The Stages of Change Model of Overcoming Addiction

When a person relapses, it sends a message that more preparation, action, and maintenance are required to get back on track. There are also free alcohol and drug abuse hotline numbers you can call. What motivates them to accept that change is necessary and guides them to fulfill that change? Change, especially behavioral change, is not a single decision but rather the result of several decisions that bring about real, lasting change over time. For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the helpline is a private and convenient solution.

stages of change addiction

These behavioral theories can help you understand the levels of motivation for recovery that someone struggling with addiction may have. The stages of change apply to other behaviors you might want to change but struggle to do so. Instead of fearing the possibility of relapse and descending into a spiral of shame if it happens, instead recognize relapse as part of the process of recovery.

For example, to move from the action to maintenance stage, one can consider sober living homes, where it’s possible to get used to the real world after rehab. Professional treatment is imperative in all cases to impact behavioral processes and to achieve a successful recovery. The openness to new ideas does not necessarily translate eco sober house cost to proactivity. This phase is merely a learning phase, with the possibility of commitment in the future. Many people have spent years in the contemplation stage of change in substance addiction. Contemplation is one of the 5 stages of recovery that requires a non-judgmental approach to motivating the user to seek necessary help.

At this stage, there’s not much that an external person can do to convince them of their problem. Many people dependent on a substance remain in this stage throughout their lives since they don’t recognize that they have a problem. The people they hang out with might help them rationalize their behavior, making it even more impossible for them to initiate change in their lives. The transtheoretical model looks at the different thought pattern changes a person goes through when deciding to change. During the process, a person may be in several different mindsets, each of which pushes them to change but at the same time erects barriers to that change. Calls to our general hotline may be answered by private treatment providers.

They begin wondering about cutting down, moderating, changing their behaviour or quitting altogether. Personality traits change systematically through a persons lifespan, and sometimes even more so after the age of 30, according to a study conducted by the American Psychological Association. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of Sober Recovery’s“Terms of Use“,“Privacy Policy“,“Cookie Policy“, and“Health Disclaimer“.

The material on this site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider. Stage three, „preparation,“ is when a person no longer needs to be convinced of their disordered use of substances or alcohol. But even though a person has accepted the existence of a problem, they may still harbor ambivalence about seeking help. Friends, spiritual mentors, therapists, educators, support groups, online forums, chat rooms, and life coaches are invaluable. The long-term benefits of quitting drugs and alcohol include learning to put aside other things that hinder you during your lifetime. Think of all the good things that are eluding you because you need to feed your addiction.

The 10 Processes Of Change Defined

This mindset is usually backed up by the lack of repercussions for their behavior. For loved ones who have someone in this stage, the aim is to get them to the next step. When someone is in pre-contemplation, they’re not concerned about seeking help for their disorder. Behaviors in this stage usually involve the person becoming defensive if rehab is mentioned. Also, these different stages are subject to change as conditions change.

Each of these stages of recovery is unique in how the recovering individual views them. Alcohol and drug treatment is very important for anyone who is suffering from addiction. Without treatment, the effects of addiction can be detrimental to an individuals physical and emotional health and could even be potentially fatal.

  • They start understanding that making choices on their own merit is better for them in the long run.
  • Other challenges come when you’ve had a period of abstinence or moderation of behaviors, as this can put your guard down and lead you to reduce supportive behaviors.
  • Following the stages of change addiction, the termination stage is the final point where the person adjusts to abstinence and can control themselves even when there are addiction triggers present.
  • The Affordable Care Act has changed things, but people need to change their views about addiction.
  • This will allow you to effectively move on to the maintenance stage, without experiencing the relapse stage.

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The Stages of Change Model of Overcoming Addiction

At this stage, complacency sets in, making it even more challenging to continue. People in this state are not receptive towards discussing their situation or how it can be helped. They don’t see that they need help and look at someone attempting to help them as intrusive or nosy. They tend to see their addiction as a positive habit linked to the feelings of euphoria that come from taking the substance. This stage is important as the patient’s expectations before getting treatment can be integral to the success of their recovery. They need to understand the challenges they may face on the path to getting better.

stages of change addiction

This is also the stage where recovering addicts are capable of letting go of old friends and pursuing healthier relationships. Our mission is to provide compassionate care, combined with evidence-based treatment therapies for people struggling with addiction and mental health. Oro Recovery provides compassionate care, combined with evidence-based treatment therapies for people struggling with addiction and mental health. There’s no stopping life and if a person gets complacent, as is normal during the maintenance stage, it’s easy for stress, anxiety and old behaviors to work their way back into our lives.

