A model of the Addiction Process



I’ve taught the diagram above in several different contexts. It illustrates the process of either developing or full-blown Addiction. The six steps are consistent with what I consider as the foundational “Three C’s of Addiction”: Control, Consequence, and Compulsion.

The process begins with a trigger. A trigger can be anything from a fight with a spouse to the beginning stage of withdrawal. Triggers are as specific to a person as is a fingerprint and can only be described by the person caught within the Addiction process.

Once triggered, the second step occurs: Anxiety. According to the American Psychological Association, anxiety is characterized by, “recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns…and physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, dizziness or a rapid heartbeat” (APA Website). Really within the Addiction process, once anxiety sets in, it lets loose a chain in motion that’s only resolved through either the ingestive or process behavior at this…

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