What Is Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic disruption of the brain system that impacts the way your body craves a substance or a type of behavior. It may affect someone’s daily life and have an influence on their relationships, career, and finances. Addictive behaviors and substances typically involve a compulsive pursuit of a “reward.”

These “rewards” may include substances and behaviors such as:

  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine
  • THC
  • Pain relievers
  • Cocaine
  • Coffee
  • Caffeine
  • Food
  • Technology
  • Gambling
  • Sex

Unfortunately, many cases of addiction involve cycles of relapse that may contribute to the disease worsening over time. In order to prevent yourself or a loved one from developing a serious addiction to a substance or behavior, it’s important to know how addiction progresses so you can catch and treat the issue as soon as possible.


Where Addiction Comes From

There is no clear “cause” of addiction, but it can be triggered by a variety of genetic and environmental factors. For example, someone with a history of addiction in the family may have a genetic disposition that contributes to developing an addiction. However, if a person has a family with a history of addiction, it doesn’t mean that this person will necessarily have any kind of addiction at any point in their life.

Additionally, someone who is around certain drugs or behaviors from a young age may be more likely to develop a dependence or abuse issue later in life. If a person experiences trauma, abuse, or neglect, they may use a substance or behavior as a coping mechanism. This may, eventually, lead to addiction.


What Is The Progression of Addiction?

Addiction usually comes in what is known as “stages.” Your body reacts differently depending on what stage of addiction you are on. Addictions could progress from the earliest stage to the latest, depending on how long the issue has gone untreated.

Here is how addiction typically progresses:

  1. Someone experiments with a substance or behavior out of curiosity
  2. A person engages in addictive substances or behaviors in social settings
  3. Someone engages in risky behavior without regard for consequences
  4. A person indulges in a substance or behavior on a daily basis


The Signs & Symptoms of Addiction

Someone who has an addiction may display a lack of self control and are unable to stay away from their substance of choice, even if they have actively tried to quit. And the more someone uses a substance or indulges in a certain behavior, the more they will desire it. An increased desire for something may lead to hiding it, lying about it, or letting it control one’s life and decisions. A person who has developed a serious addiction may lack emotional responses and will likely have a hard time admitting that they have a problem.

Addiction may ultimately lead to a variety of physical, mental, and emotional complications. Therefore, it’s vital to seek treatment as soon as one recognizes they may have or be developing an addiction.


How to Prevent & Treat Addiction At Any Stage

Recovery from addiction is a long process, but it is definitely worth it once a person no longer depends on a certain substance or behavior. Treatment plans may vary depending on the type of addiction and its severity, but there are many options available for individuals with almost any type of addiction issue. Treatment methods may include group therapy, one-on-one therapy, medication, and more.


To learn more about how addiction progresses, contact our team of substance abuse specialists by calling 267.209.7312.