The 3 Stages of the Addiction Cycle

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A sixth phase, “termination” or “relapse” was later added in the stages of recovery to refine the model further. The 5 stages of change addiction continuously evolve to replicate the behavior of addicts in every phase of decision making. Information from studies can provide explanations about the reasons why some individuals can go through these stages on their own. Some others, unfortunately, are incapable of quitting substance abuse without extensive measures of staging an intervention. Recovering from prescription pill addiction can present unique challenges, but whether it is more difficult than recovering from illegal drug addiction depends on various factors.

Negative Affect/Withdrawal Stage

  • Keep working with your therapist until you find one or a combination of approaches that work for you.
  • The difficulty in recovery often hinges on factors like the length of use, dosage, individual health, and the presence of underlying conditions, rather than the legal status of the drug.
  • The landscape has changed post-pandemic, and innovations in the self-help and treatment space, as well as many virtual options, have increased access to care.

These withdrawal symptoms include negative emotions and symptoms similar to what a person would share with a physical illness. It triggers people to seek out drugs regularly in an attempt to achieve the same feeling. However, for most people struggling with addiction, there are stages of substance use that lead to the person becoming addicted. Potential relapse factors include developing a secondary addiction, relaxing of structure, and a struggling with acceptance of disease, along with reemergence of underlying psychopathology/trauma/life issues.

  • By addressing mental health openly, therapy works to reduce the stigma surrounding these issues.
  • In this stage, individuals have successfully modified their addictive behavior and are focused on maintaining their progress over the long term.
  • In the preparation stage, the person is beginning to move forward with plans made in the contemplating stage to change their substance use.
  • In this stage, individuals have taken concrete steps to modify their addictive behavior and are actively engaged in the process of change.
  • Recovering from prescription pill addiction can present unique challenges, but whether it is more difficult than recovering from illegal drug addiction depends on various factors.
  • They will come up with solutions to follow for a long-term treatment plan.

Stage 2: Withdrawal and Negative Effects

Typical aftercare includes support groups, ongoing therapy, sober living arrangements, and medication-assisted treatments for relapse prevention. Luckily, the recovery process has a reliable, well-researched model to follow. The five stages of addiction recovery are based on the Transtheoretical Model of Change, developed in the 70s while treating cigarette smokers who wanted to quit.

The Importance of Family and Couples Therapy in Recovery

Diagnosis is also more complex for people with both a substance use disorder and a mental health condition — known as a dual diagnosis. That’s because it’s often difficult to disentangle overlapping symptoms, such as withdrawal and mental illness symptoms. Your healthcare provider may suggest medication as part of your addiction treatment. These medicines can reduce your drug cravings and can help you avoid relapse.

stages of recovery from substance abuse

Unfortunately, treatment is often ineffective at this stage because individuals simply don’t believe they have a drinking problem. It’s unlikely that a person in this stage would even be interested in information about alcoholism. While recovery from alcoholism can take weeks, months or even years, most people progress through six stages of change as they overcome an alcohol addiction.

Pregnant People With Substance Use Disorders Need Treatment, Not Criminalization

Individuals at this stage have solidified their resolve to combat addiction, actively gearing up to initiate tangible measures toward recovery. Their readiness is marked by deliberate planning and goal-setting to support their journey to sobriety. Addictive behavior signifies a critical phase in an individual’s journey toward recovery.

stages of recovery from substance abuse

  • Expectancy theory has shown that when people expect to have fun, they usually do, and when they expect that something will not be fun, it usually isn’t [15].
  • Past relapses are taken as proof that the individual does not have what it takes to recover [9].
  • Celebrating these victories can boost self-esteem, reinforce positive behaviors, and provide motivation to continue down the path to recovery.

During this stage the recovering person will likely experience physical detoxification, along with cravings, depression, low energy, irritability, insomnia and disordered thinking. October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, highlighting the role substance abuse plays in individual and community health. In this third article, we will discuss what to expect during recovery.