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How Long Does It Take To Break The Habit Of Addiction?

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A habit is a routine of regularly repeated behaviors and occurs subconsciously. From a psychology standpoint, The American Journal of Psychology, says a habit is more or less a fixed way of thinking, willing, or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience. How Long Does It Take To Break The Habit Of Addiction?

What Is The Timeline For Breaking The Habit Of Addition

There is scientific evidence that says it takes about 90 days for the brain to reset itself and regain proper decision-making and analytical functioning to shake off the immediate influence. This discovery, also known as the ” sleeper effect,” could explain why people who enter 90-day rehab programs have higher success rates than 30 or 60-day programs. Many people relapse after receiving addiction treatment; however, many of these are from people in treatment for less than 90 days. The statistics show that 35% of people who received less than 90 days of treatment say they used drugs a year after their recovery program. Only 17% of people in treatment for 90 days or more relapsed a year after treatment. A 3-month treatment program allows the brain to heal from the effects of drug and alcohol use. It allows the individual to master skills they learned in recovery, and it lets new patterns one has learned become habits. Three-month programs also give a person time to focus on their recovery, change their harmful habits, and maintain sobriety.

21 Days To Break A Habit of Addiction

It has always been said that it takes 21 days to break a habit. This actually came from a plastic surgeon named Dr. Maxwell Maltz. In his book “Psycho-Cybernetics”, Maltz noticed that it takes his patients about 21 days to get used to their new faces. He suggests that people need about 3 weeks to get used to the different facial features after surgery, the absence of a limb after amputation, or a new house they’ve just moved into. Here’s the problem, Maltz relied on patient reports instead of actual scientific evidence, and these aren’t really habits that people want to break. What he describes is becoming accustomed to something new. This is called habituation. Modifying your physical features or losing a limb, which you can’t control, you usually get used to these more quickly because there’s not much else you can do.

More About Breaking A Habit of Addiction

Habits can be really hard to break. The National Institute of Health “Breaking Bad Habits – Why It’s So Hard to Change” says:

Habits can arise through repetition. They are a normal part of life and are often helpful. “We wake up every morning, shower, comb our hair or brush our teeth without being aware of it,” Volkow says. We can drive along familiar routes on mental auto-pilot without really thinking about the directions. “When behaviors become automatic, it gives us an advantage, because the brain does not have to use conscious thought to perform the activity,” Volkow says. This frees up our brains to focus on different things. Habits can also develop when good or enjoyable events trigger the brain’s “reward” centers. This can set up potentially harmful routines, such as overeating, smoking, drug or alcohol abuse, gambling and even compulsive use of computers and social media. (NIH)

Research says it takes about 66 days to break a habit. One study done back in 2009 by researchers at the University College London examined 96 people and their habits over 12 weeks. One person formed a new habit in just 18 days, but the others needed more time. The study concluded that it could take anywhere from 18 to 254 days, but it takes at least two months to develop new behavior patterns for most people.

Recovery is a Lifelong Journey

A 90-day program is now considered the gold standard of treatment, but the fact is that treating an addiction never goes away. Recovery is a lifelong journey, no matter how long a person signs up for treatment. Addicts must remain proactive in their recovery and continue to use their support systems and tools to maintain long-lasting sobriety.

Start Treatment for Drug Addiction at Evoke Wellness at Miramar

Evoke Wellness at Miramar offers cutting-edge addiction treatment programs. Our facilities in South Florida are committed to helping clients throughout the whole treatment experience. Our premier medical detox will help you comfortably get through the detox process and onto residential treatment under our professional care. Evoke Wellness at Miramar has drug and alcohol treatment programs that work! We tailor our treatment based on an individual’s exact needs while giving you the safest and most effective recovery program to get you on the road to long-term sobriety.