Renaissance Ranch

The Addiction Cycle and When to Seek Help

Feb 16, 2021

Addictions Aren’t Formed Over Night

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 19.7 million Americans (aged 12 and older: battled a substance abuse disorder in 2017. Since then, this number has been on the rise. Though much is being done to prevent this widespread surge of addiction, each of us can play a crucial role in identifying the signs of a developing addiction and helping to stop it before it goes too far. Although some addictions don’t take long to form, many form after prolonged use, slowly drawing the user into a life of pain and hardship. In order to combat this, we must understand the how addiction works. Here are some insights into the 6 phases of addiction from your trusted Utah drug rehab professionals at Renaissance Ranch.

1. Initial Use

When it comes to illicit drugs, initial use is usually deliberate. Use often begins as a means to cope with a mental illness or due to pressure from peers. In other instances, such as in the case of prescription drugs, initial use is medically authorized. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding initial use, it is the first step of the addiction cycle and can lead to issues if not cautiously approached.

2. Abuse

Depending on various circumstances, initial use can lead to abuse. Substance abuse is defined as the use of prescription or other drugs for purposes other than those for which they are meant to be used, or in excessive amounts. At this phase of the addiction cycle, use becomes more regular and doses become higher.  

3. Tolerance

When drugs are used consistently, our bodies become accustomed to the substance. With tolerance, cell receptors that were once sensitive to certain chemicals stop responding like they once did. Therefore, the user requires more of the substance to achieve the same effects as in the past.

4. Dependence

Dependence is both the body and the brain’s way of communicating a need for the substance in order to function properly. At this phase, it is no longer as simple as avoiding use. There begin to arise mental and physical withdrawal symptoms if the substance isn’t found within the body. These symptoms can become quite severe and are legitimate physiological responses to the absence of the drug.

5. Addiction

Shortly after dependence comes addiction. To put it simply, addiction means that a person is unable to stop using even if they want to. Addiction is a specific, chronic mental health disorder that almost always requires outside help to combat. At this phase, it becomes very difficult to conceal the effects of the substance on the individual. Relationships often begin to suffer and user motivation and health begin to dwindle. In many cases, family and friends begin to notice that something is wrong and seek help.

6. Relapse

After an individual comes to terms with their addiction, they will often work to overcome it. Drug recovery can be very powerful but doesn’t come without its set of challenges. Sometimes individuals will fall back into old habits before standing back up and beginning to walk forward again. Though certainly not ideal, relapse is common and is often part of a lasting recovery process.

Break the Cycle

Be aware of the phases leading up to addiction. It could mean saving yourself or a loved one from the grips of a crippling disorder. If you are currently confronted with an addiction, whether your own or someone else’s, we can help. At Renaissance Ranch, we understand the complexities of addiction and how they can be treated for a lasting recovery. We offer a wealth of treatment options and family resources to promote an environment of love, hope, dedication and support. Addiction can be overcome; we have seen it time and time again. For more information about how our Utah drug rehab outpatient facility can help you navigate your current situation, contact us today.