Stages of Addiction (& 5 Signs You've Got a Problem)

Addiction is not instantaneous. It happens over the course of months and years and often people look back and have no idea how it happened.

Today, we’re going to break down the various stages of addiction so that you can see for yourself if you have a problem.

Most people who are worried about the dangers of addiction are likely not. Read on to find out if you fit the bill and what you can do about it.

The Stages of Addiction

1. Initiation and Experimentation

We typically see this happening in the teenage years. Maybe you were curious or maybe your friends were getting high and encouraged you to take a sip or a hit.

Maybe you just wanted to feel like you were part of the in-crowd. Either way, this is where it all starts.

2. Regular Use

When do you drink or use? Just on weekends? When you’re bored or stressed out?

Be careful, this is the second step in becoming an addict.

3. Abuse

You’re starting to see the negative consequences of alcohol and/or drugs. Your grades start to suffer. Your relationships start to fall apart.

This is usually where we start to see the prospective addict first finding themselves in legal troubles.

You don’t care about hobbies anymore. You’d rather just get wasted.

4. Dependence

This is the final stage of addiction. You aren’t your old self anymore. You probably have a physical and physiological dependence on whatever you’ve been taking.

If you’re in this stage, you don’t feel like you are ok unless you’re using. But now it takes substantially more product to give the same feeling as it did when you were an experimental or regular user.

You’ve probably had several run-ins with the police or education authorities. Maybe your parents kicked you out of the house. Your girl/boyfriend left you because they couldn’t watch you continue to go down this path.

Have you found yourself in stage 4? The first step towards recovery begins with you.

Still not sure?

Here are 5 Signs You’ve got a Problem:

1. Denial

Do you lie to friends and family about using or how often you use or drink? Do you lie to yourself? This is one of the first signs that we see in people who are developing a problem with drugs or alcohol.

2. Tolerance

You’re no longer using occasionally. Your body needs more.

So, you give it more. You’re spending money that should go to your kids, bills, and utilities to get high. The more of a tolerance you develop, the more money you have to spend to feel good.

3. Lack of Control

Have you been thinking about how you should stop drinking or using? What happens next? Do you reach for the bottle or pipe again even though you feel this way?

Feeling like you aren’t in control is a major sign that something is wrong. Why? Because you’re right.

You aren’t in control anymore. The addiction is.

4. Withdrawal

How long does it take for you to want another drink? Do you need to use as soon as you wake up?

Do you start to shake if you haven’t used in a while? How about physically sick to your stomach?

If not using or drinking is making you physically ill, it’s time for you to get help.

5. You’re Changing

Look at your life since you started using or drinking. How has your social circle changed? How have you changed?

Are you angrier? Do you get depressed more often than you used to?

Is your life filled with people who are drinking or using?

Is that the only thing that you have in common with them? Do you even care about them as people or are you just interested in them helping you get a fix?

Finishing Up

If you’re nodding your head right now, chances are you need help. if you’re in the Cumming Georgia or Peachtree City area, The Carter Treatment Center is here for you.

Contact us for information on how to start walking down the path of recovery.


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