Published on August 25th, 2020
Addiction is a disease that is developed in an individual’s mind through time. It is a process that consists of stages regarding the intensity of the craving and abuse of a substance as well as the effects on one’s well-being.
Different biological, mental health, and socio-economic factors can lead a person to start being interested and exposed to these possible addictions.
Here are the most common known stages of the development of addiction from becoming a user into an abuser:
1. First Use And Mood Enhancement
The first stage of addiction is being exposed to the substance. Once a person is exposed, it is more likely that he/she will try the substance.
Moreover, after having tried it, people will have a feeling of discovery where they realize these substances are mood enhancers where pleasure and euphoric thrills are experienced.
Moreover, first-time users may find delight in realizing the effects of stimulants where one feels more alert, of depressants where it can calm oneself and be relieved of tension or stress, and of having a feeling of escaping realities or problems.
2. Regular Use And Social Factors
Through regular use of a substance, patterns of usage may be established like every Friday night with friends, every time one goes to bed, and others. This stage is still a pre-addiction phase although a pattern has already been developed.
In this setting, users can still control when they can act on their want of this substance. Regular use can be associated with social factors as these environment setters can greatly influence the decision-making of an individual and his/her exposure to the substance.
3. Risky Use And Learned Associations
In this stage, signs of addiction start to manifest as substance use invades one’s personal life and becomes an important part of it.
With the continuous use of this substance, people may come to realize a substance’s purpose of achieving their desired state of mind and feeling.
This is also where brain chemistry changes start to fully develop. Socio-economic factors become heavier for users as their vulnerability to these factors increases.
Whenever these trigger a certain emotion, it becomes immediately associated and resorted to substance use. Career, education, and personal relationships may already be affected by this risky use.
As the brain activity starts to develop tolerance of the substance, people may already find it uncomfortable going through a day or simply hours not being intoxicated by it. Cravings for these substances are developed.
Moreover, even having just hours in between your next substance use, you may already show symptoms of withdrawal in which these can be as revolting as constant vomiting, fevers, and body pain.
5. Full-Blown Addiction And Commitment
Because of high amounts and overly frequent substance use, a user develops addiction which has then already become a disease after these stages of development.
At this stage, a user can no longer stop him/herself from continuing to abuse this substance. He/she cannot function anymore without being intoxicated, and more health and behavioural disorders may have developed already.
Different types of development stages are associated with different types of drugs. It is also important to know about these processes like for a heroin overdose timeline, a depressant or stimulant overdose timeline, and more.