Addiction A-Z

Addiction cycle

Addiction cycle, or cycle of addiction, refers to the circular pattern characteristic of addiction. While there are many different types of addiction – alcohol, substance abuse, sex, overwork, overspending, gambling, nonmedical use of prescription drugs, overeating, etc. – the addiction cycle is common to each of them. It consists of phases, which may, depending on the type of addiction, be of short or long duration, and generally progress in a repetitive pattern unless treatment is undertaken and proves effective. Although each addict is different, they each spend some time in the various phases of the addiction cycle. The exact number of phases or stages in the addiction cycle varies depending on how broad or distinct each phase is identified. Some addiction treatment experts group the phases as changes in thought processes, changes in dealing with life and others, leading to physical and mental breakdown. Others take a more in-depth approach to the phases of the addiction cycle, singling out anxiety as the cycle trigger, followed by ingestion of the substance, temporary relief, euphoria, reduction of pain and anxiety, improved social changes, feeling of power, dissolution of limits, reduction of effects, problem recognition, and stress.

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