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How Long Does It Take To Break An Addiction?

Are you also suffering from an addiction and want to know the estimated time to break this addiction? Have you also tried several times to get rid of your addiction, but you fall for them again after every few days?  

It is usually said that it takes around 21 days to break an addiction, but it is not true. Ninety days is considered the safe time to get rid of your addictions completely. This is because there is always a risk of developing the addiction after short-term prevention. That’s why long-term addiction treatment programs are more successful than short-term.

This detailed guide will inform you about the time to quit an addiction. We will also share the step-by-step stages of the process to assist you in leaving your addictions. Keep reading till the end so you don’t miss out on anything related to it.     

What Is An Addiction?

The first thing we will talk about is “What is an addiction.” It is essential because you must first realize whether you really have an addiction or not and then work for its treatment accordingly. 

Addiction is basically physical or mental dependence on anything. You lose control over substances or behaviors such as drugs, alcohol, gambling, or even gaming. You feel intense cravings if you don’t do the action you are addicted to. Here are some of the symptoms you may feel if you are addicted to something.

  • You feel intense cravings for the addicted habit.
  • You feel euphoria after taking or doing it.
  • You are unable to control yourself despite awareness of negative consequences.
  • Your needs increase for the substance or behavior to achieve similar effects after some time.
  • Physical and psychological problems without it. 
  • You prioritize it over personal, social, and professional matters.

Stages To Break An Addiction

James Prochaska, Carlo DiClemente and John Norcross presented a theory in 1983. These were basically five stages to quit smoking. Due to their impact, these were later used for other substance abuse and addictions as well. Following these steps will ease our way of getting out of any dependence. Let’s look at the details of these steps. 


The first stage is the pre-contemplation stage. It is the lowest level of addiction. In this stage, the people affected by any addiction will not even admit it. They will provide justifications and give reasons to support their argument. You can get out of this stage by educating yourself about addictive behaviors.  


The next stage is contemplation. In this stage, the person with an addiction is convinced, and he admits that it is a bad habit and he needs to change it. Despite his belief and realization, he doesn’t make any effort to get out of it. Give reasons to get out of this stage to the affected person without judgment and blaming to help him in this stage.  


It is the stage where the affected person is preparing himself for the action. In this stage, you might start action for a few days but then get back to normal. Here are some of the symptoms to know you are in this stage.

  • Planning to join a gym
  • Thinking of starting a regular exercise
  • Thinking about starting a rehab
  • Planning to avoid fast food or mobile  


The 4th stage is action. In this stage, the person has started taking action to get out of the addiction. His efforts are evident in his behaviors like self-care and understanding. Constant motivation and counseling can help him move to the next stage.  


The last stage, according to these steps, is maintenance. It is a critical stage. In this stage, you are free from the addiction, but you are working to avoid relapse. Keep making healthy lifestyle changes to stay away from addiction. These may include;

  • Avoiding the triggers
  • Exercise
  • Eating healthy
  • Drinking enough water
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Doing productive activities 

Analyze your stage of addiction and make necessary changes. It will not take long for you to break an addiction.  

Time Needed To Break An Addiction

According to research by Yale University, three months is the most appropriate time to break an addiction. It is because the prefrontal cortex in our brain needs 90 days to regain its abilities, like analytical functioning or decision-making. 

It is the most suitable solution for addicted people. Although other short-term programs may seem quick and easy solutions, there is a very high risk of relapse, which you never want. So 90 days is the time your brain and body need to get rid of any addiction.  

What Is Addiction Withdrawal?

Knowing addiction withdrawal before leaving an addiction is also essential. These are basically the psychological and physical effects that are caused by quitting your addiction. These may be severe, in particular substance abuse cases. So, if you are addicted to any substance, you should do the detox under medical supervision. 

Symptoms of Addiction Withdrawal

Following are some of the common symptoms of addiction withdrawal. These may be severe in some instances and cause you serious health concerns. 

  • Intense cravings
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Insomnia and sleep disturbances
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Depression and sadness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sweating and chills
  • Increased heart rate
  • Tremors and shaking
  • Loss of appetite
  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches and dizziness

Final Words

The most appropriate duration to break an addiction is 90 days. Although it may seem a longer duration, it is essential in getting rid of your treatment. Around 40 to 60% of people relapse after trying to quit any addiction, so adopting more extended treatment programs is safer and more effective.

If you have substance addiction, don’t try to leave it on your own because there can be severe withdrawal symptoms. The best way is to consult any doctor and start with the prescribed method to get rid of this addiction.   


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