People tend to think addiction is a habit they can break. However, addiction is a relapsing, chronic disease, so it’s not like trying to stop biting your nails. There is no easy way to determine how long it takes to “break” an addiction.
The chemical changes in the brain that occur with dependency make addiction more like a bad habit on steroids. Breaking that habit tends to happen in stages.
What Is Addiction?
Habits are routine behaviors that tend to happen without you thinking about them. However, addiction occurs because a substance like heroin activates the reward center of the brain, so it releases feel-good chemicals. The euphoria that comes from that release is what brings you back to the drug a second and third time.
Over time, though, the addiction grows and changes. You might end up taking drugs to feel normal or just to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
There are different types of addiction, but they all share certain common features. These include:
- Compulsion or an intense urge to use the substance
- Loss of control over how much you use
- Continued use despite negative consequences
- Preoccupation with the substance or obtaining it
- Using more of the substance to get the same effect
- Withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop using
After a while, though, the brain builds up a tolerance, so the same dose doesn’t make you feel as good. You must take more to get the same euphoria. Over time, the brain will start holding back those feel-good chemicals, so you begin to crave the drug. That is addiction.
Addiction can cause serious problems in your life, including financial ruin, relationship difficulties, and job loss. It can also lead to health problems like liver disease, heart disease, and lung disease. If you’re struggling with addiction, get help before it’s too late.
What Is Withdrawal?
Withdrawal begins a few hours after the last dose of a drug, and it can affect people differently. Someone experiencing physical withdrawal from drugs like heroin or alcohol will have unpleasant side effects such as a fever, agitation, vomiting, and muscle cramps.
Withdrawal symptoms can be severe, and they can last for weeks or even months. That’s why it’s important to detox under medical supervision. A professional can help you manage your symptoms and get through withdrawal safely.
Dealing with withdrawal symptoms are your own isn’t recommended. It can be dangerous, as well as emotionally and physically challenging. Having a supportive network of family and friends is important, but professional help is essential to a successful recovery.
Getting help for drug withdrawal can also reduce the risk of relapse. Many people who try to detox on their own end up relapsing due to the overwhelming symptoms.
Going through withdrawal in a detox program like available through San Antonio Recovery Center can help manage those symptoms and control cravings with medication. Detox can last anywhere from one to ten days or longer in some cases. Next comes treatment.
What to Expect in Addiction Treatment
Detox gets you sober, and treatment helps to keep you that way. There are a variety of treatment programs available, including:
- Inpatient or residential care – Provides a safe, controlled environment in which you can focus on recovery.
- Intensive outpatient – This is a step down from residential, and it usually takes place in a clinic or community setting.
- Outpatient – An option for those with more flexible schedules. Outpatient can include individual or group therapy, medication management, and support services.
You may require one or more of these approaches to support your recovery. Once you graduate from therapy, you can take part in ongoing recovery programs that likely will include 12-step meetings. The purpose of ongoing recovery is relapse prevention and to provide support while you transition into life without drugs or alcohol.
How Long Does It Take to Break an Addiction?
During treatment, you’ll focus less on breaking a physical dependency on drugs and alcohol and more on developing healthy coping skills. Recovery starts with detox, which can last up to 10 days. It continues during addiction therapy, which ideally will be for at least 90 days, and continues during aftercare.
Ongoing recovery is a step-by-step process that people spend their lives maintaining. Finding the right treatment program and therapy is the first step.
At San Antonio Recovery Center, we base our treatment philosophy on the 12-step model. Our goal is to offer you a way to find recovery that is both effective and affordable.
Recovery requires a full spectrum of treatment services, such as:
- Residential care
- Intensive outpatient
- Outpatient programs
- Aftercare services
- 90-day treatment programs
At San Antonio Recovery Center, we offer therapy options in a safe, supportive, and therapeutic environment. Our staff of addiction experts works with each client to develop an individual care plan that suits their needs. We also encourage families and other members of the client support system to get involved.
Contact San Antonio Recovery Center
There is no easy fix that will break an addiction. By providing our clients with evidence-based treatments and an affordable pricing structure, we offer you a chance at long-term, sustainable recovery no matter what your addiction, whether it’s heroin, alcohol, or some other chemical substance.
Give us a call today at 866.957.7885, or contact us online to find out more about breaking addiction. San Antonio Recovery Center’s counselors can answer any questions you have and set you up with an appointment to talk more.