Just like there are many stages to growing up, there are many stages of addiction during adulthood. It is easy to slip into the fun times of summer or great parties at the frat house during the college years and party a little too hard. Then stress comes with a full-time job, building a family, and becoming financially independent when you use something to take the edge off the pain. So, what are the five stages of addiction?
Stage 1 – Fun Experimenting
You just want to try something new that your friends are raving about, so you do. You could dislike it or fall in love with the way it colors your world. The once a month fun game of trying different drugs can seem like a real stress reliever for you, and you leave the parties or social gatherings feeling high on life.
Stage 2 – Serious Using
You decided to use the substance more often as stress builds in your life until you are using several times a week – and on the weekend. The money may become difficult to find for regular use, so you may stop using the substance for a while – but you begin again.
Stage 3 – Dangerous Behavior
You may not notice a change in your behavior as your need for the substance grows, but others around you will. Your friends and family may ask you if you are okay, and co-workers may question your abilities at work. But you probably blow them off with a simple shrug, because you don’t see how you are any different than you were last week.
Stage 4 – Substance Focus
You have finally become dependent on the substance, and your view is that you need it to live a good life. Your mind and body are both reliant on frequent use, and those around you consistently comment on your behavioral changes or risk-taking activities. They even ask you to join a Delray Beach intensive outpatient program before your dependence takes over your life.
Stage 5 – Addictive Behavior
You have developed a mind and body altering addiction. To reverse the addictive behavior requires reversing the steps that brought you to become an addict, and that almost always requires professional treatment.
If you recognize you, or someone you love, are living inside any of the five stages listed above, take steps now to break the pattern. It may be difficult to work through the problems that led to the addiction but living an addictive lifestyle can be much more devastating.