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Understanding Addiction and Substance Abuse

Addiction in its most simplistic form is known as a compulsive psychological need for and use of a habit-forming substance that presents with well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal.

This persistent compulsive use of a substance is physically, psychologically, and socially harmful for the addicted user.

See All The Addictions Novo Detox Center Specializes in Treating


Stage One is Learning. Learning take place on the physical level whereby it does not reach one’s conscious level until it is well entrenched to become its own source of stress. It is clearly associated with a specific behavior that creates a feeling of pleasure or relief from emotional or physical pain. The mind automatically associates the effects of the pleasure feeling with this behavior. This form of learning is known as conditioning.

Habit Development

Stage Two is the Habit Development. During this stage not only does one repeat the behavior for their own direct effects, but also actively seeks to increase the frequency of it as a reaction to stress or discomfort from other emotional, mental or physical areas in one’s life. This stage appears more intentional than the automatic repetitions during the learning phase, however it can still play out completely outside of one’s consciousness.


Stage Three is the Struggle. The addiction has become so entrenched that the habit has become a desirous integral part of one’s life. One becomes dependent upon the pleasurable interpersonal experience, needing it, wanting more and more of it. With this increasing desire and need in frequency, the individual’s health, toxic overload and well-being is bound to interfere with the habit sooner or later.

Addiction Interferences

Addiction interferences may evolve and play out in many different ways.

The habit becomes its own source of stress, whereby the behavior that first produced these feelings of escape and pleasure has now become downright painful. These interferences reinforce rather than lighten the attachment to the addiction.

  • The full-circle of attachment completes itself as one confronts emotional and physical withdrawal symptoms.
  • The implications of struggle become clearer and the only way to end the struggle is to admit it, take responsibility and commit to the steps of withdrawal and abstinence to conquer one’s addiction which has taken on a life of its own.

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