Although it may feel like it from the perspective of the addicted individual, addiction doesn’t 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.
Stage One: Experimentation
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, you’re 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.
Stage 3: High-Risk Use
Stage 4: Addiction
Once the final stage is reached, you have entered addiction and complete dependency upon the substance. It’s no longer a question about whether or not you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol. When you don’t receive them, your body lets you know in the form of symptoms like shakes, sweats, tremors, and other frantic behavior. You spend most of the time drunk or high, and you don’t want anything to stand in the way of it. This is the stage that even if someone tells you that your life depends on stopping your behavior, you can’t.
Fortunately, no matter which stage of addiction you’re in, help is available. Addiction is a progressive illness that only gets worse when left untreated. If you’re ready to admit that you have a problem and embark on the road to recovery, speak to one of our compassionate counselors today about substance abuse recovery in Tampa.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, speak with a specialist regarding drug addiction treatment in Tampa. To schedule a consultation with Phoenix House Florida, please request an appointment today.
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