The experimentation phase does not mean that additional substances are added to the mixture, but rather refers to the use of the original substance in different scenarios, apart from the initial configuration. This means that social use of drugs or alcohol becomes use at home or sometimes even in the workplace. Only one stage before starting on the steepest part of the slippery slope of addiction is the use of problems. Problem users experience the same lack of thinking behind using their substance as regular use, but more often and disregard for negative impacts, such as hangovers or financial burden.
Substance abuse is a more serious use problem and often causes the user's body and mind to become dependent on the substance. This may be due to increased tolerance for prolonged use, abuse of the substance by the user as psychological relief, or even ignoring the warning signs that lead to this point. Sometimes there is a perception that addiction is something that exists in a person's character or it doesn't exist. This idea may lead to the belief that a person who is struggling with addiction to a substance may have had a drink or tried an illicit drug once and immediately became addicted.
However, the reality is a little more complex than that. As defined by the American Society for Addiction Medicine, addiction is a chronic brain disease that affects reward, pleasure, memory and motivation of the brain. Like many chronic diseases, it doesn't just arise one day. Often, several circumstances align that, over time, cause a person who would otherwise enjoy the occasional drink or avoid substance abuse to become addicted to drugs or alcohol.
The process of developing addiction in this case tends to occur in a series of stages and, like other chronic diseases, often turns into a cycle of addiction, treatment, or withdrawal and relapse. Multiple stages of addiction can occur in a short period of time, or they can take months or even years to develop. A person who has only had an occasional drink may, over the years, develop a habit that can develop into alcoholism. If you think you or a loved one may be struggling with addiction, let us hear your story and help you determine the path to treatment.
Sometimes, these stages can occur simultaneously. For example, for illicit substances used to feel “high”, even one use is considered abuse. Some of these illicit substances can also result in tolerance within one or two uses. However, in most cases, all of these steps are part of the chronic cycle of addiction.
There are many reasons why the person who ends up struggling with an addiction might try the substance to begin with. It can be as seemingly benign as getting a prescription for pain management or a mental health problem, as culturally typical as trying a first drink at age 21, or as insidious as being pressured by friends or family to try illicit drugs. Regardless of how the initial use occurs, it is the first step towards addiction. However, even these risk factors won't necessarily lead to the high-risk person developing a substance use disorder, such as addiction.
Other contributing factors often take into account, including later stages of addiction. When a person has been taking a prescription medication or has abused other substances for an extended period of time, the substance can cause changes in the brain that result in tolerance, a condition described by the Merck Manuals as one in which the original dose or use of the substance no longer produces the same physical effect or mental effect. As a result, the person using the substance may increase the dosage or frequency of use to try to recover the original result. For a while, this could work.
Then, over time, tolerance to this new dose occurs, and the person increases again, creating a progression to intense substance abuse. However, if the person has been using a medication to treat another condition and becomes dependent on that drug to feel good regardless of the condition being treated, it may be a type of dependence that leads to addiction. In general, experiencing 2-3 of these symptoms is considered a mild substance use disorder. Reporting 4 to 5 of them leads to a diagnosis of a moderate disorder.
If the person experiences 6 or more of the symptoms, it is considered to indicate a serious substance use disorder or addiction. A person may make several attempts to stop using a substance before realizing that addiction is a factor. However, when addiction is diagnosed, it is possible to interrupt this cycle of addiction, withdrawal and relapse by receiving professional treatment supported by research that demonstrates your ability to help. Multiple methods, including cognitive and behavioral therapies, group peer support, and other physical and mental health treatments, can encourage the person to develop tools to manage this chronic and recurrent condition.
As with medications and therapies used to treat asthma and diabetes, addiction rehabilitation treatments are designed to help a person learn to manage a chronic substance use disorder and reduce the likelihood of relapse in drug use. With certified and experienced motivation and help, these individuals can learn to interrupt the cycle of addiction and move toward sustained abstinence that heralds recovery and results in a more positive future. There is a popular misconception that there is a fine line between “casual substance use” and “addiction to alcohol” or drugs. However, the truth is that there are stages of addiction, and progressing through them is the way addiction develops.
The good news is that if you can identify that you are in an early stage of substance abuse, you can break the cycle before total addiction occurs. Much of this depends on the person's age and what they are taking. For example, while drinking alcohol at age 16 has been shown to be dangerous, having a drink or two at a friend's house is a relatively normal experience that, on its own, may not lead to a substance abuse problem. However, a 12-year-old child experimenting with opioids would be at much greater risk of developing drug dependence.
Contact our admissions staff at (22) 300-8470 to discuss our treatment programs or reach out online. After realizing that substance abuse is a problem and that they can't give up drugs or alcohol on their own, many people begin to consider the need for help. This is an important step toward addiction recovery because, during this time, you begin to realize the impact of substance abuse on the lives of those around you. For many people, the impact of their own addiction on their loved ones is a driving factor in moving toward other stages of overcoming addiction.
