The complexity of substance use disorders is such that even today, medical professionals are still trying to isolate the true reason why people suffer from them. Most live with the misconception that only those with little self-control are prone to substance use. Or that anyone exposed to an environment of addiction is sure to end up with an addiction as well.
There is a multitude of theories and speculations surrounding the condition, but up until today, there is no one solid lead as to what causes addiction.
The addiction cycle, however, is not the end-all and be-all of the study of substance abuse disorder. Rather, it is a stage-by-stage look at how people falling into addiction behave at the different stages.
It should be noted that while these stages do apply to many people with addiction, different people still have different dispositions, tolerances, and thresholds. There could be people who might skip from one stage onto another stage, or others might just manifest a few of the stages.
It should also be noted that just because it is called a “cycle,” which suggests a repetition of all the stages once the last stage is completed, it does not hold true for everyone to repeat the process all over again. There are many who make a full recovery and go on to live a full, healthy, and normal life after rehabilitation, even as there are also those who don’t.
What Are the 6 Stages of the Addiction Cycle?
The established stages of the addiction cycle are made up of a series of behavioral changes in a person. They start from when the substance is first tried out to the point where recovery appears to have been achieved, only to find out that the urge is simply too great.
Each stage is observed to feed into the next, with the progression of substance abuse steadily getting worse. It would appear that having established some form of pattern in the cycle, intervention, and stoppage of the cycle would be easier and more effective. With the ambiguous and unpredictable nature of human behavior, however, it is rarely the case, if at all. It must be noted that substances tend to re-wire critical behavioral and thinking patterns, which is why therapy is often long, arduous, and not always 100% effective.