Recovery depends on having the proper support in place and knowing how they will approach the process. The contemplation stage is a tipping point between moving into proper rehabilitation and slipping back into precontemplation. In this stage, a person is willing to listen to adequately structured ideas about moving from their current situation into something more acceptable. The crux of the matter is that this information shouldn’t be combative or push them into a mindset of blaming themselves for their actions. For those who are dealing with addiction to any substance, there is no better time to contact a professional help program than now. Professional assistance is helpful, especially in stages of addiction denial.

Contemplation Stage Of Change

Find Addiction Rehabs is not a medical provider or treatment facility and does not provide medical advice. Find Addiction Rehabs does not endorse any treatment facility or guarantee the quality of care provided, or the results to be achieved, by any treatment facility. The information provided by Find Addiction Rehabs is not a substitute for professional treatment advice. © 2022 | Find Addiction Rehabs Find Addiction Rehabs is not a medical provider or treatment facility and does not provide medical advice. Likely, the person will just decide that it’s not worth changing at this stage.

In the case of alcoholism and drug addiction, the sixth step refers to when individuals who have achieved sobriety relapse on alcohol or drugs, returning to their substance use behaviors. The maintenance stage of the transtheoretical model of change is concerned with continuing to achieve the progress that began in the action stage. For people with addictions, this means upholding the intentions made during the preparation stage and the behaviors introduced in the action stage.

stages of change addiction

However, with repeated failure to change on one’s own accord, the preparation stage can also grow closer to a person throwing their hands up and seeking help. Be honest about your drug use history when talking to doctors or other healthcare providers about your health. The editorial staff of is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands of pages for accuracy and relevance. Our reviewers consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA, NIDA, and other reputable sources to provide our readers the most accurate content on the web. Steady, constant progress is easy to see in the previous stages, but there’s less feedback that the process is working at this stage.

These can apply to quitting drugs or alcohol, or to making positive life changes such as eating healthier or being more conscientious. The five stages of change in addiction assessment are a way to determine how ready you are to go into recovery from active addiction and substance use disorders. The action stage is the focus for many people attempting to overcome addiction. This is the stage at which real change – change of behavior – starts happening.

Precontemplation Stage of Change

Like diabetes or heart disease, its a chronic condition that requires major lifestyle changes to keep under control. As such, its crucial that people in addiction recovery make continuous active efforts to maintain sobriety. Complacency or a sense that the work is done once you reach maintenance is often a one-way ticket to recovery relapse. When teens spend crazy amounts of time on social media, it can heighten the chances of negative influences coming through and touching their lives. Of those negative influences, addiction and substance abuse is included. For someone who’s thinking about going to a substance abuse treatment center or working with addiction specialists, they may book their stay there during this phase.


Additionally, there’s a focus on the benefits of behavioral change as well as the negative effects that would result from reverting to the former behavior. During this time, therapists and counselors should reinforce an individual’s ability to overcome potential obstacles by helping them to anticipate potential struggles. Additionally, they should concentrate on acknowledging the presence of their support system and focus on the immediate and long-term benefits of behavioral change. When individuals are in the preparation stage, they brace themselves for an impending change by planning for it, ensuring that it occurs smoothly and successfully. Unfortunately, individuals in the contemplation stage are often very ambivalent. They’re willing to consider that a behavior is a problem, but their ambivalence prevents them from being decisive one way or another.

This will allow you to effectively move on to the maintenance stage without experiencing the relapse stage. People who are in this stage are actively trying to solve their addiction. They’re often just starting to look for solutions, like a 12-step or detox program. Mainly, that genuine behavioural changes take place over time, as an unfolding process that takes place through a series of stages. This eventually leads to a complete and total reversal of past behaviours. In these cases, it is best to continue working through these events with the goal of sobriety and abstaining from the substance in view at all times.

The action stage doesn’t necessarily need to happen in one massive step. It’s more common for a person dealing with addiction to have the action stage happen in small, gradual phases. Depending on the depth of planning in the preparation stage, these steps can feel immense, giving the recovering person more impetus to complete their treatment. The way that people progress through the different stages is very different and is dependent on each individual. While some may go through all the steps to recovery in a relatively short period, some people may find themselves stuck on a single stage, such as the contemplation stage, for years. Regardless of whether considering opioids or alcoholic recovery stages, they are identical.

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