What Are the 4 Stages of Addiction?

the 4 stages of addiction

The path to addiction winds in many different ways. Some people start abusing drugs when they are teenagers, and some, even earlier than that. There are also people who never abuse a drug until they are in adulthood. Sometimes, this is a result of the loss of a family member, being passed up for a promotion they have worked so hard for or a mental health condition that develops. No matter how the addiction started, there are 4 stages of addiction that everyone needs to know about. 

Experimentation with Drugs or Alcohol

Out of the 4 stages of addiction, experimentation is always the first. This isn’t always what it seems either. You might think that this is just someone who starts getting drunk to see how much alcohol they can drink or getting high to see how much of the drug they need. Those are two ways that someone can experiment with alcohol or drugs. However, people may also experiment or describe drug experimentation by:

  • Just having fun
  • Hanging out with their friends
  • It’s not a problem
  • I don’t do it all the time

There are going to be some people who don’t get addicted to the drugs they use. However, the majority of people who experiment with alcohol or drugs and enjoy how it makes them feel, generally start using it regularly. 

Regularly Using Drugs and/or Alcohol

Do you or someone you know regularly use drugs and/or alcohol? If so, this is the second of the 4 stages of addiction. Some people get into this stage and can stop using the drugs whenever they want to. However, the longer or more consistently someone uses drugs and/or alcohol, the more likely they will be to fall into the third stage of addiction – risky use and abuse.

Before talking about stage 3 of the 4 stages of addiction, our Transformations Care team wants to dive a bit further into stage 2. 

When someone is regularly using drugs and/or alcohol, it is likely going to impact their relationships, mood, mental health, physical health and overall lifestyle. If you are using drugs or drinking a lot, you may experience anxiety, depression, violent urges or bad decision-making. You may wonder why you feel so alone all the time or why nobody gets what you are going through. These are all valid emotions and thoughts. They come about a lot to those with an addiction. 

Today, our Transformations Care team wants you to know that you can reach out to us for addiction rehab services. No matter which of the 4 stages of addiction you are in, we can help you to get sober and into recovery. 

Risky Alcohol and Drug Use/Abuse

There is a difference between regularly using alcohol and drugs and abusing them. It may seem quite thin at times and be barely visible, but it is there. In fact, the line can separate you from keeping your life together and getting into serious legal, social, financial and personal trouble. 

Alcohol and drugs may have seemed to be an escape in the past, but now you are swirling over the line into an addiction. The more you drink or use drugs, the more risks you take while doing so, such as with:

  • Drinking and driving
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs
  • Becoming violent
  • Risky sex
  • Arguments 
  • Going places you shouldn’t 
  • Stealing 
  • Working while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs

Out of the 4 stages of addiction, this is the stage where people generally start needing professional help getting sober. They may experience fatigue, irritability, depression, preoccupation with the drug and moderate to severe cravings. 

If you or someone you know are struggling with risky drug and/or alcohol use or abuse, don’t let any more time pass on by. You have a choice to make today – to get your life back from this grueling addiction. You can do it and our Transformations Care team wants to help.

Dependency and Addiction

Becoming physically and mentally dependent on a drug could be one of the hardest things you ever have to make it through. At this point, you might feel there is nothing else that can be done to stop the cravings you get. Maybe, you don’t even feel the addiction is a problem at this time. Every time you get drunk, for instance, you may feel happier. For this reason, you may think that you don’t need to quit.

However, becoming dependent upon or addicted to alcohol or drugs, is only going to negatively impact your life. Even when you are “feeling good” from the drug and/or alcohol use, those feelings are just temporary and they aren’t real. They are a mask you are putting on to cover up scars – physically, mentally and emotionally. 

When someone enters this stage of addiction, they likely will need help to pull themselves out of it. It isn’t going to be an easy ride and you may have some setbacks. However, the number one thing our Transformations Care team wants to tell you today is that you will be okay. We can help you to start your clean, recovering lifestyle. 

Get Help with Addiction Today

No matter which of the 4 stages of addiction you are in, you can reach out for help. Whether you have just picked up your first drink, have been experimenting for a while, can’t quit when you try or have been addicted for many years – our Transformations Care team can help with all these situations and much more. 

Today, we want you to take the first step toward your future. We want you to decide that your life is worth living. If you need some help taking this step, reach out to someone you trust or call our treatment center team. We will be there to help you get sober, overcome dependency issues and treat the addiction. Contact us today to get help through any of the 4 stages of addiction.

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