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Addiction Treatment Models

Addictions are chronic brain diseases. If left unchecked, addiction results in change of behavior. Apart from the obvious behavioral consequences of addiction, the negative effects on a person’s health are potentially devastating.

Treating addiction and preventing relapse is a long-term endeavor. Before starting the treatment for addiction we need to understand the root cause of the addiction and treat it along with the addiction to see quick results. As it is common for the people with psychological disorders to turn to substance abuse we need to understand the underlying psychological disorder if any and then start the treatment for both the cause and the effect at a time to see quick results.

We have outlined some addiction treatment models which can provide relief from addictions.

Is there a single treatment for addictions?

Medical experts today consider alcohol and other drug addiction to be a disease which is treatable, and is chronic and relapsing.

Because dependency on alcohol and other drugs creates difficulties in one's physical, psychological, social, and economic functioning, treatment must be designed to address all of these areas.

Addiction and its related problems can be treated successfully, but no single treatment works for all substances, nor for all substance abusers.

What are the different stages of change for treating addictions?

Almost 20 years ago, two well-known alcoholism researchers, Carlo C. DiClemente and J. O. Prochaska, introduced a five-stage model of change to help professionals understand their clients with addiction problems and motivate them to change.

Their model is based not on abstract theories but on their personal observations of how people went about modifying problem behaviors such as smoking, overeating and problem drinking.

The six stages of the model are:

* precontemplation

* contemplation

* determination

* action

* maintenance

* termination

Understanding your readiness to change by being familiar with the six-stage model of change can help you choose treatments that are right for you. A treatment professional with the right training will understand where you are in terms of readiness to stop drinking and help you find and maintain the motivation to stop drinking.

The Precontemplation stage

At this stage, the addict does not even consider thinking about the possibility of quitting. He is still enjoying addiction. He does not even consider it as something that is harmful at this point.

There are many reasons to be in precontemplation, which can be referred to as “the Four Rs” — reluctance, rebellion, resignation and rationalization.

The Contemplation stage

At this point, the addict is already doing some active thinking about the possibility of quitting the habit. However, at this stage, he is not ready for any serious step towards kicking the habit out.

In the contemplation stage, often with the help of a treatment professional, people make a risk-reward analysis. They consider the pros and cons of their behavior, and the pros and cons of change. They think about the previous attempts they have made to stop addiction, and what has caused failure in the past

The Preparation Stage

Addicts who reach this stage are serious enough to consider quitting the habit. Individuals in this stage appear to be ready and committed to action. This stage represents preparation as much as determination.

The next step in this stage is to make a realistic plan. Commitment to change without appropriate skills and activities can create a fragile and incomplete action plan. Often with the help of a treatment professional, individuals will make a realistic assessment of the level of difficulty involved in stopping drinking. They will begin to anticipate problems and pitfalls and come up with concrete solutions that will become part of their ongoing treatment plan.


Individuals in this stage of change put their plan into action. This stage typically involves making some form of public commitment to stop addiction in order to get external confirmation of the plan. If they have not done so already, individuals in this stage may enter counseling or some form of outpatient treatment, start to attend AA meetings or tell their family members and friends about their decision—or all of the above.

Maintenance, Relapse and Recycling

The action stage normally takes three to six months to complete. Change requires building a new pattern of behavior over time. The real test of change is long-term sustained change over many years. This stage of successful change is called “maintenance.” In this stage, an addiction-free life is becoming firmly established, and the threat of a return to old patterns becomes less intense and less frequent.


The ultimate goal in the change process is termination. At this stage, the addict no longer finds that addictive substances present a temptation or threat; he has complete confidence that he can cope without fear of relapse.

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