An addiction doesn't form spontaneously overnight. Instead, it's the result of a long process of repeated substance abuse that gradually changes the way a person views a drug and the way their body reacts to it. This process is linear and has the same progression for each person, although the duration of each stage of that progression can vary greatly depending on the person, the dose and the type of drug being abused. Some people will be able to enter the stage of regular use without developing a dependency or addiction.
These people will be able to stop using drugs on their own. The problem with regular use is that the risk of substance abuse increases significantly during this stage. It also increases risky behaviors, such as driving under the influence of alcohol, unexplained violence, and symptoms of depression and anxiety. Understanding the five stages of addiction recovery can be helpful for addicted individuals and their families.
People who are in the first stage of recovering from addiction are not yet ready for any addiction treatment program. Therefore, it's important to be aware of the different stages of addiction in order to recognize if a drug or alcohol addiction is developing.