Drug and alcohol addicts are trapped in a vicious cycle of dependence. An emotional trigger may re-ignite the cycle of drug misuse for a few weeks or months, but then it will fade away again. Understanding the mechanics of addiction will put you in a better position to stop the addiction cycle.
Phases of the Addiction Cycle
There is a wide variety of addictions (drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, excessive spending, binge eating, etc.), and each has its own unique cycle, which may make a recovery more challenging. Depending on the person and the severity of their addiction, each stage may develop rapidly or slowly. Until the addict receives treatment, the stages of addiction follow a fairly consistent pattern, regardless of how long each one may persist.
Initial Exposure Phase
People are exposed to drugs in a variety of settings. A person may get dependent on alcohol as a result of anything from trying a new pain reliever prescribed by a doctor to peer pressure to try an illicit narcotic. Regardless of the first point of exposure, Skyward Treatment Center specialists have identified a number of risk factors that may enhance the likelihood that a person can develop an addiction. Depression, enabling friends, social problems, and family, physical or emotional abuse or neglect, and a genetic predisposition to substance addiction or mental illness are all things to keep an eye out for.
Several factors contribute to the person’s continued drug use at this phase in the addiction cycle. Substance misuse “ramps up,” or increases in frequency or intensity, over time, as an individual attempt to dull the effects of withdrawal.
At this point in the cycle, the drug has had considerable time to alter the brain. The substance does not provide the same effect on the user’s mind and body; thus they must increase their dosage and frequency of use to get the same effects. At this point in the addiction cycle, it is normal for brain chemical production to slow or for chemical receptors to be lost. Continuous exposure to this altered state may develop physiological dependence and addiction.
Dependence and addiction
Due to the physiological changes in the brain, dependence and addiction are the subsequent phases of the addiction cycle. In advanced cases, patients often exhibit the following symptoms:
- More desire for the substance
- Inability to balance daily responsibilities
- Increased time spent obtaining and using it
- Decreasing interest in formerly enjoyable social activities
Using it often in inappropriate settings might cause problems at home and amongst partners.
Quitting or reducing drug use or abuse can cause withdrawal symptoms. Fatigue, anger, anxiety, tremors, nausea, and even seizures can all be signs of a drug or alcohol addiction’s withdrawal phase. Not all of them are included here, but these are some of the most prevalent. The severity of withdrawal symptoms depends on the individual, drug abuse duration, and dependency degree.
When withdrawal symptoms become intolerable, the addict reaches the final stage of the cycle and relapses. In this stage, people go back to using their drug of choice.
Skyward Treatment Center Can Help You Break Your Addiction Cycle
Skyward Treatment Center’s dual diagnosis treatment program is an all-encompassing program for helping individuals overcome their addiction. This approach offers a structure for discovering and addressing the underlying causes of both addiction and emotional distress.
Get in touch with Skyward Treatment Center right now to learn more about our holistic approach to ending the cycle of addiction.