How people intentionally change addictive behaviors with
and without treatment is not well understood by behavioral
scientists. This article summarizes research on self-initiated and professionally facilitated change of addictive
behaviors using the key transtheoretical constructs of
stages and processes of change. Modification of addictive
behaviors involves progression through five stages—precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and
maintenance—and individuals typically recycle through
these stages several times before termination of the addiction. Multiple studies provide strong support for these
stages as well as for a finite and common set of change
processes used to progress through the stages. Research
to date supports a transtheoretical model of change that
systematically integrates the stages with processes of
change from diverse theories of psychotherapy.
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