No one sets out to become addicted when they first try a drug, but some people are at higher risk. Through a combination of biological and environmental factors, some people develop an addiction very quickly after they try a drug. However, there are stages of addiction that have recognizable signs that you are developing a serious problem. As you become addicted, you begin to lose control over your actions. Relieving the need for the drug becomes the center of your whole being. Suddenly, getting that drug and experiencing the high that comes with it becomes the most important thing in your life. You risk your relationships with family and loved ones, and even your career.
The Stages of Addiction
The development of addiction can be traced in stages. The first stage begins when you start using the drug to feel good. But while this stage might be about pleasure and avoiding certain emotions, it can soon progress to the second stage. The next stage begins when you feel anxious and crave the drug to avoid feeling bad. This is no longer about seeking a pleasurable effect. As your use increases in frequency and dose, you develop tolerance and move into the next stage. The risk of overdosing in this stage is much higher. During this stage, the effects of the addiction begin to seriously affect other aspects of your life. From there, you move into the withdrawal stage, experiencing physical symptoms when you take the drug. These symptoms can range from annoying to dangerous.
Addiction Risk Factors
You might wonder why some people experience the stages of addiction, while others don’t seem as affected. This is due to the biological and environmental risk factors in your life. Some biological risk factors include genetics, your age and gender, and mental health disorders you suffer. Environmental factors include chaotic childhood and home life, parents who used drugs, poor school achievement, and community that lacks resources. When these factors are combined, you are more at risk for developing an addiction.
On the other hand, there are also protective factors that might make it harder for you to develop an addiction. These include having good self-control from childhood, a stable life with supportive parents, and being part of a resourceful community.
Treating an Addiction
The stages of addiction result in many signs and symptoms that affect you mentally, physically, and spiritually. However, there is treatment available to help you overcome an addiction. Outpatient substance abuse treatment programs in Chicago offered by Gateway Foundation Chicago River North use evidence-based services to treat your addiction. As part of your individualized treatment plan, our programs include services such as:
- Medication-Assisted Treatment
- Certified Dual Diagnosis Enhanced Treatment
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Commitment Therapy
- Motivational Interviewing
If you are ready to overcome the stages of addiction and take control of your life, call Gateway Foundation Chicago River North at 312.464.9451 and begin your journey.