The Addiction Cycle

Drug and alcohol addictions cripple the lives of millions of people in the United Kingdom every single day.

Yet only a fraction of those in need secured treatment for an addiction in the last year.

For various reasons, many individuals struggling with addictions will defer treatment that is readily available for them to take advantage of. Instead, they will attempt to break free from the cycle of addiction on their own.

However, it is virtually impossible to do this without treatment. This is because addictions are, as reported by the American Psychiatric Association, complex psychological conditions.


What Causes The Addiction Cycle To Arise?

Various factors cause the addiction cycle to arise. The factors that influence one individual to turn to substances will likely be entirely different from those that influence another individual to consume substances.

Some of the most common causes of addiction include stress, trauma, mental health disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, social influences and genetics.


The Stages Of The Addiction Cycle

As touched on above, addictions are severe psychological conditions that impact an individual’s behaviour, thoughts and feelings. Yet, many believe that those struggling with addictions simply decide to consume large volumes of substances and, as a result, choose to become addicted to drugs or alcohol.

However, the way in which an addiction arises is much more complicated than this.

Addictions essentially arise gradually over six different stages. These stages all contribute to the likelihood that an individual will become addicted to a substance.

To help you understand the different stages of the addiction cycle, we have outlined each stage below.

Stage One – Initial Use

From dealing with stress to participating in social activities, across the United Kingdom, almost 30 million adults consume alcohol each year. In addition, 1 in 11 people in the United Kingdom consume drugs each year.

While consuming drugs or alcohol is often deemed to be relatively harmless, initial drug or alcohol use is commonly associated with drug and alcohol abuse. This is because many realise that consuming drugs or alcohol provides a high that enables them to relax and enjoy themselves for just a short period.

Stage Two – Abuse

Out of those that consume alcohol, it is believed that one-fifth of individuals exceed the recommended alcohol limit every week. Sadly, substance abuse arises when an individual exceeds the recommended alcohol limit or administers large quantities of drugs in a single sitting.

Although substance abuse comes hand in hand with various physical and psychological side effects, many individuals overlook these and instead chase the desired high that they know can be obtained when substances are consumed.

Knowing that consuming substances enables them to temporarily relieve themselves of any worries, stress, or problems they face in life, many individuals repeatedly abuse substances without considering the consequences of doing so. Sadly, substance abuse is the leading cause of addictions.

Stage Three – Tolerance

As drugs and alcohol are abused regularly, an individual’s tolerance to substances gradually increases. This essentially means that larger quantities of substances must be consumed to reach the desired high.

Sadly, as an individual’s tolerance to substances increases, the ramifications of administering more significant volumes of drugs or alcohol begin to impair the body and brain.

An increase in tolerance to substances also sees withdrawal symptoms become almost intolerable. This regrettably leads to substance dependence.

Stage Four – Dependence

As individuals reach the addiction cycle’s dependence stage, they will find it extremely difficult to cope and navigate day-to-day life without substances.

Due to an increased tolerance to drugs and alcohol, many individuals living with addictions will sadly find themselves constantly looking for their next fix. Many will also continuously administer substances in a bid to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

As an individual becomes dependent on substances, physical, psychological and behavioural symptoms arise. Long-term illnesses related to substance abuse will also likely be encountered. Relationships with others may begin to crumble, and those struggling with an addiction will isolate themselves from others.

Stage Five – Addiction

Having become depending on drugs or alcohol, by the fifth stage of the addiction cycle, an individual will have developed an addiction to substances.

Those struggling with addictions will likely begin to understand that they have become addicted to a substance and will be advised to seek professional support to preserve their life.

Stage Six – Relapse

The final stage of the addiction cycle, relapses impact between 50% and 90% of individuals who have succumbed to an addiction.

Relapses commonly affect individuals that attempt to withdraw from drugs or alcohol on their own. This is because cravings and withdrawal symptoms become unbearable, and see many once again turn to substances to reduce the feelings experienced.

Individual’s that secure treatment from a rehab may also fall victim to relapse. However, the number of individuals that relapse upon securing rehabilitation treatment is much less.


Breaking The Addiction Cycle

While addictions require treatment if they are to be genuinely overcome, contrary to belief, support can be sought at various stages of the addiction cycle to mitigate the overall ramifications that an addiction has on an individual’s life.

However, due to stigmas and denial, many only secure support as the cycle of addiction cripples their life.

Breaking the addiction cycle as early as possible is essentially lifesaving, which is why we encourage those struggling with substance use and abuse to contact us as soon as they realise that their relationship with substances have escalated.


Seek Professional Support Today

Breaking free from the addiction cycle without professional support and treatment is almost impossible. Yet, as touched on above, many individuals worldwide continue to attempt to do so alone.

If you have found yourself victim to the addiction cycle, please seek professional support today.

At Step One Recovery, we are ready to welcome you to our private residential rehab centre and provide you with the treatment that you need to escape the addiction cycle once and for all.

If you would like to find out how we can support you, please call us today on 0800 012 6006.


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