The Stages of Drug Addiction

Navigating addiction is a unique journey—paced differently for each person. Whether gradual or rapid, the path matters less than your commitment to recovery., most rehabilitation counsellors concur that there are four primary stages of drug addiction: experimentation, regular use, risky use/abuse, and drug dependence and addiction. Individuals in the third stage of substance abuse are highly likely to become full-fledged addicts, whereas not everyone in the first two stages will develop a dependency. Detailed examination of the four primary phases of drug addiction.

Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder marked by compulsive substance seeking and use in spite of negative consequences. It is regarded a brain disorder due to the functional alterations in reward, stress, and self-control circuitry. These alterations may persist for an extended period of time after a person stops taking drugs. Addiction is comparable to other diseases, such as cardiovascular disease. Both disrupt the normal, healthy functioning of an organ in the body, both have severe negative effects, and both are preventable and treatable in many instances. They can last a lifetime and cause death if left untreated.

People may initially perceive what appear to be positive effects from a substance. They may also believe they can control their substance use. However, drugs can rapidly consume a person's life. Over time, if a person continues to use drugs, other pleasurable activities become less enjoyable, and he or she must use the substance to feel "normal." They have difficulty controlling their substance use, despite the fact that it causes them and their loved one’s numerous problems. Even in the earliest phases of drug use, some individuals may feel the need to take more of a drug or to use it more frequently. These are the symptoms of a dependency.

Even relatively moderate substance use poses dangers. Consider how a social drinker can rapidly transform a pleasurable activity into a tragedy that affects many lives by driving while intoxicated. Occasional drug use, such as misusing an opioid to get euphoric, can have similarly devastating consequences, such as driving impairment and overdose.

Do people choose to keep using drugs?

Typically, the initial decision to use narcotics is voluntary. With prolonged use, however, a person's capacity to exercise self-control can become severely compromised. This deficit in self-control is the defining characteristic of addiction.

Brain imaging studies of addicts reveal physical alterations in regions of the brain essential for judgement, decision-making, learning and memory, and behaviour regulation. These alterations serve to explain the addictive nature of addiction.

Why do some people become addicted to drugs, while others do not?

As with other diseases and disorders, the probability of developing an addiction varies from person to person, and there is no singular factor that determines whether a person will develop a drug addiction. In general, the greater the number of risks factors a person has, the greater the likelihood that drug use will contribute to substance abuse and addiction. In contrast, protective factors reduce a person's risk. Risk and protective factors may be biological or environmental.

The Stages of Drug Addiction

Stage 1: Experimentation

Experimentation is defined as the intentional use of illegal substances without negative social or legal consequences. For many, experimenting may occur once or multiple times as a means of "having joy" or even as a coping mechanism. Many people can experiment with drugs without a desire to continue using them. When it progresses to the next stage of addiction, regular use, it can become a problem for others

Stage 2: Regular Use

Some individuals will be able to reach the stage of regular use without developing physical or psychological dependence or addiction. These individuals will be able to quit using drugs on their own. The issue with regular use is that the risk of substance dependency increases substantially during this stage. It also increases risky behaviours such as drunk driving, inexplicable violence, and depression and anxiety symptoms.

Stage 3: Risky Use/Abuse

The line between regular use and hazardous use/abuse is extremely thin, but is typically defined as continued drug use despite severe social and legal repercussions. What may have begun as a means of temporary escape can rapidly escalate into more serious issues. This is the stage in which the first signs of addiction manifest: craving, preoccupation with the substance, and symptoms of depression, irritability, and fatigue if the drug is not used.

Stage 4: Drug Addiction and Dependency

Addiction and physical dependence on a substance are frequently intertwined. Dependence and substance addiction are characterised by withdrawal symptoms and compulsive drug use despite severe negative effects on relationships, physical and mental health, finances, job security, and criminal record.

Drug Addiction Treatment

At Abhasa Luxury Rehabilitation and Wellness Home, we collaborate with a variety of rehabilitation facilities and detox centres across the nation to meet your specific needs and circumstances, and we also offer home detoxes. We are a preeminent service with an exceptionally high success rate, providing addicts with the opportunity to become clean and sober and live a prosperous life. We are living proof that recovery is possible, and we are here to assist you on your path to wellness. Alter your narrative, alter your existence.

Prepared by: Ms.Nivedha L Narayanan, Centre Head at Abhasa Rehabilitation and Wellness Home
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