Stages of Drug Addiction For the Middle-East

In the middle-east, drug addiction is a taboo subject. People do not want to admit that they or a loved one has an addiction. They feel that it is a moral weakness. Middle-easterners believe that with that bit of extra willpower, addicts could get cured.

I hate to break it to you. Addiction is a chronic disease of the midbrain. Once an addict, always one. But like any chronic disease like diabetes and cancer, there are ways addicts can live well. This makes addicts, patients, not criminals. Addicts should get residential care rather than punishment for their illness. Would you punish a diabetic or cancer patient?

Though, it is so much easier to have pity on the cancer patient or diabetic. Their disease does not make them do criminal activities. But, the addicts' criminal past was a result of his/her addiction. The future, though in recovery, is his/her responsibility.

How does addiction begin? There are four stages to which someone becomes addicted to drugs. These stages are experimentation, regular use, abuse, and then, addiction. Knowing where you or a loved one is at, will help us assess his/her level of dependency.

For some, the transition between experimentation and full addiction is very fast. While for others, it takes time. This all depends on what the using of drugs means to the person who takes them. For those who use drugs for leisure will not get addicted as fast as those who use it, to escape feelings. 


The Four Stages of Drug Addiction

Stage 1: Experimentation

At this stage, the user is someone who has never used drugs. But, he/she is around people who have or are using it. Either due to peer pressure or curiosity, the user begins to experiment or try the drugs. It could happen in any context. For instance, at a social gathering, people gather to try substances such as marijuana. Some may find it disgusting, and stop. While others, may like the effect the drug has in relaxing them.

Users may find that it helps them to forget their troubles. Others may find that harder drugs like heroin and hashish offer a better way out of their problems. It's at the experimentation stage, that users begin their relationship with drugs. Addicts are usually the people who have found "the solution" for life in their drugs.

Stage 2: Regular Use

The user may or may not be addicted by this stage. There are people who continually use drugs, but do not get addicted. It doesn't become their one and only tool for living. They don't feel they will die if they don't use. But, they enjoy the drugs, and thus, will use it on occasions. These regular users are not addicts.

But, within this stage, you will find the addict. They are the users who have to use it. What makes them different from average users, is the compulsion to increase in dosage. The brain of the addict, through regular use, will tolerate lower doses of drugs. Over time, it will take more drugs to get the initial high.

Drug tolerance will develop for both non-addicts and addicts alike. But, the difference here is the reaction to tolerance. For non-addicts, they will control the amount used, even if it increases. They have a stopping mechanism in their brain. Addicts, for lack of this ability to stop, will have no control over the amount used. The incline in use will result in severe consequences. It's this unmanageability that makes addiction, a disease of the midbrain.

At stages one and two, it's difficult to separate addicts from non-addicts. Both people continue to regularly use drugs to smother emotions. Drugs help them to relax and avoid shameful as well as painful feelings.

Stage 3: Abuse / Risky Use

Regular use of drugs continue to bring pleasure to the life of the user. But, when risky behaviours develop and get ignored, using becomes dangerous. Non-addicts would usually cave-in by this point. The negative consequences alone would be enough to stop. And they have the mental ability to do that. But, the addict, as much as he/she shares that desire, will continue regardless. It's at this stage, that we can tell who is an addict and who isn't.

Do you or a loved one continue to use regardless of negative effects? Are you unable to stop in spite of disease, poverty, crime, family problems, etc? If so, then, you are an addict. And as an addict, you will need treatment for your illness.

Stage 4: Addiction

Why can't the addict stop? Why is it that non-addicts can? Non-addicts do not have an addictive neurology. Their brain does not crave drugs as addicts do. Addicts crave drugs like humans crave breathing. The using becomes a survival mechanism, that without, will disrupt normal functioning. In active addiction, addicts use to function. Severe withdrawal such as stopping suddenly has resulted in seizures, coma, and death.

Drugs become life itself. It overtakes everything and everyone in the addict’s life. This is because over the course of using, the addict has created a neural pathway. His brain has accepted that he needs drugs to survive. Unlike non-addicts, he has no control over what his brain has become - addicted to drugs.

At this stage, it's important to detoxify the addict's body to rid the physical craving for the drug. Thereafter, the addict will need residential treatment to change their neurology. It will take time to remove the addictive neural pathway to one of recovery. Addicts do not have the ability to quit on their own. They need professional and medical treatment to live a drug-free life.


Seek treatment at Solace Sabah

We are very fortunate to live at a time when addiction is treatable. At Solace Sabah, we treat addiction. We will care for our clients from admission to discharge. You or a loved one will undergo detoxification, followed by treatment and aftercare. Details on how we treat drug addiction is available here.

We are a muslim-friendly rehab located in Kota Kinabalu, in Malaysian Borneo. Our clinical staff are from the U.K., U.S., Europe, and South Africa. Some of them are muslims. We serve halal food and will take you to the mosque on Friday for your prayers.

Our approach is highly professional and scientific. We diagnose each client according to the DSM-V. Please read more about it by clicking here. By following this manual, we adhere to international standards of treatment. You will be getting the same level of care as at any luxury rehab the world over. But, only at half of their price. 

Also, our clinicians are very experienced in treating this disease. So, you are in good hands. You or a loved one will get the help you need. We have treated many addicts who are now living great, functional lives as a result of proper treatment. Come to us and let us treat your addiction. Give us a call for more information.