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Stages of Addiction

In almost every form of detox and rehab recovery program, most drug and alcohol counselors across the spectrum agree that there are four different stages of addiction

In almost every form of detox and rehab recovery program, most drug and alcohol counselors across the spectrum agree that there are four different stages of addiction: experimentation, habitual or daily use, abuse, and dependency.


Experimentation can happen just once or it may happen at irregular intervals without any regularity. In most cases, experimentation with drugs and alcohol occurs without any legal or negative consequences. At the experimentation stage of addiction, the individual can stop their substance abuse and not suffer any effects. However if the individual does not stop their alcohol or drug use, they may be in jeopardy of progressing to the next stage which is the habitual or daily use stage.

Habitual or Daily Use

This type of individual is known as a functioning alcoholic or functioning drug addict. While it is still possible to quit at the daily use or habitual stage, there is a danger of crossing into the third stage, abuse, in which it is likely that the individual with substance abuse may become dependent. In this second stage, the individual can predict that they may be in trouble with their drug and alcohol use if they find themselves exhibiting certain behaviors such as depression or erratic or violent behavior


There are many signs and symptoms indicating that that the individual is at risk of progressing into the fourth and final stage of addiction, but according to counselors, many substance abusers will not accept the signs. The signs and symptoms are:
• Getting drunk or getting high
• Having fatigue when they do not use drugs
• Anxious and irritable
• Strong cravings
• Becoming depressed

Dependency or Addiction

The signs and symptoms of alcohol and drug addiction include:
• Suffer withdrawal symptoms within a few hours of the last time the substance was used
• Strong urge to use drugs and alcohol regardless of the consequences
• Decline in physical health

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