The Stages of Addiction and How to Break the Cycle

What we can learn from these figures is that the prevalence of addiction is high worldwide, thus confirming the severity of addictive behaviors. These reports intensify the need for encouraging people with addiction to get much-needed treatment. Over time, your system’s tolerance increases, requiring more and more of the substance to experience the same euphoric or calming effects. While the high may remain the same, the alcohol or drugs are causing devastating damage to your central nervous system and other systems in the body.

Addiction to drugs, medications, and alcohol is prevalent in the United States and worldwide, despite the fact that such a wide prevalence of addiction is largely misunderstood. The general belief is that addiction to some substance happens easily, and it’s also easy to overcome it. Our society is still inclined to believe it’s enough to say or decide you want to quit, and the problem is solved. Through this post, we are going to discuss six stages of addiction and help you to break the cycle. Identification of COA’s, therefore, requires a process of active screening.

Maintaining recovery through aftercare

If you’ve struggled to achieve recovery, follow these steps for your best shot at success. Breaking the cycle of addiction often takes the effort of caring adults who intervene on a child’s behalf. Teachers have the potential to make a huge difference in a child’s life, due to the time they spend with their students in the classroom. However, church leaders, youth sports coaches, and concerned community members can help to boost a child’s self-esteem and resilience.

how to break the addiction cycle

Quitting is not easy or straightforward, but a good support group and treatment program will help you achieve it when you are ready. Without healthy coping strategies in place, you are likely to experience strong urges to go back to the addictive behavior “one more time.” Just as you should discuss any physical withdrawal symptoms with your doctor, be sure to also discuss mental and emotional ones. Because addiction causes changes in the brain, you might experience symptoms such as impulsivity and cravings. These symptoms can make quitting more difficult, but choosing effective treatment options can improve your ability to succeed. Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals.

How Does Addiction Affect the Brain?

Over time, their mind and body have learned that using drugs or alcohol is the best way to turn off an unpleasant thought or feeling. Based on that learned behavior, emotional triggers can quickly morph into an overwhelming craving to use drugs or alcohol. Rather than assessing their support structures, individuals often seek rapid relief. However, if they choose a different direction, leaving the addiction cycle can become achievable. The first step in stopping this cycle would involve help from family, friends, professors, therapy groups, and other support systems.

Chances are you didn’t expect to become addicted when you started. You may have thought you were just having fun and could stop at any time. Regardless of the original cause of apathy, drug or alcohol use can extend apathy indefinitely. Apathy may drive individuals to abuse substances as a way to escape the feeling that nothing matters. You can overcome addiction to alcohol, prescription drugs, and illicit drugs.

Basically, healthy habits will change your life and are worth whatever effort it takes to build them into a routine. This is why making healthy habits requires thought put into the habit itself, and the circumstances around the habit. Keep in mind, these are 5 ways to break the addictive cycle, not 5 ways to stop an addiction. In our experience, finding success in rehab isn’t all that different from troubleshooting Wi-Fi when the internet goes down. You can’t immediately assume that one thing is the cause of the outage. You have to troubleshoot each part of the system and the process. Call the provider to see if there’s a service outage in your area. If you believe addiction is a problem, it’s best to start with a professional diagnosis to confirm and decide on the next steps.

Verywell Mind’s content is for informational and educational purposes only. Our website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For example, supply vendors transport supplies to dedicated locations versus inside of facilities. Life can get overwhelming, and in the midst of it, it may be difficult to sustain an interest in or care about things as usual. In tolerance, the brain changes its response to the drug, and higher doses are necessary to overcome this problem. Below, we are going to discuss each stage of addiction more thoroughly.

With addiction, you want to make sure that you set yourself for success. That means if you are trying to avoid alcohol, in the beginning of your recovery journey, avoid places where you know there will be alcohol. Behaviors, such as sex and gambling, produce feelings of excitement that get less intense over time. Tolerance and withdrawal are key factors that contribute to addiction.

Broad-based community programs are another promising option, but have not been sufficiently studied. Generally, interventions include alcoholism education, training in coping skills and social competence, social support, and healthy alternative activities. Increased interaction between basic research and intervention may lead to improved services for COA’s. Addiction is a chronic, complex disorder “that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequence. People with addiction have an intense focus on using a certain substance, such as alcohol or drugs, to the point that it takes over their life. They keep using alcohol or a drug even when they know it will cause problems” . Although being active in a drug or alcohol addiction may feel hopeless, drug addiction recovery is possible.

