Addiction is a progressive, chronic and potentially fatal condition that impacts tens of millions of Americans annually. The stages of addiction can progress rapidly, which can have severe and damaging consequences. All psychoactive substances can cause addiction, which can lead to physical dependence and painful withdrawal symptoms.

Recreational use can lead to abuse and addiction, which is why it is important to reach out for help when you first begin experiencing symptoms of a substance abuse disorder. With fatal overdoses becoming the leading cause of accidental death in the country, early treatment, such as a 12 step rehab program in San Diego CA, can save your life and help you recover.

The Stages of Addiction

The period between the first and final stages of addiction can occur within weeks or develop over the course of months or even years. Addiction doesn’t occur after using a substance once; however, the stages of addiction begin with your first use.

The second stage of addiction occurs when you begin using your substance of choice regularly, but not in an abusive manner. This can mean that you use your substance of choice solely on the weekends, or sporadically throughout the month.

When you engage in risky behaviors or make poor decisions because of your drug or alcohol use, you enter the third stage of addiction. During this stage, you may show up to work or school intoxicated or drive while impaired. The fourth stage of addiction is dependence.

Here, you become physically and/or psychologically dependent on your substance of choice. You may experience withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use it, or you may need to use it in order to feel normal.
The fifth stage of addiction is meeting the criteria for a substance abuse disorder. When you have a substance abuse disorder, you complete all five stages of addiction and begin to compulsively use and abuse drugs and alcohol despite reoccurring negative consequences and a desire to stop using. You may use your substance of choice multiple times per day and spend excessive amounts of money feeding your habit.

Addiction can also cause:

How Addiction is Treated

When you develop a substance abuse disorder and experience all five stages of addiction, treatment is necessary in order to fully recover. Treatment options can include inpatient rehab programs, outpatient rehab programs, and 12 step rehab programs in San Diego CA. Both inpatient and outpatient programs can offer:

Treatment programs help you learn how to deal with negative stressors, thoughts, and feelings without the use of drugs and alcohol.

Reaching Out for Help

If you or a loved one is progressing through the stages of addiction, finding help starts with a phone call. Call us today at 866.314.3222 to find out more about our nationally recognized programs and your treatment options.