A National Directory of Drug Treatment Centers and Alcohol Treatment Centers, Therapists and Specialists. A free, simple directory providing assistance and guidance for those seeking help regarding alcohol addiction, drug addiction, dependency and many other conditions that affect the mind, body and soul.
Call 800-580-9104 to speak with an alcohol or drug abuse counselor.

Understanding the Disease Model of Addiction

The disease model of addiction expresses that addiction is a brain disease. A brain disease which only gets worse as it progresses through various stages. The disease of addiction has no cure, but it can be treated. The answer to treatment is medical intervention (using medication-assisted treatment), abstinence (completely staying away from drugs) and sustained with support for the addiction (Group and/or individual counseling along with other therapies).

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is a brain disease that affects multiple brain circuits, including those involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and inhibitory control over behavior.

Understanding the Disease Model of Addiction Stages

addiction science

Seeing addiction as a disease can help with treatment and recovery.

Addiction gets worse as it goes from stage to stage. Making it hard for the person afflicted with this illness to control the symptoms brought on by it. Here is how the main stages addiction progress and get worse:

  • Experimentation: At this stage a person may want to try drugs or alcohol for social reasons -such as at a party with friends, or maybe just to feel better. Others may be using prescription medications for pain and they begin to use more than necessary -because they like the way it makes them feel. Regardless how it starts, if they do not stop and continue, then they are moving into regular use.
  • Regular use: The stage of regular use can lead to abuse if not careful. Some will use a substance for a while and not become addicted. They can stop anytime with no negative results. However, for others it may become difficult. They do not want to stop and will continue to use it. This can lead into the next stage -abuse of the substance.
  • Substance abuse: A person with a substance abuse problem will use alcohol or drugs regardless of the outcome or negative consequences that may result. At this point all they want is to continue using what is making them feel better –drugs, alcohol, or both. This stage presents risk as it can easily lead into serious addictive problems. They now developed dependence for the substance, and go into the next stage, where the signs of addiction become present and noticeable.
  • Addiction and dependence: Dependency and addiction connect with each other. The symptoms, such as withdrawal when the substance is abruptly stopped, affects the individual in similar ways. Including facing the negative consequences of continued use regardless the harm it can be causing in their life –physically, psychologically or socially.

Once the addiction has become evident, the health risks can be dangerous, in many cases causing permanent damage or death. The stages clearly get worse if treatment is not sought immediately. The sooner treatment starts, the better the chances for the afflicted individual to get back to becoming healthier and happier, without the use of any harmful substances.

Getting Treatment at Any Stage of the Disease Model of Addiction

If you or a loved one is currently at any of the stages of addiction, it is important to get help immediately. Many of the symptoms that can be encountered at any time or when withdrawal occurs, can be dangerous -even potentially fatal. Seek medical attention from addiction professionals to begin treatment as soon as possible. The earlier treatment starts, the better the chances at successfully controlling the addiction.

More Treatment & Detox Articles

Binge drinking best tackled through personal networks

Addressing personal friendship networks is the best way to tackle the spread of binge drinking in the UK, the Advertising Association has found. It come in the wake of a new ad campaign wave from the Home Office which aims to deal with what is perceived as a growing national menace. The ads contain shocking….

Continue reading

Fears over alcohol test for mothers

Screening breast milk could increase women’s drinking and harm their babies, say doctors Opinions differ among doctors on what are safe levels of alcohol for a breastfeeding mother. A product that tests for traces of alcohol in breast milk has triggered warnings that mothers who rely on its findings could damage the health of babies….

Continue reading

A nudge towards sobriety and health?

If you picked up a bottle of wine and read on the label “The average British drinker drinks one glass of wine a night”, would it make you think twice before refilling your glass? The Conservatives believe it might – and that public information along those lines is one possible way to reduce binge drinking…..

Continue reading

Understanding the Stages of Alcoholism

drinking problem

There are many beliefs as to how alcoholism sets in, with a growing number of people accepting that this is a disease. There are multiple stages of alcoholism, all of which can be pinpointed if a person is facing an addiction. While it is not always easy to determine if somebody is addicted to alcohol,….

Continue reading

Drink misuse ‘costs each Scot GBP900’

The impact of Scotland’s drink culture on the health service was laid bare yesterday when it emerged that the cost of treating only one person with a moderately severe alcohol-related head injury is more than £34,000. The extraordinary figure was released by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Scotland’s biggest health board. The sum covers only….

Continue reading