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What Is The First Stage In The Cycle Of Addiction

How Does Recovery Treatment Help

Cycles & Stages of Addiction

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.

This Is Strictly A Guide

Here at 1st Step Behavioral Health, we believe in each patient being unique. As with all chronic diseases, there are variations within the stages. For example, a heavy drinker may develop a dependence but never an addiction. It does depend on the person and the unique situation.

If you need more clarity on the five stages of addiction, dont hesitate to ask our caring specialists. We understand that learning all of this information can be overwhelming. However, just by choosing to read this youre already taking a step in the right direction.

The Most Common Relapse Triggers

Stress, understandably, is the top cause of relapse. Many people who struggle with addiction turn to their substance of choice as a coping mechanism to deal with stress. Additionally, research has demonstrated that there is an increased craving for the drug in question, including alcohol, during stressful situations.

One way to prepare for this trigger is to evaluate the stress youre experiencing. Although you cant eliminate everything stressful from your life, you can avoid certain situations that cause you extreme levels of stress. Furthermore, its vital to learn positive ways, eg. relaxation techniques, to successfully manage stress.

  • People / Places Connected to Your Addiction
  • The people who participated in your addiction, even family members, especially if they were a cause of your reliance on drugs or alcohol, are potential triggers for relapse. Additionally, certain places that remind you of your addiction can be triggers, too.

  • Difficult & Negative Emotions
  • People who struggle with addiction need better and more healthy coping mechanisms for everyday life, eg. tolerating, managing, and making sense of any negative feelings. Your aim should be to be pòsitive about the negative, and comfortable with the uncomfortable.

  • Seeing / Sensing Your Substance of Choice
  • Its a reflection of how powerful addiction is to conquer that positive and happy situations, such as birthdays and holidays, can be powerful relapse triggers, too.

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    What Are The Five Stages Of Addiction

    The five stages of addiction are first use, continued use, tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Addiction affects millions of Americans in the United States every day. Did you know that 21 million Americans required treatment for substance abuse in 2016?

    It is important to recognize the severity of addiction and its effects on the community. Not only does it cause the user pain, but those close to them as well. The fight against addiction can only be won if were honest with each other. Keep reading to learn more about the 5 stages of addiction.

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    Understanding The Cycle Of Addiction

    From Drug Use to Drug Abuse: The Stages 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.

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    The Addiction Cycle Part I: Key Points For Addiction Treatment

    January 19, 2017, by Aquila Recovery Clinic

    If you or a loved one suffers from a substance use disorder, commonly referred to as an addiction, you will often feel like one of those hamsters on a wheel. No matter how hard you try, you just cannot seem to get off the nightmare merry-go-round of suffering. You may have tried to quit several times or entered treatment only to fall back into the same old pattern again.

    Recovery And Getting Help

    Its important to understand that addiction doesnt always progress in a linear way. Some people may immediately show signs of addictive behavior with drinking or drug use. For others, patterns of abuse might develop slowly over several months or years. The risks and behaviors in each phase also depend on the substance being abused. Even experimenting with some drugs can be much more dangerous and likely to lead to addiction than regular use of others.

    However, knowing these stages can help people feel less alone in their struggle with substance abuse which is one of the first steps toward seeking help and recovery. Addiction can be an extremely isolating experience, leading to depression and feelings of hopelessness. It is important to be able to identify the seriousness of a substance problem and how it develops.

    If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, get help now. Contact us and get more information on our programs here.

    It is our mission to compassionately empower every client who walks through the door of Mountain View Recovery Center. Our vision is to provide support and structure in a community-based, clinical setting using evidence based practices. Our purpose is to break the stigma of addiction and show our clients a united way to lifelong recovery.

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    What Are Some Signs Of Addiction

    Knowing and being able to identify signs of addiction is important, especially if you or someone you know is currently suffering from addiction. Knowing some of the warning signs is a great way to help fight addiction at an early stage before the addiction can potentially turn deadly. As addiction takes hold, individuals exhibit certain behaviors. Those behaviors include, but are not limited to:

    • A loss of control
    • Poor performance at school or work
    • Unexplained financial problems

    If you find yourself exhibiting any of these behaviors, it is time to seek treatment from our treatment center.

