Probably, addiction is as old as the civilization itself. For centuries, humans have shown an inclination toward addictive substances like alcohol, tobacco and drugs. In recent years, this obsession has taken the shape of an epidemic in some countries, unfortunately the United States being one of them, struggling with the menace of opioids and heroin for years. In most of the communities, addiction remains a taboo and people afflicted with it are condemned and accused of faulty character, criminal mindset and stigmatized lifestyle. They are subjected to extreme marginalization, discrimination, isolation and deprivation.
Ironically, not much has changed about the perception of addiction, as most people still see it as an immoral or criminal act. But it is important to understand that addiction has nothing to do with these perceived notions. A lot of studies have shown that addiction is a brain disease caused by an array of factors, such as genetics, underlying mental conditions and environmental conditions. Like any other disease, even addiction does not develop in a day and follows a definite pattern of growth through several stages.You can get additional information at reasons to consider treatment for addiction.
Despite the influence of several factors, most recovering individuals pass through similar stages of dependence, tolerance and addiction prior to their journey toward long-term sobriety. Although different from each other in many aspects, every stage might have symptoms and signs that appear to be similar.
Stages of addiction: An overview
Dependence is the first stage wherein the body tends to experience withdrawal symptoms in the absence of drugs or alcohol. Although compared to addiction dependence is less severe, it can lead to the next stage, called tolerance, wherein the body needs more drugs or alcohol to achieve the same high. At the final stage of addiction, the chemicals released by the drug bring about changes in the body in a manner that both body and mind need a regular supply of drugs to conduct normal functions.
Addiction, a condition characterized by repeated and compulsive seeking, is usually accompanied by mental and physical dependence on the abused substance. The latest research can help identify the brain areas involved in addiction and can open new avenues for treatments aimed at preventing cravings and relapse among people with drug addiction and other mental problems like anxiety and depression.
Addiction to any drug is dangerous – it can have serious implications if there is no timely intervention. Therefore, it is mandatory to seek immediate medical help if someone is addicted to any substance. Although the recent data shows that the number of abusers has declined, the problem persists.