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Stages of Addiction

Phases of Addiction – Chronic Phase

This phase of Addiction is characterized by noticeable physical, mental and social deterioration. There is a marked breakdown in relationship with family.

ETHICAL BREAKDOWN

The person starts telling lies to cover up his or her addiction and regarding money and time spent outside. They start borrowing money from near and dear ones and acquaintances. When borrowing also does not suffice they may even resort to stealing money. They will go to any extent and do not hesitate to break values or degrade themselves to get their quota of drinks or drugs.

PARANOIA AND HALLUCINATIONS

The person may start suspecting their spouse of infidelity without any basis. They may be afraid that others are plotting against them. They might experience hallucinations – see or hear things which are not present. The hallucinations can be visual, auditory or tactile. This marks a very serious stage of alcoholism and can lead to delirium tremens and even death. This usually occurs when the alcoholic stops drinking alcohol for a few days.

LACK OF MOTOR CO-ORDINATION

The person is not able to do simple things like even holding a cup of tea or a glass of water without spilling it. Routine tasks like shaving become impossible till the person steadies himself with a few drinks of alcohol. This is the stage when a vicious cycle sets in. The person uses alcohol or drugs to become ‘normal’. When he or she does not drink alcohol or use drugs he or she experiences withdrawals.

THE ONLY SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM IS TO STOP TAKING ALCOHOL AND DRUGS TOTALLY.

Middle Phase Addiction

ADDICTION – MIDDLE PHASE

LOSS OF CONTROL

Initially, there is loss of control over the amount of alcohol or drugs used. Later on, we lose control over the time, place and occasion. Once we start using alcohol or drugs the person totally loses control. Loss of control is the most clear cut sign of dependency. The person tries several methods to give up but none of them are successful. The person needs to accept the fact that he or she is totally powerless over alcohol and drugs.

JUSTIFYING USE OF ALCOHOL OR DRUGS

The person at some level feels guilty or depressed by the inability to give up alcohol or drugs. They justify their use of alcohol or drugs by excuses like unhappy married life or stress at work or pressure at work. In an attempt to reduce their guilt they keep on changing the reason but the alcohol and drug use continues.

GRANDIOSE BEHAVIOR

The person talks ‘big’ about themselves and talk extravagantly and buy unnecessary gifts like flowers or sweets.

ABSTAINING FOR A TEMPORARY PERIOD

At this stage the person has developed a number of problems – health problems, problems at home or office. Their spouse might threaten to leave them; he or she may receive warning at work. In order to convince themselves and others they give up alcohol or drugs on their own – at times for a month or more, but they get back to excessive use all over again.

CHANGING THE PATTERN

After trying to abstain, they take another precaution; they change their alcohol or drug taking pattern to show that they can use successfully without experiencing the same old problems. They might change the substance like from smack to ganja or whisky to beer. But no matter how many changes they make they become untangled in the same problems that haunted them before.

Drug Rehab Centre Delhi

Phases of Addiction – Early Phase

In the disease of Addiction, there are three distinct phases. Each phase has its own signs and symptoms.

EARLY PHASE

Increased Tolerance

This is the first warning sign of the development of dependence. Higher amounts are needed to produce the same effect which was produced in the beginning by lesser amounts. The effect that two pegs of alcohol produced earlier is not experienced and larger quantity is needed to produce the same high. Similarly, to get the effect which a joint produced initially two or three joints are needed.

Blackouts

Blackout does not mean that the person becomes unconscious, it is not that he or she falls flat. The person is able to go through all the activities but he or she is not able to remember anything at all. The person is able to walk, talk or even drive a vehicle ‘apparently normally’, but has no recollection of it afterwards. This is primarily seen in alcohol addiction.

Pre-occupation with Drugs and Alcohol

Even when the person is not taking alcohol or drugs he or she is always pre-occupied with the thoughts of how, when and where to get the next drink or fix. The person keeps on thinking why won’t the day pass soon, so that he or she can have his or her drinks. When will the guests leave so that he can have a joint in peace.

Avoiding any talk about Alcohol or Drugs

This is because of the associated guilt feeling. Even if somebody else bring up the topic of alcohol or drugs the person conveniently avoids the topic. They do not want to talk about, read anything that has any reference to alcohol or drugs.

Drug Addicts

Alcohol and Drug Dependence

WHO CAN BE CALLED ALCOHOL OR DRUG DEPENDENT?

A dependent is one who continues to use alcohol or drugs despite receiving negative consequences. A person who has problems in any area of his life, e.g., family, relationships, job, health or financial etc, and continues to drink alcohol or use drugs despite them.
Initially, alcohol and drugs give pleasure. Problems arise but the person is unaware that alcohol and drugs are causing the problems. He or she mistakenly believes that if the problems disappear he or she will stop drinking alcohol or using drugs. The dependence on alcohol or drugs prevents the person from seeing the problems.

WHAT IS THIS DEPENDENCE?

The person develops physical and psychological dependence on alcohol and drugs. The body gets so used to the presence of alcohol or drugs over a period of time the when he or she suddenly stops taking it he or she experiences withdrawal symptoms, which range from tremors, sleep disturbances and nervousness to cramps, disorientation and hallucinations. Alcohol and drugs become central to thoughts, feelings and activities and the person is unable to think of anything else. The person is constantly thinking and struggling with thoughts of how, when and where to get their next drink or fix.

ADDICTION LEADS TO ASSOCIATED PROBLEMS

It has been well established that addiction to alcohol and drugs leads to physical, emotional, interpersonal and financial problems. These associated problems can be solved only if the addiction is addressed first.

ADDICTION IS A PROGRESSIVE DISEASE

Unless the person abstains totally from all mood altering substances the condition will deteriorate progressively. The person has to make a decision to stop taking alcohol and other drugs and seek help and support for moving from dependence to independence.

ADDICTION IS INCURABLE BUT TREATABLE

Addiction to alcohol or drugs can be treated. In the process of treatment the addict or alcoholic will receive medical help, which will enable him or her to stop taking alcohol or drugs without experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms are made less painful and less unpleasant. After this, the person is given psychological therapy. which will help the person lead a comfortable life without feeling the need for alcohol or drugs.

Addiction - Treatable Condition

Addiction – A Treatable Condition

Addiction to drugs or alcohol is a treatable condition like any disease but most people think it is a lack of will power or they think that the person is morally weak.

Let me share my experience on giant wheel where I had gone with my friends to enjoy in a fair. At first, as the giant wheel was about to start there was a sense of anticipation and excitement. Then it started and the experience was very thrilling. It went up and down. As the speed increased my excitement began to wear off and I started to feel scared. I looked at my friends and they were still enjoying it. I held on tightly and prayed for it to stop but it went on and on and I started to feel nauseous but my friends were laughing and enjoying themselves. I held on tightly and started to panic. I was afraid that it would crash and that I would die. I realized that shouting will not help and wished I had never gotten on this ride.

This is very similar to our experience with drugs and alcohol. Many people continue to drink alcohol and use drugs and still enjoy themselves but some like me can’t and become addicted and start experiencing the harmful effects of addiction. What was fun and enjoyable in the beginning turned into sorrow and pain. How many times we wished we had not started at all.