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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.