How Long Does it Take to Break Free From Addiction?

Living with an addiction to drugs and alcohol can take a toll on your mental and physical health. It can strain your relationships and lead to devastating short and long-term consequences for your health and well-being.

When you decide to seek help for substance use, you probably want to get an idea of how long it takes to beat addiction. There is a lot of information and advice out there, and it can be hard to know what is accurate.

Addiction is a complex, disruptive condition, but you can overcome it. Understanding what it will take and how long it truly takes to break an addiction can help you stay motivated, even when recovery is challenging.

What Factors Affect How Long it Takes to Beat Addiction?

Several factors can shorten or lengthen the time it takes to break an addiction. Each person has different experiences, needs, and goals. And it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint exactly how long recovery from addiction will take.

Some of the factors that can affect how long you’ll stay in rehab and how long it takes to beat addiction include:

  • How long you have been using drugs or alcohol
  • The underlying causes of your substance use
  • The substances you use
  • The way you use drugs and alcohol
  • Your level of motivation to stop using drugs and alcohol

Addiction has physical, emotional, and behavioral aspects. It can be hard to break the habit of addiction without addressing the complexities of your addiction. You must get treatment and support to help you identify the roots of your addiction and learn new skills to avoid relapse.

Research shows that most people need at least 90 days of formal treatment to significantly reduce or stop their substance abuse. Longer treatment programs are associated with better treatment outcomes.

You will begin to break the habit of addiction during treatment, but you must commit to an aftercare plan that will help you stay engaged in recovery for the rest of your life.

What Can I Do to Break the Habit of Addiction?

There is no “quick fix” for addiction. Many people attempt to stop using drugs and alcohol quickly–to go “cold turkey,” but this often fails because prolonged, heavy substance use causes changes in your brain and body that make it nearly impossible to stop using them without help. Uncomfortable, sometimes life-threatening withdrawal symptoms and cravings can keep people from achieving a complete detox on their own.

Seeking care in a medically-supported detox and rehab program can give you the best chance at success. During detox, medical and support staff will treat your withdrawal symptoms with medications, emotional support, and holistic therapies so that you can have a safe, comfortable detox.

Once your body has eliminated the drugs, alcohol, and toxins, you can begin a substance abuse treatment program to help address addiction’s behavioral, physical, and emotional aspects.

Clinical teams tailor plans to meet each person’s unique needs and goals, but addiction treatment plans generally consist of evidence-based and holistic therapies that help you break addiction and learn how to avoid relapse.

These therapies include:

  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Adventure therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Medications
  • Mental health and medical care
  • Education
  • Holistic treatments like nutrition counseling, mindfulness, nature therapy, exercise, and art therapy

During your time in rehab, you will create an aftercare plan that utilizes effective therapies, lifestyle changes, and community resources to support your lifelong recovery from addiction.

Is 21 Days Enough Time to Break an Addiction?

A popular theory says that it only takes 21 days for someone to get used to a new habit or way of life. Many people have tried to apply this theory to addiction recovery–but it just doesn’t work. Some people are still experiencing withdrawal symptoms 21 days into their recovery, and most people are still having cravings at this point.

Addiction is much more complex than many other behaviors or habits because it involves every part of who a person is. Your body, mind, relationships, genetics, history, and behaviors play a role in addiction.

According to Harvard researchers, 21 days is not enough time to change deeply-rooted behaviors. Instead, people should count on spending at least 90 days participating in comprehensive addiction treatment if they want the best chance at a lifelong change. This is the minimum time it takes for your brain to regain the ability to make good choices.

A 90-day substance abuse treatment program offers many benefits, including:

  • Enough time for your brain and body to heal
  • Learning, practicing, and mastering recovery skills
  • Turning new patterns into lifelong habits
  • More time to practice sobriety with peer and professional support
  • More time away from triggers
  • A longer period to focus solely on your recovery

To break an addiction, you must spend at least 90 days working through treatment and developing new habits. Giving yourself the time you need to heal, practice, and grow in your recovery is essential.

More Tools to Help You Break the Habit of Addiction?

Treatment is the beginning of your recovery journey. Spending at least 90 days in treatment is a powerful tool to help you break an addiction and move forward in a new, healthy way of life.

It’s essential to find other sources of support as you work to break the habit of addiction. These may include:

  • A sober living community
  • 12-step meetings and support
  • Individual counseling
  • Peer mentoring
  • Sober coaching
  • Outpatient treatment

No matter how long it takes to beat addiction, the fight is worth it. You don’t have to live with your addiction in the driver’s seat. With the right support and treatment, you can regain control over the direction of your life.

Find Help Now

It can be hard to ask for help when you need it. The caring specialists at Moving Mountains Recovery are here to support you during every stage of your journey to break the habit of addiction. Reach out today to learn more about our programs and to get started.

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