A Closer Look At The Addiction Cycle
Addiction: The most severe form of substance use disorder, associated with compulsive or uncontrolled use of one or more substances. Addiction is a chronic brain disease that has the potential for both recurrence and recovery. The 2016 Surgeon Generals Report, Facing Addiction in America
For those who are not affected by it, addiction is not always easy to define. Many see drug addiction as a choice, as selfish, or as a moral failing. Many ask, Why cant a user simply stop taking drugs? or How come my loved one keeps falling back into the same drug-using habits? Fact is, addiction is a complex, chronic cycle, and recognizing the reality of it can be a hard pill to swallow.
Whether you are here to learn about addiction, to understand its effects, or because a loved one has fallen into the addiction cycle, it is most important that you recognize this: Substance addiction is a compulsive, neurological disorder that affects more than 20 million people across the United States not by choice, but by way of a biological dependence on drugs. It is considered a brain disease because of the way that drugs affect a users brain chemistry, leaving them little capacity for self-control.
How Does Recovery Treatment Help
Current research indicates that the brains of people who struggle with addiction are wired differently than neurotypical brains. Addiction is a chronic brain disease that causes neuroadaptations, or changes in the brains structure, which trap addicts in the repetitive cycle of addiction.
To interrupt the cycle of addiction, it is best to approach recovery with a well-rounded, personalized treatment plan that includes medication and cognitive behavioral therapy. Medication allows recovering addicts to manage physical symptoms of withdrawal to address the mental and behavioral aspects of the cycle.
How To Break The Cycle
The key to breaking the cycle is developing a realistic, comprehensive, and personalized treatment plan that ensures your needs are met and you are receiving the support you need to stay sober. This often involves attending regular 12-step meetings and finding professional guidance through a counsellor, therapist, or addiction coach. Avalon is here to help set you up for success in your recovery and to provide you with support and services that aid in your recovery whether that be booking you free counselling sessions, providing you with educational materials, or simply being there for you in times of need. Contact your local Centre Manager for more information.
Other than finding external help, you must have an unwavering commitment to your own sobriety and prioritize it above all else. Take the necessary time for self-reflection and identify your own problematic behaviour, bad habits, and triggering people or environments. Likewise, think about what self-care practices or activities bring you joy and fulfillment away from using. It can take time, but the goal is to build a happy, healthy, and stable life in which your addiction has no opportunity to rear its head.
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Though The Addiction Cycle Differs Slightly Depending On What Type Of Addiction The Individual Faces It Is Similar In That It Repeats Over And Over Until Intervention And Treatment Occur
Unless you have experienced addiction first-hand, it can be hard to truly understand that addiction is more than a bad habit. When it comes to the addiction cycle, many people think it is something you can simply abandon. To better understand the complexity of addiction, lets examine what addiction is. The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as a primary, chronic disease of the brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Addiction is not something you catch from someone else, nor is it an acute condition that arises in a day. It is something that slowly progresses and often goes unnoticed. Like many other conditions, addiction occurs in stages. The repetition of these stages is often referred to as the addiction cycle.
Understanding The 4 Stages Of Addiction
Although it may feel like it from the perspective of the addicted individual, addiction doesnt happen overnight. While there are many factors that contribute to drug and alcohol addiction, including genetic and environmental influences, socioeconomic status, and preexisting mental health conditions, most professionals within the field of addiction agree that there are four main stages of addiction: experimentation, regular use, high-risk use, and addiction or dependency. Not everyone in the first two stages of this process will develop an addiction, but individuals within the third stage are extremely likely to progress into full-blown addicts.
Understanding these stages is a critical step in recognizing that you may have a problem and seeking help before your substance use transforms into an addiction. If, after reading this article, you feel as if you or a loved one may be exhibiting symptoms of addiction, please reach out to a member of our team here at Phoenix House Florida regarding drug addiction treatment in Tampa.
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Understanding The Cycle Of Addiction
Many peoples thinking about addiction has shifted, but some still believe that a person who becomes addicted to alcohol or drugs does so out of weakness of willpower or character. They often think that one drink will lead the right person to addiction.
In reality, addiction is a chronic relapsing disorder, one that 21 million Americans live with, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges . Too many of these people do not seek help for their condition. Abusing drugs or alcohol impacts the brain, causing progressive changes in the structure and function of the brain.
