Stages of Addiction


Stages of Addiction
Stages of Addiction

While genetics and neurochemistry assuredly play important roles in addiction the experience of addiction from the addict’s perspective is not at the genetic or neurochemical level. The experience of addiction is progressive.


At first the inpidual may just be experimenting with drugs or alcohol, and for many this first stage is their last stage and thus the vast majority of experimenters never progress to addiction.


Following the experimental stage is the second stage this is where the use of alcohol or drugs produces positive rewarding experiences. The next stage occurs when the use of alcohol or drugs starts to cause the user problems such as:

  • Employment
  • Relationships
  • Legal
  • Physical


The next stage is where trying to quit the use of drugs or alcohol causes the person to experience physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms.


Once the withdrawal stage is entered into the person feels physically compelled to continue their use and if their use continues unabated at this point the probability of an untimely death due to their addiction becomes all but certain.



Rick Murphy, M.A.

Post Discussion

  1. Addict

    Perhaps the most important feature of addiction is that the addict does not recognize the symptoms of the disease or its progression. Although family and friends may see the effects of a loved one's use on his or her life, the individual themself often experiences the impact(s) as an almost natural process, oblivious to the downward spiral that his or her life has become. The incipient and subtle nature of the disease process for so many is what keeps them in a state of denial. Very few individuals begin at the "bottom". What family and friends often witness is a slow and progressive, yet persistent decline in the individuals affect, values and self-image which is reflected in the behaviors that the individual exhibits. More often than not there is not a steep drop, but a slow and steady decline - baby steps - down at an ever-increasing pace, much the way an individual's pace would increase walking down a steep incline.
    This is perhaps the deadliest feature of the disease because it makes it so easy to remain in denial.

  2. Addict

    The slow and progressive decline, the concious-dampening and malignant downward spiral, is, as the above writer stated, subtle. Subtle too is the development of mindfulness (present moment awareness), one tangible solution to WORKING the walk toward full recovery. Finding a place of calm is integral to confronting uncomfortable feelings, those formerly quelled by the honey of avoidance, one\\\\\\\'s substance of choice. Something equally tangible must replace the elixir, a \\\\\\\"something\\\\\\\" to access, a guide, a warm body of the mind. As one in treatment is repeatedly reminded, life after treatment remains the same. Troubling events occur, daily stressors ensue, and with these circumstances,the urge to use will rise.

    Rise and fall. Just as pain and happiness wax and wane with the solacious sea, so too will the urge to use. It gets easier over time, this clutch-ready urge. The voice of addiction becomes softer and gentler as awareness of the present moment is cultivated. The mind becomes accustomed to changing its relationship with thoughts. Thoughts beget thoughts, and are this only, just thoughts (rather than defintions of self). The creative mind may tempt one to consider to use again when emotions become seemingly umanageable during recovery. This is anxiety, a core contigent in the human experience.

    It has a voice encouraging change. This change, if one is open to acquiring freedom from further suffering, is about developing mindful awareness of the impermanence of all emotions. The honey of before, the catalyst for the subtle downward spiral, is slowly born as bold and brawny as the honey of the Now.

  3. Addict

    that's the good advise and information regarding drugs and its effect to the body. I'would like to know more about handling disclosure.

  4. Addict

    The question that every person will ask who cares of someone who is an addict is how can they be promoted to dissolve there disease and the answer is for the addictee to be witheld for detoxification a nutritionally suited diet and time for councilling to readjust the mentality to ongoing health. Unfortunatly legal services within Britain are destructive due to there short term paltry consideration of care that does no more than instigate a deeper addictive trait that proves irreversible and it is unforgivable I have a friend a young lady who will fatally overdose her chance of coming to her senses is under present guidelines is zero.

  5. Addict

    It seems almost as though there are 3 distinct levels of addiction: The recovering addict, the semi-functioning addict, and the non-functioning addict. The latter two are just a bit removed from each other, as crossing the line between keeping it under control/somewhat hidden and going on a binge is frighteningly easy to do.

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