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Stages of Addiction

There are stages of addiction because it doesn’t just all happen at once. Knowing that there are stages of addiction and understanding that progressing past the initial stages will lead to a more serious relationship with substances. If you have moved into the later stages of addiction, you may want to reach out to a substance abuse treatment program and get the help you need.

At Zelus Recovery, our addiction treatment programs in Boise provide a safe space for people to heal from the physical and psychological toll of addiction. Our Zelus Recovery team has tailored addiction treatment programs for men, women, teens, and entire families. Learn more about how our team can help you or a loved one face addiction, reach out to Zelus Recovery today by calling 208.518.0797 or filling out our online contact form.

Stages of Addiction

An addiction is a long process that takes place over time, not overnight. Like anything in life, there is a beginning, middle, and end.

The stages of addiction are:

  • Initiation – This stage is where you try a substance for the first time. Perhaps it was your first beer, your first cigarette, or your first hit off a joint. Most people with an addiction will have made that first move before they turned eighteen.
  • Experimentation – Experimentation is when you turn to alcohol or drugs to relieve stress or are in a social situation where others are using. There is no dependency at this stage, and if your use never moves past experimentation, then there is little to be concerned about unless you are in your teen years and your brain is still developing.
  • Regular use – Regular use does not mean daily use for everyone. It may simply mean having a few beers on the weekend. But those few beers are something you would miss if you didn’t have them. Rather than dependency, this is a pattern of behavior forming. A mental reliance on your drug of choice has begun.
  • Risky use – This stage is where the behavior becomes noticeable and has become a problem. Showing up to work with a hangover may have happened before, but now this type of behavior is becoming a regular thing. At this stage, you are trying to hide your use and have become ashamed and embarrassed enough to worry about what people think of your substance use.
  • Dependence – Dependence means that you now have a serious problem. In many cases, psychological dependence may develop before physical one. For example, marijuana is more psychologically dependent than physical even for people who smoke every day. Or, prescription medication is a drug that people become psychologically dependent on before physical dependence takes over.
  • Addiction – Once you have an addiction, it is no longer a conscious choice to use drugs. You can’t stop yourself even if you know there will be harmful consequences to your health. At this point, you may not be fully aware of your behavior anymore, the decline being what it is.
  • Treatment – The choice now is either to enter a treatment facility or continue the downward spiral, which will lead to severe health consequences, legal problems, or an overdose. It is critical to get help once you have reached this stage.

Overcome the Stages of Addiction at Zelus Recovery

Addiction does not happen overnight. These stages will most definitely get progressively worse if you do not overcome your use. At Zelus Recovery, we don’t care what stage you are at, just that we can offer you help if you’re willing to help yourself. Our Zelus Recovery team can be reached online or at 208.518.0797 for you to take the first step on your journey to wellness and recovery.