Over time, these changes result in compromised brain function and a shift from the controlled, occasional use of drugs or alcohol to chronic substance misuse. Some of these changes to the brain may remain after a person stops drinking or using drugs. They can also contribute to a persons chance of relapse after a period of sobriety.
The cycle of addiction comprises three stages that operate as a repeating loop. Each stage is linked to and can feed off of another. A person does not have to start their addiction experience in the first stage, and the stages can be experienced over weeks or months, or even within one day.
Continued Use / Abuse
At this stage of the cycle of addiction, the individual continues to use the substance for various reasons. They could be continuing to take a prescription drug for pain modification or they could be binge drinking in a social situation. Often, the use of the substance ramps up becoming more frequent, or more intense -using the substances in higher doses, in an attempt to mask unfavorable feelings and symptoms.
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Stages Of The Addiction Cycle
Addiction can be framed as a repeating cycle, with three stages. Each stage is linked to and feeds on the others. These stages primarily involve three domains: incentive salience, negative emotional states, and executive function. The domains are reflected in three key regions of the brain: the basal ganglia, the extended amygdala, and the prefrontal cortex, respectively. A person may go through this three-stage cycle over the course of weeks or months, or progress through it several times in a day.3,4,5 Note also that a person can enter the cycle of addiction at any one of the following stages:
1. Binge/Intoxication Stage: reward, incentive salience, and pathological habits
2. Negative Affect/Withdrawal Stage: reward deficits and stress surfeit
3. Preoccupation/Anticipation Stage: craving, impulsivity, and executive function
- This is the stage at which an individual seeks alcohol again after a period of abstinence. A person becomes preoccupied with alcohol and how to get more of it, and looks forward to the next time he or she will consume it.
- The prefrontal cortexan area of the brain responsible for executive function, including the ability to organize thoughts and activities, prioritize tasks, manage time, and make decisionsis compromised in people experiencing alcohol addiction. As a result, this area of the brain plays a key role in this stage.
Risk Factors Of Addiction
There are no exact criteria for who will struggle with an alcohol or drug addiction. It can affect any race, age, or gender. However, there are studies that show certain risk factors. These are:
- Women, as women are more likely to suffer from chronic pain
- Young people under the age of thirty
- People struggling with mental health issues
- People have family members that struggle with alcohol addiction
- People with a family history of drug abuse
- People who have had legal trouble in the past
Those struggling with other mental health issues are at a higher risk of developing an addiction due to the temporary relief alcohol or drugs can provide. In the initial stage of addiction, the person finds respite from emotional pain and this can lead to abuse.
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What Are The 6 Steps Of Addiction
Six Stages of Addiction Recovery
- Pre-Contemplation. While many individuals may be reluctant to accept the problem at first, it reaches a point where they admit their mistakes after facing the harsh consequences of long-term addiction. …
- Contemplation of Addiction Recovery. …
What Are the Five Stages of Change? The five stages of addiction recovery are precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance…. view details
How Does Addiction Develop In The Brain
Alcohol, like other drugs, has a powerful effect on the brain, producing pleasurable feelings and blunting negative feelings. These feelings can motivate some people to drink alcohol again and again, despite possible risks to their health and well-being. For example, research shows that over time, drinking to cope with stresswhile it may provide temporary relief from emotional discomforttends to enhance negative emotional states between bouts of alcohol consumption. These changes can motivate further drinking and cause an individual to become stuck in an unhealthy cycle of alcohol consumption.1,2
As individuals continue to drink alcohol over time, progressive changes may occur in the structure and function of their brains. These changes can compromise brain function and drive the transition from controlled, occasional use to chronic misuse, which can be difficult to control. The changes can endure long after a person stops consuming alcohol, and can contribute to relapse in drinking.
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Why Should We Be Concerned About Aud And Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol consumption is linked to many health and social consequences, including interference with personal relationships, heart and liver diseases, cancers, motor vehicle collisions and other accidents, alcohol overdose, violence, homicide, and suicide. If a person has AUD, particularly if it is moderate to severe and involves alcohol addiction, they are more likely to regularly consume alcohol in levels associated with these effects on health.
Young people are especially at risk for AUD. Using alcohol during adolescence may affect brain development, making it more likely that they will be diagnosed with AUD later in life. However, most people with AUDno matter their age or the severity of their alcohol problemscan benefit from treatment with behavioral health therapies, medications, or both.
The Stages Of Change Model Of Overcoming Addiction
John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. He is the medical director at Alcohol Recovery Medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health .
