How Long Does It Take to Break an Addiction and What to Expect - Growth Freaks

How Long Does It Take to Break an Addiction and What to Expect

woman addicted to alcohol

Whether it’s smoking, consuming alcohol, uncontrollably eating sweets, and so on, a lot of people struggle with addiction. Breaking an addiction is often easier said than done, and people who have been in this situation know that it’s not that easy to break an addiction. The process can be long and arduous. So, how long does it take to break an addiction? One thing’s for sure, and that’s that the answer is not 21 days. Today, we’re going to provide you with the real number and tell you what to expect when you’re trying to quit something.

In the end, what does breaking an addiction or a habit mean? It means establishing a new habit, a better one, in order to replace the old one.

Breaking an Addiction: Brief Guide

The 21-Days Myth

The first thing we need to clear up is that the idea that you only need 21 days to break an addiction is completely false. This is a widely-spread belief, so you might’ve heard it in the past. Maybe you even believe it yourself. In fact, this is a myth that started with Dr. Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon, who in the 1950s, looking at patients who had a limb amputated as well as at patients who had a surgery such as a nose job, came to the conclusion that both groups needed 21 days to adjust to the change. This led him to believe that 21 days are enough for someone to change an old mental image and replace it with a new one. After his statement, a lot of self-help writers adopted the idea and spread it around.

How Long Does It Take to Break an Addiction: The Truth

In reality, breaking an addiction takes much more than 21 days, and the process differs from person to person. You can’t expect everyone to deal with addiction the same way or be able to break it as fast. According to a 2009 study conducted by some researchers at University College London, establishing a habit takes an average of 66 days. This is relevant because becoming addicted to something and breaking an addiction are naturally closely linked.

In the end, what does breaking an addiction or a habit mean? It means establishing a new habit, a better one, in order to replace the old one. That’s because a new habit helps you break addiction faster than if you were to try to stop doing something without a replacement. So, how long does it take to break an addiction? The bottom line is that there is no exact number of days for breaking an addiction. It all depends on the person, the circumstances, the motivation, and of course, the habit. According to a TIME article, 90 days would be another approximate value.

What to Expect on Your Road to Recovery

Breaking an addiction is a complex process. As such, there are things you must be aware of before embarking upon such a journey. First of all, especially during the early stages of recovery, you might feel uncomfortable and out of place, unsure of whether you should do this or not. Second of all, this might lead to you questioning whether or not you really have an addiction. You will probably also feel ashamed and embarrassed due to your addiction, as well as having to confront it head on.

Luckily, there are plenty of places you can go for support. One example would be the website TheTribe, where you can also find a tribe dedicated to addiction.

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Author: Amanda Knowles

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