Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Quitting Any Addiction

Quitting any kind of addiction is a process, not a one-time event. It's comprised of different phases. When one fully understands these phases or stages, one can more effectively navigate rehabilitation.

I've treated all sorts of addictions in my practice, such as ones involving drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, etc.  And I observe that the process of change is often circular rather than linear. There is really a need for adequate time to pass with the right treatment and actions.

Psychologists Carlo DiClemente and James Prochaska have identified 5 stages in quitting an addiction. Here they are (for each stage,I've included illustrative self-statements):

Stage 1:  PRE-CONTEMPLATION (person hasn't identified behavior as addiction)
               "I'm well and ok, I don't see it as a problem."

Stage 2:  CONTEMPLATION (at least experiencing ambivalence) 
                "I wonder if I gamble too much or if I have the strength to stop it"

Stage 3:  COMMITMENT AND ACTION  (turning point at which person decides to change or quit 
                behavior)
                "I can't go on like this any more! I've to change."

Stage 4:  MAINTENANCE  (efforts to keep off "drug-of-choice")
               "I avoid the bars. I think of the consequences on my family and my health if I drink again."

Stage 5:  RELAPSE and RENEWAL  (failing or giving up on change efforts ...relapse is an aspect of 
                change and rehabilitation)
                "Here I go again. I've to get back on track, renew my commitment to change."

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