ClickCease Stages of Addiction

Stages of Addiction

The stages of addiction highlight the usual process people go through before getting hooked on drugs or alcohol. If you’ve reached the addiction stage, an inpatient drug rehab center can help you return to a substance-free life. Granite Recovery Centers are strategically located across New Hampshire to help clients lose dependence and live more productive lives. Our comprehensive treatment programs feature a full continuum of care to guide you back to sobriety, from detox to aftercare.


What is Addiction?

The American Psychiatric Association describes addiction as a complex disease that manifests as compulsive substance use despite the harmful consequences. Drug and alcohol abuse affects the brain. The more the brain gets, the more it craves the substance. But repeated use or abuse causes brain changes that lead to addiction unless the user nips the habit in the bud.


The Four Stages of Addiction

People do not always realize they are progressing through the following stages of addiction until they grow severely dependent on drugs or alcohol:


Stage One: Experimentation

This stage involves using alcohol or mind-altering drugs like heroin for the first time. The first use may be driven by curiosity, desire to feel pleasure, reduce pain, or peer pressure. Also, the person can stop drinking or doing drugs without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. However, experimental use can lead to a pattern of substance abuse or dependence after the first try.


Stage Two: Regular or Social Use

Alcohol or drug use becomes a normal part of the user’s life. They continue to use it as an escape, to feel good, relax, reduce pain, or improve performance. Also, the reward system in the brain may activate by now, the dose level increases, and tolerance builds up. In addition, the person maintains some control over substance use and could stop if the body and mind are not yet addicted.


Stage Three: Risky Use

Regular use transitions to drug or alcohol abuse. As users become more dependent on the substance, they may engage in binge drinking or “binge and crash” drug use patterns. They take more risks, such as driving under the influence or having unprotected sex. Financial, job, relationship, or legal problems are common during this stage. Cravings are present, and tolerance increases. You may want to stop but find it difficult to do so.


Stage Four: Dependence and Addiction

By this stage, the body adapts to regular use and is physically dependent on drugs or alcohol. Psychological dependence has likely set in, and cravings are intense or persistent. The user may be addicted or compulsively seek the addictive substance to feel normal despite the harmful consequences. At this point, you may or may not realize you’ve moved through the stages of addiction to dependence. Severe withdrawal symptoms may develop if you try to quit on your own.


Medical Detox

A person who cycles through the stages of addiction to stage four usually needs detox and professional treatment to help them recover. Medical detox at a treatment center is a safer option than trying to quit at home. Granite Recovery Centers provides medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in an emergency.


Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, detox alone is rarely sufficient to end addiction. In addition, treatment aims to help addicted individuals stop substance abuse and prevent relapse using evidence-based approaches. Also, these methods include cognitive behavioral therapy and follow-up care, as are offered at Granite Recovery Centers. In addition, detox and treatment are done under a residential, outpatient, or intensive outpatient program. Holistic therapy, sober living, and aftercare are part of our comprehensive programs to increase your chances of beating addiction. Additional services include:


Addiction is Not the End. A New Life Awaits!

There is hope for anyone battling substance abuse after going through the stages of addiction. The compassionate doctors, therapists, and support staff at Granite Recovery Centers are here to help you or a loved one heal and recover. You can access care at any of our addiction treatment centers in New Hampshire, even if you live in New England or Massachusetts. You can change the course of your life with just one call to 855.712.7784 .