Did you know that people who suffer from addiction go through stages? While not everybody has the same experience, most people hit these same stages in this order. Here are the stages of addiction and recovery:
Stage 1: Initiation
This is the “I’m curious” stage. This stage typically happens as a child or teen and starts with that wonder and curiosity rather than the icky and gross we were taught in drug education.
Stage 2: Experimentation
In the experimentation stage, a person will do drugs or drink alcohol to explore the effects and will not crave or want more once the drug or alcohol wears off. They are simply experimenting.
Stage 3: Regular Use
During this stage, a person starts to get on a pattern. Maybe it’s every Friday and Saturday night but generally, there are no negative consequences and the use is still light and fun.
Stage 4: Problem or Risky Use
Now this is the stage where red flags start to surface. The behavior turns risky and there are consequences and problems after each use. For example, a person at a college party blacks out or a person purchases drugs from someone they do not know. It’s problematic and risky.
Stage 5: Dependence
This is a problem stage. This is where a person is feeling psychologically or physically dependent on a drug or alcohol. For example, a person who feels like they can’t work or get through their classes without using a substance. During this stage, a person is likely to keep on using, every single day to avoid some sort of withdrawal.
Stage 6: Substance Use Disorder
This is an actual mental health disorder that can be diagnosed by a mental health professional. When someone is diagnosed with a Substance Use Disorder, it means that the drugs and/or alcohol has had and is having a serious effect on their life, to the point where they need some sort of treatment or intervention in order to obtain a full recovery.
Stage 7: Treatment
This is the final stage in the stages of addiction. When a person enters this stage they are, hopefully, on board with wanting to make gain sobriety.