What are the 4 levels of the addiction process?

Addiction can take on many different stages. Explore notable moments.

Given the challenges that can come with addiction, it shouldn’t be surprising that it doesn’t happen overnight. For many, the path to addiction can feel slow and gradual until it is too late. In this article, we will discuss the main steps associated with addiction.

What are the 4 levels of the addiction process?

The Common Stages of Addiction

Addiction is a gradual process, which is why it can be so overwhelming. Many people feel like they are in control until it is too late. In reality, they are simply engaging in a cycle that can have lasting impacts on their health and wellness. Knowing how to recognize the stages can help you to learn how addiction happens and how to push back against it. 

Trying Out the Substance

The first step towards addiction is very simple—using the substance for the first time. This can happen in a variety of different ways, though it commonly happens in social settings. Most people think that they can try certain substances without repercussions because they know people who they believe are doing it. It is true that not everyone will become addicted to certain substances, but you should never use other people to gauge your personal health. You don’t know where they might be in the same cycle.

Habitual Use

After the first time, you will find that you are not quite as concerned about the substance itself. You might think that you “know” about it now and know what to expect. This will make you more comfortable with the substance. As your comfort levels grow, you will find that you use the substance more regularly. It will become a bigger part of your life every time that you use it.

Excessive and Risky Abuse

At some point, regular use can take a more extreme turn. Standard use will begin to build your addiction. As that addiction grows, you will find yourself making compromises for substance use that you usually wouldn’t make. You might believe that you are more in control of your use, giving you the idea that you can use it in instances where you ordinarily wouldn’t. This is when you might have a drink before work or you might decide to use a drug before spending time with family and friends.

Full Addiction and Dependency

The final stage of the process is complete addiction and dependency. At this stage, your substance use will feel like an expectation or instinct. Physical and mental addiction will take over, and you will realize that you feel the urge to use the substance, even when it might be very dangerous or cause problems. This can lead you to spend excessive money, engage in dangerous behavior, or even end up in jail.

The Takeaway

Addiction happens, but it doesn’t have to be a part of your future. The drug rehab Denver offers can help you to regain control and leave substance abuse behind. A step towards recovery will help you to live your life on your terms, not the terms of drugs or alcohol.