Most addicted people need at least three months of treatment to stay sober and start an ongoing recovery plan. Research shows that the best results are achieved with longer-term treatments. Longer treatment programs may seem intimidating at first, but they may end up yielding the best results. The old belief that it took 21 days to change a habit has now been termed a myth.
According to psychologists, while it takes approximately 21 days of conscious and constant effort to create a new habit, it takes much longer to quit an existing habit. Just as it takes different periods of time to quit a habit depending on the nature of the habit, there is no timeline for breaking and healing the addiction. Usually, the process begins with the body's detoxification of the substance, whether it's drugs, alcohol, or both. Detoxification programs usually take about 7 days to remove the substance from the body, but it can take additional weeks or even months for cravings to disappear.
Researchers have studied the brain of a cocaine addict. After 14 months of withdrawal from the drug, levels of the dopamine transporter returned to almost normal functioning. The same effects are present in the brains of people addicted to alcohol and marijuana. In general, it takes most people between one and two years to recover from addiction.
However, more research is needed in this field. Scientists have just begun to examine the brain of addicts, so more studies are needed to determine all the neurotoxic effects of drugs on the brain. Rather than days and weeks, people tend to measure outpatient treatment in terms of months and years. The average duration of outpatient treatment is approximately 90 days, but some people will continue treatment indefinitely.
However, in cases where treatment is performed as part of comprehensive ongoing care, the client's time in outpatient care may be significantly shorter. There are a variety of treatment programs established to help you stay sober. Inpatient detoxification is the best way to start your journey. Here you are medically supervised and any negative symptoms can be treated to alleviate it.
This process can take up to two weeks. The amount of time it takes to end an addiction depends largely on the person, their specific substance abuse problems, and their treatment needs. Depending on the person, their stage of life and their unique circumstances, receiving treatment for addiction could mean choosing between work and recovery or choosing between personal well-being and the well-being of the entire family. As always, a person's ability to address their addiction and advance the recovery process will shorten the duration of treatment.