The 5 Stages of Addiction: Are You down the Path of Your Own Destruction?

Addiction affects people of all ages and walks of life. Some people manage to hide their addiction and live a seemingly normal life while others struggle to the point the drugs take over. There are different stages of drug and alcohol addiction and it is essential users understand the risks of continuing on their present journey.

Statistics on Drug and Alcohol Addiction

The statistics on drug and alcohol addiction are staggering. In 2015, it was reported approximately 18.4% of the world’s population heavily drank alcohol within thirty days of the survey. The study also found .35% of the population admitted to using drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin.

Unfortunately, drug statistics paint a grim picture of the state of addiction around the world. For some people, it only takes one or two hits or drinks to become addicted.

5 Stages of Addiction

Many people do not realize there are five stages of addiction. As an addict progresses through these stages, the addiction begins to take over their lives and they often find themselves in over their heads. If you are dealing with an addiction, take this quiz.

  1. Experimentation is the first stage of addiction. No one tries a drug or alcohol to become addicted. Experimental use sometimes stays at that level and the individual does not use again. Often, the addiction continues to a higher level.

  1. The regular use stage occurs as the individual transcends from being a new user to an active user. The individual begins including drug and alcohol use as a part of their daily lives. At this stage, the individual is simply a user and does not necessarily find themselves addicted just yet.

  1. When the drug or alcohol use continues and is leading to risky behaviors, this is the next stage. The risky use stage is sometimes difficult to determine because what one considers a risk can vary among individuals.

  1. The dependence stage is a difficult stage because this is when the dependence begins to occur. The individual feels a physical dependence and needs to use often. The individual experiences a lack of control and their life is starting to be deeply affected by their drug or alcohol use.

  1. The addiction stage is the final stage because it leads to a full-blown addiction. Unfortunately, continued use of a drug or alcohol will always lead to addiction because these substances affect the pleasure centers of the brain and cause a chemical addiction to occur.

Professional Help Is Needed

In the later stages of drug and alcohol addiction, professional intervention is often necessary. While drug addiction treatment is the best method for recovery, only about one out of ten addicts ever seek treatment. Those who do not seek treatment often experience continued life quality degradation and some suffer from overdoses and lose their lives.


As an individual progresses through the five stages of addiction, they can find themselves losing more and more control of who they are. There are both residential and outpatient treatment options available for addicts.

With treatment, individuals can go on to live a normal life. Overcoming an addiction takes a concerted effort and professional intervention for true success. Those who are able to admit they have a problem will likely be more successful in recovery.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.