stage of addiction, experimentation, is when someone uses a substance for the first time. Being curious is a part of human nature, and this especially true when it comes to the people in their teens. Trying something new is essentially allowing someone to step outside of their comfort zone. This is how an addiction can start. For example, a young college student who is attending a party may be offered a drug, such as heroin or cocaine, or an alcoholic beverage. No matter what substance is used, the effects they can have on a person is euphoric. Substances that give people this high include opioids, ecstasy, cannabis, antidepressants and alcohol. In some instances, the effects of a substance may not even occur. If it does have an effect, people may be inclined to give it another go, simply because they want to experience that feeling of tranquility.
Using Substances Regularly
The second stage of addiction is when someone starts to use a substance on a routine basis. While your usage has noticeably increased, you still have control over it. However, this is the stage where your brain starts to adapt to the substance. Regular substance use is mainly used as a way to trigger your brain to release dopamine. Dopamine is a feeling good chemical in the brain that helps to alleviate stress or other unpleasant feelings.
Risky use is the third stage of addiction and is when things start to become problematic. The effects of a substance can have you do things you wouldn’t normally do. Some of these risky activities includes unprotected sex and driving under the influence. Unfortunately, this is the stage where quitting an addiction becomes difficult as the brain is now hard-wired to crave the substance. Some people who have used for long periods of time may feel like they cannot live without their substance of choice.
The fourth stage of addiction is dependence and this is where things take a drastic turn for the worst. At this stage, the brain has become used to a substance to the point you can’t function without it. Overtime, your body becomes more resistant toward the effects of the substance. As a result, you need to use more just to feel an effect. This stage is when trying to quit taking substances by yourself may feel impossible.
The fifth and most severe stage of addiction is the addiction itself. At this stage, you feel like you’re unable to function without having the drug of choice. What’s worse is that you’re willing to do anything to do it. You might also experience physical withdraw when you try to stop using it on your own. Whether it’s for the substance to resorting to theft, your mind has become completely dependent on the substance. In order to start the detox process, you need to enter a rehab facility. Some might say that once you reach the fifth stage, it’s impossible to stop using and return to the person you were previously. However, even at its most severe stage, it’s never too late to start rebuilding your life. Recovering from drug or alcohol addiction is possible, at any stage. The first step t recovery is asking for the help you deserve. Know that there is no shame in needing assistance for recovery. If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, contact Boynton Beach Rehab at 833-846-5669 today.