Addiction is a chronic, recurrent brain disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite the harmful consequences. It includes dependence on alcohol, opioids and nicotine, among many other substances. As addiction takes hold, people exhibit certain behaviors, such as overexperimentation, constant use in daily life, changes in behavior, physical side effects that represent increasing dependence and an inability to stop using. The five stages of addiction recovery are precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance. The first stage of addiction is precontemplation.
This is when the use of the substance or the performance of the behavior is voluntary and there are no apparent negative consequences. This is also known as “party” or “chipping” in the context of drug and alcohol addiction. An example of this could be an older woman who loses her husband and buys a bottle of wine to drink with dinner because she no longer has her life partner to share dinner with. The substance or behavior often seems to help calm the sense of loss, emptiness, or lack of esteem that created the original interest in experimentation. The second stage is contemplation.
This is when people become regular users and begin to show a pattern. They may consume only on weekends or only at night while spending time with friends, but often these people begin to show signs of addiction as the substance becomes more important in their lives. At this stage, recovery shifts from reflection, research and desire to actively embark on the path to drug liberation. The third stage is preparation. After the addict has recognized their addiction and has taken more time to learn about it, it's time for them to start figuring out what their options are for getting help.
This can happen in a number of ways, such as talking to friends and family who have been in their position before or doing more research online. The fourth stage is action. This is when many addicts decide to visit a rehabilitation center to explore the possibility or even take the leap and enter a rehabilitation program. If the addict has not yet been admitted to a rehabilitation center, this occurs at the beginning of this stage. The first step will be to choose what type of recovery program would be best for them.
There are many different options to choose from, but the most effective of them is known as hospital care, which is when the patient resides in the facility while receiving treatment. The fifth stage is maintenance. By this time, the individual will have made a great effort to overcome their substance use disorder and will have received the tools needed to begin recovery. To facilitate this stage, it is important that addicts have a support system, not only in times of difficulty, but also in moments of success and daily life. Before leaving rehabilitation, each patient should receive a personalized aftercare plan that is conducive to their recovery efforts.