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Stages of addiction – 1: Seeking refuge

Addiction does not develop in a day. Even consuming a drug once or twice does not react slowly to develop into addiction few days later. People go through several stages while developing addiction to a substance, which takes nearly a year. However, it is true the trail of addiction begins with casual use leading to occasional consumption and then reaching the stage of addiction.

Among the various stages that lead to addiction, the first is dependence. Here the regular use of a substance makes the body chemically dependent on it to function normally. Next comes the stage where the body develops tolerance to the drug. As a result, the user has to increase the dosage in order to achieve the same effect. And finally comes the addiction, where the body is completely captivated by the substance and cannot function without it. Ceasing the substance leads to withdrawal symptoms that further causes pain and discomfort.

Above were the stages that lead to addiction. However, experts further identify various stages within addiction that help in defining its severity. The series ‘Stages of addiction’ discusses these very stages and attempts to explore the nuances involved in addiction.

Developing addiction as mode of seeking refuge

Drugs, alcohol and other addictive substances are chiefly consumed to achieve a euphoric high. These substances help users to disconnect from the reality and zone out to an imaginary world. They are able to forget their pain, struggles and problems. Therefore, many people tend to take drugs in order to dissociate themselves from the mundane struggles of life.

The addiction often starts with an offering from a friend who tries to help the user cope with the loss and pain. During this stage, the user consumes the drugs occasionally and is in control of making decisions about his/her substance use. All throughout, the user never intends to develop the occasional use into addiction.

However, the temporary solace in the addictive substance encourages the user to try various other drugs and substances to attain regular permanent relief. And the one-time or occasional use of addictive substance makes the body susceptible to develop addiction. Likewise, experimenting with drugs is often observed to end up in development of addiction.

Trauma, loss or heartbreak disrupts the mental balance and creates emotional disturbances. As a result, a person starts feeling low and experiences pain and displeasure. The person tries to escape from these feelings and resorts to drugs and alcohol as self-medication to overcome their pain. This eventually leads to development of addiction.

Seeking refuge in addictive substances is an excuse given by society following some misconceptions and myths. People who abuse substances only to seek refuge from their pain and agony can control their intake by seeking medical interventions. This is the very first stage of addiction and often the severity is low. Therefore, it becomes easier for user to get rid of the addiction and also happen to experience fewer withdrawal symptoms.

Recovery road map

Addiction to a substance is curable. Individuals with addiction can discuss the troubling issue with friends, family or counselors. If you or your loved one is fighting addiction, contact the 24/7 Recovery Helpline to know about one of the best drug rehab centers in your area. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-441-4405 or chat online with our treatment advisors for more information about drug and alcohol abuse treatment centers in your vicinity.

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