    Stage : Preoccupation And Anticipation

    Addiction Cycle

    Rock bottoms often happen in the third stage of addiction. Your brain has become rewired by chemical dependency. It thinks you need drugs or alcohol to survive and instructs you to get them no matter what it takes. Brain regions that take a big hit are ones involved in:

    Everything takes a backseat to drugs or alcohol. They are the central focus of your life. You may lie or steal to get substances. Family and friends dont recognize the person youve become. Neither do you. During the third stage of addiction, you may find yourself in legal and financial trouble. Drug cravings are so strong, you are having difficulty functioning.

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    The Importance Of Rapport & Relationship Building In Recovery Counseling

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    Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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    Stages Of Drug Addiction: From Experimentation To Full Blown Dependency

    There are many factors that may contribute to drug addiction including genetic and environmental influences, socio-economic status, personal behavioural patterns etc., but most professionals within the field of addiction have agreed that there are four main stages of drug addiction: experimentation, regular use, high-risk use, and addiction or dependency.

    Many people will never move beyond Stage 1 experimentation, but most who progress beyond Stage 2 will, in fact, develop an addiction. Below is a breakdown of the 4 stages of drug addiction so that you can learn how to identify symptoms and signs of addiction, or in the case that it has already progressed, what to do about it.

    What Is The Cycle Of Addiction

    Breaking the Addiction Cycle

    The cycle of addiction is a cyclical pattern of thoughts and actions that repeat in those struggling with addiction. Depending on the source, each stage of the cycle has a different name however, the overall pattern of behaviors is the same.

    The stages move through a predictable pattern of internal emotional triggers leading to outward action, followed by internal feelings of shame and guilt. The addicted person then stops using for a time, creating a false sense of security. Eventually, they will experience another internal trigger and repeat the cycle unless they seek treatment.

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    The Three Stages Of Drug Addiction

    Addiction either happens rapidly or over the course of weeks, months or years. People who use drugs to cope with stress, social anxiety or emotional problems may progress quickly from substance use to addiction. Some drugs are so addictive it only takes a few hits before a person craves them uncontrollably.

    Abuse In The Stages Of Addiction

    Substance abuse refers to when a person is partaking in a particular substance on a more consistent and recurring basis. Any repeated and excessive usage should be considered harmful. Substances in excess tend to have a detrimental effect on people.

    Something also worth mentioning is that when it comes to illicit drugs, abuse begins the first time they are used. These drugs include the likes of heroin, cocaine, or LSD, and are very dangerous due to their addictive nature. The grey areas come when substances such as tobacco or prescription meds are thrown into the mix. The best way to put substance abuse is using a particular substance to achieve a high or euphoric response.

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    What Is The Addiction Cycle

    A person can move on to a healthy lifestyle and quit the addiction through recovery. However, recovery can take anywhere from months to years to even decades.

    Although an addict might understand and recognise the cycle they might still have a hard time beating it. They must seek help and want to change their life. So, what is the addiction cycle?

    The addiction cycle consists of 6 different stages:

    We shall discuss each of these stages below:

    1. Initial Use

    The first time you use can be the one time it takes to become addicted. There could be multiple ways that a substance is introduced to you. These ways could be anything from, family history of substance abuse, peer pressure, and more. People might also start using to escape their everyday lives or heal physical pain without a doctor.

    No matter what reason is it and how the person becomes addicted to what they are addicted to there are risk factors. These risk factors can vary from person to person and determines how likely is it the person to have an addiction. These factors can include, social problems, depression, family problems, abuse, and others.

    After the first time, the person might feel enjoyment or have a relieving feeling of discomfort. This will drive the person to continue to use the substance or activity to keep them feeling happy. This is what leads to the second stage of addiction.