The first step toward addiction is to test the substance. It can be as quick as having the first drink or smoking a cigarette. Or, people may have used drugs in the past without developing a dependency, but are now moving to a more addictive substance. Precontemplation is the first stage in the stages of change, the addiction model, and behavior change.
This may be because they have not yet experienced any negative consequences of their behavior, or it may be the result of the negativity or severity of the consequences they have experienced. When people are in the precontemplation stage, they are often not very interested in hearing about negative consequences or advice for quitting their addiction. Usually, someone in the contemplation stage is more open to receiving information about the possible consequences of their addictive behavior. They may be open to learning about different strategies to control or stop addictive behavior, without committing to a specific approach or even promising to make a change.
People with addictions can be in the contemplation stage for many years. From here, they can move on to the next phase, the preparation stage, or they can return to the pre-contemplation stage. There may be many other preparations that need to be made in your specific circumstance, such as finding a clean and safe place to start your new life. If you need help from a counselor or social worker, now is the time to get it.
They may also be able to help you with other preparations. Once the necessary preparations have been made, a person is usually ready to move to the action stage. The action stage is the focus of attention for many people trying to overcome addiction. This is the stage where real behavior change begins to take place.
But with good preparation, it can also be an exciting time that gives way to new options. For many people, the action stage begins in a detoxification or treatment center. Here, trained professionals provide support during the early stages of an addiction interruption. For others, particularly those whose goals are around moderating or controlling behavior (rather than quitting smoking altogether), the action stage may be similar to normal life, but with greater moderation and perhaps a greater need for support and other ways of coping with stress.
Depending on the goals you set in the contemplation stage and the plans you made in the preparation stage, the action stage can occur in small, gradual steps, or it can be a complete life change. It can be strange and even empty to live life without your addiction. It takes time to get used to life without an addiction, even if your support and alternative ways of coping are good. Identifying and developing effective ways to cope with stress is crucial during the action stage.
This will allow you to effectively move to the maintenance stage without experiencing the relapse stage. The maintenance phase of the transtheoretical model of change is concerned with continuing to achieve the progress that began in the action phase. For people with addictions, this means maintaining the intentions made during the preparation stage and the behaviors introduced in the action stage. The maintenance stage is more difficult after a period of time has elapsed and the focus on achieving the goal has lost its intensity.
People can become complacent at this point, and they may begin to think that a small lapse will make no real difference. Maintenance can also become difficult when the stresses of life overtake it and the old and well-known ways of coping with addictive behavior re-emerge. That's why it's important to learn new ways to cope with stress during the action phase, so that alternative strategies are available to you during the maintenance phase. The experimentation phase of addiction is characterized by the continued use of drugs or alcohol in different settings.
For adults, this could mean meeting for happy hours or marking the end of a long week with a buzz. For teens, the experimentation stage might include drug use at parties or other social occasions. In any case, during the experiencing stage of addiction, cravings have not yet developed, and the person in control over whether or not to use drugs or alcohol. A person has entered the regular consumption stage of addiction, when the experiencing stage of substance abuse becomes more routine.
This phase is marked by more casual use of drugs or alcohol, such as use on weekends or to relieve boredom. At this stage, a hangover may begin to lessen personal responsibilities and quitting smoking may become more difficult. However, drug or alcohol dependence or addiction is not yet a problem at this stage. The cycle of addiction is broken when the addicted person becomes abstinent and makes lifestyle changes that replace dysfunctional and self-destructive behaviors with healthier and more productive behaviors.
Learn to avoid moments of weakness or vulnerability, and you will avoid relapse tendencies that cause many people to fall back into the same harmful cycles of addiction. Unfortunately, without the outside intervention of professional counselors, doctors, and rehabilitation programs, most addicts cannot break the repetitive cycle of addiction. Addiction has not yet been established and there is still time to take a step back and review the relationship between the person and the substance. The cycle of addiction has seven steps, which although they are different, can occur variably for different users.
Admitting that you have a problem, both for yourself and for the friends and family you have chosen to accompany you on your addiction recovery journey, is the first step to achieving the freedom that awaits you on the other side. When that cycle of addiction breaks down and the person leads a healthier lifestyle, then they are recovering. Understanding how the cycle of addiction is perpetuated is key to figuring out how to interrupt the cycle so that recovery can begin. A person can move on to the next step of addiction when alcohol or drugs become increasingly important in their life.
The following 7 steps break down that process, from addiction to recovery, and offer concrete tips and resources along the way that can help you achieve freedom and stay there. Whether you realize you have an alcohol or drug abuse problem or you have returned to step three after years of sobriety, the Transition Recovery Program can help. Whether you have slowly fallen into addiction during years of alcohol use or you find yourself craving and withdrawal after just one or two uses of a substance such as heroin, addiction treatment programs can help you break the cycle of substance abuse and achieve success with the following steps to overcome addiction. .