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Stages of Addiction

stages of addiction

Like many things in life, addiction exists in stages and cycles. Unfortunately, addiction is often misunderstood. Some living with addiction may experience guilt and shame. Those around them may judge their lifestyle or believe addiction is a choice. Understanding the stages of addiction can help those living with addiction and their loved ones cope and thrive. Addiction treatment programs can provide tools, understanding, and healing for those experiencing addiction and their loved ones.

If you or someone in your life needs treatment for addiction, Athens Addiction Recovery Center is here for you. Our range of outpatient substance abuse programs provides dual diagnosis and addiction counseling in beautiful Athens, GA. Call us today at 844.959.4998 to speak to our team.

Understanding Addiction

Addiction is a treatable disease. Everyone’s addiction experience is their own. Genetic, environmental, social, and life experience factors all influence addiction. When a person experiences addiction, they engage in compulsive behavior regardless of the negative consequences. For some, this might mean obsessive social media use despite it lowering their self-esteem. For others, it might mean drug or alcohol use despite effects on physical, mental, and emotional health.

Today, 50% of people living with addiction also live with co-occurring mental health disorders. For many, drug and alcohol use begins as a method of self-soothing for undiagnosed mental health disorders. Addiction therapists can diagnose, treat, and help people understand the relationship between co-occurring disorders and addiction.

Understanding the Stages of Addiction

Sometimes, it might seem like addiction happens suddenly. For many, however, gradual drug or alcohol use can become a habit and then an addiction. The stages of addiction are:

  • Initial use: Often driven by curiosity, a traumatic event, or the need to control the body, someone tries a substance.
  • Experimentation: During this phase, someone may increase risk-taking behavior, try multiple substances, and experiment to change how they feel.
  • Regular use: This might be social drinking or party drugs. The more often someone uses or engages in compulsive behavior, the sooner they may become addicted.
  • Addiction: In this stage, the user experiences withdrawal when not using. This means the brain has become dependent on the chemicals released during drug or alcohol use.

Withdrawal is often the first sign habit has turned to addiction. It’s important to understand that withdrawal is the brain and body’s natural response to dependency. Withdrawal is also the first step in addiction recovery. While many people may try to quit using cold turkey, withdrawal symptoms often lead to reuse and even overdose.

Recovering from Addiction

Professional addiction recovery programs are the safest, most effective way to understand and overcome addiction. With medically assisted detox, psychotherapy, alternative therapies, and dual diagnosis, today’s addiction treatment programs are holistic approaches to health. Doctors no longer believe addiction is unaffected by trauma, stress, or mental health disorders.

An addiction recovery program can provide a safe and inclusive space to disconnect from life stress and reconnect to what matters. Programs offering medically assisted detox ease withdrawal symptoms and monitor a client’s overall health for a strong recovery. Psychotherapy, group, and family therapy provide clients with tools for stress, triggers, communication, and reconnecting with loved ones.

Begin Addiction Treatment Today at Athens Addiction Recovery Center

Addiction affects people from all walks of life. Today, an increasing number of students and professionals live with addiction. Many people living with addiction can keep jobs, stay in school, and are highly functioning. They may also struggle with undiagnosed mental health disorders. At Athens Addiction Recovery Center, we provide flexible outpatient programs to fit our clients’ lifestyles. Our family-run clinic provides dual diagnosis, psychotherapy, medically assisted detox, and a range of alternative therapies with outpatient, partial hospitalization, and support groups. Call us today 844.959.4998 to learn more about what Athens Recovery can do for you.