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The 5 Stages of Drug and Alcohol Addiction

The 5 Stages of Drug and Alcohol Addiction

The five stages of drug and alcohol addiction are first intake, regular use, risky use, dependence, and addiction. Learn how you can get over drug and alcohol addiction with Impact Family. 

Addiction is a chronic disease with heavy reliance on substances like drugs and alcohol. People with drug and alcohol addiction problems find it difficult to stop engaging or using substances despite their psychological and physical harm. Addiction is treatable with the proper treatment and resources. 

The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics reported that 31.9 million Americans aged 12 years and older are illegal drug users. The top three substances taken by illegal drug users are Marijuana, prescription stimulants, and Opioids. There are139.8 million Americans aged 12 years and older who drink alcohol, of which 14.8 million have a drug addiction. 

Several factors contribute to drug and alcohol addiction. A person’s environment may influence it. For instance, an individual may be exposed to a social group where the use of drugs and alcohol is the norm. It can also be due to genetics. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is currently supporting research, wherein scientists found that genetic factors account for 40% to 60% of a person’s vulnerability to addiction. 

If you think that you’re developing signs of drug and alcohol addiction, knowing the five stages of addiction is vital for your awareness and recovery.

The 5 Stages of Drug and Alcohol Addiction 

  1. First intake 

The first step contributing to drug and alcohol addiction is when an individual experiences their first intake. During this stage, it’s challenging to determine whether it will lead to addiction. This is because some people can have their first experience of drugs and alcohol without developing dependency while others can seek more. 

A part of this challenge is when a person’s first intake was through prescribed drugs like Opioids, a drug used for relieving pain temporarily. The body grows reliant on Opioids so that it may not relieve any more pain in the future. Hence, there’s a need for a more potent dosage. 

If you feel like someone you know is in their first intake of drug and alcohol addiction, it may be wise to monitor their experimentation and seek addiction counseling to mitigate risks. 

  1. Regular use 

As people become more acquainted with the substance they use, it may come to a point where using drugs or drinking alcohol becomes a part of their lives. They seem to be functional during the regular use stage until it becomes problematic.  

Besides habit, the substances may be because of prescribed medication. Thus, the individual taking or using the drugs won’t become aware of the developing addiction. 

  1. Risky use 

Risky use is tough to define since it's subjective. Something dangerous might be otherwise for another person. However, as one continues using substances or drinking alcohol, the behavioral changes become highly evident. They may engage in dangerous activities like driving when intoxicated or high. 

  1. Dependence 

At the dependence stage, an individual has built up a tolerance to the substances or alcohol and feels the need for higher dosage to feel "normal" again. Moreover, abstaining from these substances may cause withdrawal symptoms like cramping, vomiting, and fevers because the body and brain have become accustomed to using drugs or alcohol. 

You should assist your loved ones by giving them drug and alcohol addiction help to overcome their dependency. 

  1. Addiction 

The final stage is addiction. Continuous substance and alcohol abuse will result in drug or alcohol addiction. People at this stage may lose their jobs or drop out of school. And even when they do, they will still continue to use drugs or drink alcohol. 

When drug or alcohol addiction develops, the only way to get help is to change the habits that lead to substance abuse. This can be accomplished through addiction counseling

Seek the help you need 

By knowing all five phases of addiction, you can keep a close check on yourself or a loved one and prevent addiction from developing before it's too late.

The five stages of drug and alcohol addiction don't have to be a part of your or a loved one's life any longer.  The good news is that assistance is readily available. Addiction counselors can assist addicts in developing coping skills that allow them to function without their drug or alcohol of choice. We'll be there to help you every step of the way. You don't have to be alone and you don't deserve to be in pain.

About Impact Family 

Impact Family is a Christian Counseling Nonprofit Organization located in Pembroke Pines, Florida, a few miles north of Miami. As a Christ-Centered, Bible-Based, Non-Denominational Ministry, we believe God in His Grace wants to forgive, heal, and bless us more than we want it for ourselves. Our team of Christian counselors is ready to assist you. Book an appointment online today at www.impact.vision/intake.