    2. Abuse

    3. Tolerance

    4. Dependence

    • Feelings of hostility

    5. Addiction

    6. Relapse

    Using Despite The Consequences

    Hader Clinic QLD Cycle Of Addiction

    The consequences of using drugs and alcohol vary depending on the person as well as the situation. Some common health consequences of drug and alcohol use include:

    All of these physical issues come on top of troubles in work, relationships, and personal goals. And worse, addiction can lead people to make risky decisions, such as driving while intoxicated or possessing illegal substances that could lead to jail time. But at this stage of addiction, people will continue to use alcohol or drugs despite all of these risks.

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    The Five Stages Of Addiction Recovery

    Alcohol and drug abuse can tear families apart and transform loving and successful individuals into desperate, lonely husks of their former selves. Even though the impact is devastating, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Anyone can overcome addiction with the help and guidance of a substance abuse treatment program.

    Understanding the five stages of addiction recovery can be useful for addicted people and their family members. Each stage clearly describes the process of recognizing and admitting the problem, preparing for addiction treatment, and dealing with life after treatment of alcohol and drug abuse. Its an integrated theory thats compatible with most evidence-based and holistic treatments, like the 12-step program and behavior therapy.

    Break The Cycle Of Addiction Today

    At The Freedom Center, our priority is to see patients through to a successful rehab experience those who are seeking treatment deserve a chance at success. Each person that walks through our doors is a unique individual. No one person is the same when it comes to their experiences the same can be said concerning their preferred method of treatment.

    Substance abuse and addiction are frightening circumstances to overcome, but the cycle of addiction does not have to run its full course. If you or someone you love has been the victim of addiction, you can get help at The Freedom Center today. To find out more, contact us here.

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    Frequent Use Of Addictive Substances

    This next step in the stages of addiction brings people from occasional drug and alcohol use to frequent consumption. As the stages of addiction show, addiction is a progressive disease. This means that it starts small, but worsens over time. So casual or occasional use of alcohol and drugs gradually turns into using these substances on a regular basis.

    At this stage in the addiction cycle, it can be hard to identify that there is a problem at hand. The defining feature of this step is that most people do not recognize that they are using or drinking too much. A lot of people justify partying with drugs or alcohol as a way to let off steam after a tough day. However, this only pushes them further into the stages of addiction.

    The truth is that using drugs and alcohol does not fix emotional pain, mental health symptoms, or general life stress. In fact, as the next stage of addiction will show, these addictive substances have the potential to make the mental, emotional, and physical side effects of substance use much worse.

    Stage Two: Regular Use


    Stage two represents somewhat of a fork in the road for many people. While some people may be able to engage in the regular use of drugs or alcohol without developing an addiction, the risk for dependence greatly increases during this stage. As does the risk of participating in high-risk behaviors, such as driving under the influence. The occasional drink or drug turns into a common occurrence, like sleeping or brushing your teeth. Substance use just becomes another part of the routine and, before you can step away from use, youre fooled into a false sense of security that it will be easy to quit. Some people during this stage may develop feelings of guilt or shame for their behavior but generally will continue to justify it or make excuses.

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    Can The Cycle Of Addiction Break

    It is very possible to break the cycle of addiction. The final decision to make the break is in your hands. The journey to the final point of sobriety may be a roller coaster ride of ups and downs that may include relapses and other struggles.

    The cycle of addiction may be broken for several reasons. For some, the addiction cycle is forced to change because of

    • Legal issues consequences that occur with law enforcement
    • Financial troubles inability to pay your bills
    • Medical complications some health issues that arise out of the drug or alcohol abuse may include heart problems, high blood pressure, liver problems
    • Social problems circumstances that bring the addiction to light in your peer or friend groups

    Breaking the drug addiction cycle requires a lot of work and dedication on your part. You will need to accept help from medical staff, possibly be admitted to a detox facility, and commit to continued support to reach and maintain your goal of sobriety.

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