The stages of change or transtheoretical model is a way of describing the process by which people overcome addiction. The stages of change can be applied to a range of other behaviors that people want to change, but have difficulty doing so, but it is most well-recognized for its success in treating people with addictions.
This model was developed from research looking at how change occurs in natural recovery from addictions. It has been embraced by health care providers seeking to move away from confrontational and pathological approaches toward motivational and person-centered approaches, such as motivational interviewing.
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Breaking The Cycle Of Addiction
The stages of the cycle of addiction can be matched up with some of the stages of the model of behavior change and its relationship to recovery.
Unfortunately, relapse can occur during the action or maintenance stage, which means the addict or alcoholic again enters the cycle of addiction.
The Drug PersonalityThe drug personality develops though continued, chronic use. There is a typical set of behaviors that most addicts or alcoholics exhibit. When taken as a whole, the following symptoms are strong indicators of addiction.
A Drug Personality May:
Treatment For Substance Abuse
Have you been able to identify with any of the seven stages discussed today? If so, it may be time to reach out for professional help from an addiction treatment center.
At Brookdale Addiction Recovery, we can provide you with the individualized care you deserve, through our patient-centric approach to treatment. As each patient enters our program, they undergo a thorough evaluation by our medical and clinical team to construct comprehensive treatment plans tailored to fit their needs.
Overcoming a substance use disorder is no easy feat, but it is not impossible. With the proper help and support, you or your loved one can be well on your way to a new, vibrant liferecovered.
Please call our trusted Admissions Specialists today at to find out more about our program and the admissions process.
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The Cycle Of Addiction And Alcoholism
The Cycle of Addiction
Taking a Drink, Using a Drug
It begins when a person has one or two drinks or recreationally uses drugs. Their intention is to moderate or for their use to not get out of control. Its most often accompanied by a rationale of, Im just going to have a couple to unwind.
Phenomenon of Craving
Upon drinking/using, an abnormal reaction takes place in the body which results in a craving for more of the substance. At this point, the drinker or user finds that they can no longer control their consumption, and end up taking more than they initially intended.
Binge, Bender, or Spree
What started as an intention to control leads to drinking/using more than desired. Often it leads to a spree that will last hours, days, weeks, month, even years. Its often described as drinking or using against ones will because the person seemingly has little or no ability to control or stop.
With that binge comes consequences. Sometimes its the loss of a job, family or dignity. Legal, financial or health problems. Or they may be depression, trauma, and drama. Not everyones consequences are the same. It is important not to qualify alcoholism or addiction by the consequences that people experience, but rather by the action of alcohol on the body and mind.
Remorse, Guilt, and Shame
Resolutions to Stop
For all involved, it feels like walking on eggshells. Ever waiting for the next shoe to drop. And often it does.
The Stages Of The Addiction Cycle
The addiction cycle has six stages. There is no exact timeline for how these stages can unfold as this varies from person to person. It could happen over a period of weeks, months, or years. The stages of addiction are:
A person suffering from substance use disorder can believe they have healed the addiction and can fall into a false sense of security. This is why it is crucial to be aware of the final stage in the chronic cycle: relapse.
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Opinion: Break The Addiction Cycle Stop Cannabis Use That Leads To Harder Drugs
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Re Overdose deaths surged 33% in San Diego County last year local authorities warn of fentanyl nightmare : We have a drug abuse epidemic in this city and country. Yet city and county leaders promote drug dealing and drug dealers in the marijuana industry.
Marijuana is the No. 1 drug associated with addiction treatment in young people. When the pot runs out, there are always other drugs, and pot users are not likely to make a smart decision when offered another illicit drug.
Marijuana use has recently surpassed tobacco, and its more addictive than ever and psychotropic. Marijuana users require more anesthesia and pain medication after surgery, which indicates marijuana use desensitizes the user requiring stronger and stronger doses.
If you want fewer death flags, stop the drug use pipeline with normalizing and facilitating marijuana use and marijuana drug dealers. Address the source of the problems, stop virtue signaling.
Treatment Programs That Help To Break The Cycle Of Addiction
The treatment options that aid in maintaining a break in the cycle of addiction can include:
- In-patient or outpatient rehabilitation
- Peer support groups
- Aftercare programs
Relapse can occur when you become frustrated or feel overwhelmed by the process of breaking the cycle of addiction. Everyone is different in how they handle the stages of reaching and maintaining their sobriety. It is important to remember that it will take time and patience to get the right treatment plan in place.
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