Man sitting on a wooden fence looking towards a sunny landscape at the end of the stages of addiction recovery

Stages of Addiction Recovery

Stages of Addiction Recovery

Addiction takes time to develop, as the stages of addiction start with your first use and end with dependency. Since substance abuse disorders get progressively worse, there are also stages of addiction recovery.

When you struggle with a substance abuse disorder or addiction, you can deal with troubling and serious consequences. Once addiction becomes your priority, it overwhelms family, career, and health. Addiction is a chronic disease that becomes progressively worse over time. It is imperative to receive treatment as soon as you realize that you can no longer control your substance use.

How Addiction Develops

When you first use a psychoactive substance, the path to addiction begins. Drugs and alcohol are neurotransmitter inhibitors. They force your brain to release an overwhelming rush of pleasurable neurotransmitters when you use your substance of choice. The brain’s pleasure and reward center connects things that induce positive experiences with pleasure, meaning that using drugs leads to changes to your brain chemistry.

As addiction progresses, your judgment and decision-making centers in your brain alter. Since substances like opiates, alcohol, and meth impair your cognitive functions and lower inhibitions, abusing drugs can lead to major consequences. As your tolerance increases, you need to continue to use more of your drug of choice in order to experience the same pleasurable effects. When your drug of choice is expensive or illegal, a growing tolerance places you at a heightened risk of dealing with legal problems.

The changes that addiction causes to your brain also increases your chances of engaging in dangerous or reckless behavior. These behavioral changes can create a perfect storm of chaos, which can lead to damaged relationships and a diminished quality of life.

Since your liver is responsible for filtering impurities, abusing drugs can cause potentially irreversible liver damage. The longer you abuse drugs, the more severe the consequences become. Early treatment is therefore crucial to not only completing the stages of addiction recovery, but also to avoid severe problems to your physical, social, and emotional health.

The Stages of Addiction Recovery

Just like addiction progresses in stages, overcoming a substance abuse disorder requires progressing through the stages of addiction recovery. The major stages of addiction recovery include:

  • Accepting that you have a substance abuse disorder or addiction
  • Detoxing from your substance of choice
  • Learning how to cope with cravings and triggers
  • Changing your lifestyle to support your recovery
  • Allowing your body and brain to heal from addiction
  • Addressing any underlying problems related to your addiction

The first steps in the stages of addiction recovery require engaging in treatment. Since detoxing from your substance of choice is only the first of several stages in addiction recovery, it’s important to connect with treatment programs once you completely withdraw from your substance of choice. Connecting with an inpatient or outpatient treatment center once you decide to begin the stages of addiction recovery is the best way to improve your chances of overcoming your substance abuse disorder.

Finding Help Today

Struggling with an addiction can make you feel lost, confused, and trapped. Luckily, the stages of addiction recovery ensure that no matter how long you’ve struggled with addiction, you can always find recovery. To find out more about your recovery options or to discuss our treatment programs, reach out to us today at 717.969.9126.

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