What Are the 5 Stages of The Drug Addiction Changing Process?

The Stages of Change is a renowned method for helping people who are struggling with addiction understand how they can change.

The Stages of Change is a renowned method for helping people struggling with addiction understand how they can change. It is also vital for treatment professionals to recognize what phase their patient is experiencing. Family members also benefit from the information. The Transtheoretical Model, as the 5 Stages of Change assesses an individual’s readiness to enter recovery, explains the change processes, so everyone involved with the person who needs help can be ready to take action. Using the Stages of Change model is a pillar of psychological theory that treatment centers and expert substance use disorder counselors enhance the patient’s motivation to attain solid recovery. 

What Are the 5 Stages of The Drug Addiction Changing Process?

Stage #1 Pre-Contemplation

The pre-contemplation stage is when people are not yet aware of the need for change and are unmotivated to seek assistance; many refer to this stage as a denial. Additionally,  a person addicted to drugs or alcohol is likely to become defensive or rationalize their behavior in this stage. 

Therefore, most individuals in the pre-contemplation stage of recovery need help to move towards contemplation through gentle non-confrontational counseling to help them realize the actual consequences of their addiction. Motivational Interviewing is a style of non-confrontational counseling best used to encourage someone in addiction to consider the possibility of a change.

Motivational Interviewing is a treatment strategy developed to enhance motivation for change. It has strong empirical support in trials with several substance-using populations to improve client retention and treatment outcomes. (NIDA)

Stage #2 Contemplation

Addicts in the contemplation stage spend time thinking about the consequences of their substance abuse. During this stage, the addict might be open to discussions about the effects of their addiction but remain ambivalent about changing. Treatment professionals at this point will help the person weigh the benefits and costs of using or drinking versus seeking help. 

The counselor or therapist will further apply motivational interviewing techniques to help them envision new options for their lives. The techniques used during motivational interviewing are always non-confrontational and meant to ‘meet the person where they are at’ to encourage them to take potential steps towards letting go of active addiction.

Stage #3 Preparation

In the preparation phase, people have decided to end their drug or alcohol use and make a change. Unfortunately, this phase can go too fast and short circuit the progress. What happens is that individuals will often attempt to bypass this stage and jump directly into taking action; however, the counselor must support the person who is not adequately prepared to take action. 

Additionally, counselors will help gather information about potential treatment programs and other ways to support their recovery or interest in changing during this stage. Many people in this stage may only identify with depression, trauma, anxiety, etc., and may only be willing to address those issues for getting help. This is perfectly normal as the power of denial takes time to fade. 

Stage #4 Action

People in the action stage finally believe they can enter recovery and see the need for it. They are willing to change and are actively participating in the recovery. An individual’s recovery must be very well supported during this stage. Aftercare programs and continued addiction education teach coping strategies, and one on one counseling is ideal; most of these methods are provided in treatment. 

To make sure the person transitions successfully out of treatment and into recovery, they will also need to engage in evidence-based, in-depth therapy so they can assess and inventory their own life and internalize the importance of managing themselves without drugs and alcohol.

Stage #5 Maintenance

The Maintenance stage is the final stage of change. It involves teaching the newly recovering addict or alcoholic how to avoid ad cope with triggers, the importance of 12 step or other support groups, and realizing they require help to stay clean and sober. Once a person reaches this stage, they reaffirm their progress and establish new friends and personal roles in the community. Before the person leaves their treatment program, they must be given resources for aftercare and continuing therapy or counseling.

Stages of Change In Treatment Is Available Here

At On Call Treatment, we connect people to evidence-based forms of treatment that rely on motivational interviewing and in-depth counseling. Do not let your loved ones try to fix themselves or quit drugs and drinking alone. It is researched that doing it alone won’t work and will only prolong their drug and alcohol use. We can have you admitted today. Call now for help and information.