Last year, over 21 million people in the US needed substance treatment. That’s one in 13 people. If that number surprises you, consider this. Each of those 21 million was in different stages of addiction when they got treatment. Some may not have yet reached rock bottom. They began reclaiming their life at earlier stages.
For this reason, it’s vital to understand the addiction stages. You can find support and prevent progression regardless of where you find yourself.
Stage One: First Use
Regardless of whether a substance is legal or illegal, it all starts when you first try it. Some of the most dangerous “first uses” are those that are legal but progress to illicit use.
Such is the case with opioid addiction. That’s because if you have a prescription, you become accustomed to regular use under doctor’s orders. And it may take a little while for you or your doctor to realize you’re addicted.
Stage Two: Using Regularly
First use may be the end of it. You might try something else if you don’t like it.
But many who try a drug will go on to regular usage of one or more substances. You might use on the weekends or at night. At this point, the drug isn’t yet controlling your life, and you know it. It may not really seem like a problem, and no one can tell you differently.
You see little to no impact on your job, family relationships, finances, or health. So during this stage, you keep telling yourself, “I’ve got this. I’m not addicted”.
But the problem is that the stages of addiction almost always progress once you achieve regular use.
Stage Three: Risky Use
This may be a transition from prescription to street opioids. Drugs you buy illegally may not even be the substance you think you’re buying. If you began with illegal drugs, then you may notice that initial safety measures you took begin to slip.
These risky behaviors might include:
- Buying or “borrowing” to supplement a prescription
- Sharing or reusing needles
- Driving or going to work intoxicated
- Unsafe sex
- Leaving children unattended
- Putting yourself in treacherous places where you could be robbed, raped, or killed
- Risking incarceration and other life consequences
During this stage, you’re going down a slippery slope. Scheduling private outpatient therapy sessions now rather than later may reduce your risk of sailing through to the latter stages of addiction.
Stage Four: Dependence
Now, you’ve developed a tolerance for your drug of choice. So you need more of it to feel the same high.
You’re using increasingly dangerous amounts. Or you might switch to a more potent version of the drug, for example, heroin to fentanyl.
Once you’re in this stage, you have cravings that may overwhelm you at times. On top of that, if you don’t have your drug of choice within a specified period, you have withdrawals. These symptoms vary depending on the substance but are intense.
Stage Five: Substance Use Disorder
Once you reach this level, it’s hard to function in daily life without your substance. And because of it, you might lose your job, become distant from those you love, and start experiencing financial as well as health-related hardships.
You might even face homelessness or worse if you don’t turn this around.
Sagebrush Treatment Centers Can Help with Stages of Addiction
It’s never too early to speak with a professional. But chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve already moved into stage four or five. In that case, you may need to enter a residential drug and alcohol treatment program and/or an intensive outpatient program (IOP) in Northern Virginia.
Regardless of the type of program, it will be built around you and your individual needs.
During a program, you’ll attend evidence-based therapies and sessions that help you with things that may be contributing to your addiction, such as:
- Unmanaged anger
- Impulse control
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Trauma therapy
Through our small and holistic programs, Sagebrush Treatment Centers helps clients in each of the stages of addiction overcome the power a substance has over their life. You can reclaim your life and happiness in recovery. Call us at 866.488.1156 to learn more.