Handcuffs or Hand Up: How We Break the Cycle of Addiction

Tolerance means the current dose of a drug is not enough for a person to achieve the pleasurable effects. Then, they try to increase it, but this only leads to tolerance to that new dose, and the cycle continues. Acute or short-term tolerance occurs due to repeated exposure to a drug over a relatively short period of time. A patient with a prescription for painkillers may decide to take a higher dosage to eliminate the pain. A higher dose turns out to be effective, and they do it frequently. Sober Home In a patient’s mind, nothing is wrong, but technically they’ve entered the substance abuse cycle. The World Drug Report 2019, released by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime, states that about 35 million people worldwide suffer from drug use disorders. Unfortunately, only one in seven people with drug use disorders receive the necessary treatment. The same report estimates that the number of opioid users at 53 million, meaning it increased by 56% from previous estimates.

What are three examples of addictive behaviors?

  • Sex.
  • Gambling.
  • Internet.
  • Shopping.
  • Video games.
  • Plastic surgery.
  • Binge eating/food addiction.
  • Thrill-seeking activities.

Many self-described addicts have reported feeling “different” from others long before developing their addictions. Getting over a drug or alcohol dependence will require a period of withdrawal. Withdrawal can be extremely painful and dangerous, so finding a detox program for this stage of the process can help you get connected with pain relief and emotional support. A recent revision of SMAAP (Short et al. 1995) attempts to correct children’s misconceptions about alcohol (Brown et al. 1987; Mann et al. 1987). Social support arises naturally out of participation in group treatment. In the group setting, children how to break the addiction cycle often learn for the first time that other children have problems similar to theirs. Many children benefit from sharing their experiences and emotions in a safe environment with other children. Through mutual exchange, children learn survival skills from the experiences of their peers, gain practice in expressing feelings, and build their social support networks. Most programs promote the concept of alcoholism as a disease to help the child put the behavior of the alcoholic parent in perspective. Finally, COA’s must learn that they are at risk for a variety of psychosocial problems, especially alcoholism.

They may start to notice that drinking or using no longer treats their symptoms the way it did before, and they likely need increasing amounts of the substance. This can lead to increasingly risky behaviors, like using the substance before driving or using it at work. An individual can move on to the next step of addiction when alcohol or drugs become increasingly important in their life. They may spend a lot of time using or thinking about using, and they may start to prioritize using their substance of choice over other, more important activities. Whether it’s a loving family member or the addict themselves, many people try to break the cycle of addiction by starting from a place of knowing. While it’s important to be certain about some things, you also have to be willing to admit what you don’t know when you’re trying to break the cycle of addiction.

how to break the addiction cycle

This approach would emphasize evaluations of a subject’s functioning over time. As part of the action research model, the dissemination of evaluation results is an important step leading to improved services for COA’s. Evaluation data also indicate the need for future research, thus contributing to the continual cycle between basic and applied research. The basic SFP for 6- to 12-year-olds has been modified for a variety of cultural groups, including rural and urban African-Americans, Hawaiians, Hispanics, and rural preteens (Kumpfer et al. 1996). Evaluation studies showed that the basic program with minor cultural revisions was more effective than a substantially revised program. Therefore, researchers concluded that the core content of the program should be spared when cultural revisions are made. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has chosen SFP as one of three model AOD abuse prevention programs for dissemination by the Institute. The goal of this approach is to teach children to moderate their drinking and avoid later alcohol problems.

Eco Sober House

Role playing allows the child to rehearse common situations such as riding in the car with a drunk parent. Through modeling, participants learn appropriate behavior (e.g., effective communication skills) by observing group leaders and peers. Resistance skills help children cope with peer pressure to drink. Both the group leader and participants provide the child with positive feedback to reinforce and encourage newly acquired skills. Seek professional help, such as an intensive outpatient treatment program. Recovering from addiction requires much more than just willpower and the hope to change, and addiction recovery professionals have been trained to help you gain valuable insight. They can help you identify your triggers, discover healthier coping mechanisms than substance use, and find ways to handle underlying issues that led you to indulge in drugs and alcohol. Those in the addiction recovery field will help you navigate away from the unhealthy but familiar territory and back onto a path toward long-lasting sobriety. The good news is that if you can identify that you’re in an early stage of substance abuse, you can break the cycle before full-blown addiction occurs.

  • Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
  • When cravings finally give way to the actual procurement of substances and people begin using them, their senses and emotions turn off.
  • Alateen is an example of a community-based self-help program for COA’s based on the 12-Step approach of Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • Based on that learned behavior, emotional triggers can quickly morph into an overwhelming craving to use drugs or alcohol.
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