What Are the 5 Stages of Rehab?


Rehab is a process and a continuum. People often go through at least three phases before entering active recovery. Read on to learn more about these phases and how they can help you or your loved one on your journey to overcome addiction.

The Transtheoretical Model

The Transtheoretical Model theorizes that changes in behavior are not the result of one action. Instead, behavioral changes are the result of a series of steps or changes that a person goes through. As they progress through these steps, they get closer and closer to achieving the new, desired behavior.

Patients in rehab can use the Transtheoretical Model as they move through the steps of recovery. By following through each stage, patients and caregivers can ensure that the patient is taking all of the necessary actions to ensure a permanent behavior change.

What Are the 5 Stages of Rehab?

While there are six stages for the Transtheoretical Model, when it comes to rehab, we focus on the first five. We’ll discuss later why the sixth step isn’t as relevant when it comes to addiction.

1. Precontemplation

During the precontemplation stage, the person doesn’t realize that they have a problem or they’re in denial about their addiction. They have no plans to seek help or treatment. In their mind, they have everything under control and they don’t need help.

Loved ones may try to talk to the person about their addiction, but the person insists they don’t have a problem. They’ll either justify or deny the behaviors that their loved one may bring up. The person is often unaware of the signs of addiction that their loved ones are seeing.

In some situations, people in the precontemplation stage have tried rehab before but it wasn’t successful. They may feel that rehab just isn’t for them or that they’re beyond help. They are resigned to living a life of addiction.

Fortunately, everyone can be helped. Whether someone has been addicted for months or years and no matter how many times they’ve tried treatment, there is a program out there that can help them.

2. Contemplation

In the contemplation stage, the person begins to acknowledge that they may have a problem. They’ve started to notice the signs of addiction. They may also begin to understand the consequences of their addiction.


Instead of shutting down, the person may listen when their loved ones talk to them. The loved one may begin to make sense and the person may see their addiction from a more rational perspective.

At this point, the person may begin to consider undergoing treatment. They will start to wonder what their life would look like without addiction. They often see themselves going into rehab, but it’s usually in the near future, but not right now.

They will also weigh out the positives and negatives that go along with their addiction. They are often torn between the satisfaction they get from their addiction and the potential for a better life.

In this stage, loved ones can have a great impact. They can often get the person to sway toward the positive aspects of overcoming their addiction. When loved ones take the right action during this stage, the person may move on to the next stage.

3. Preparation

In the preparation stage, the person becomes more active in their recovery. They have admitted that they have a problem. In this stage, they start to realize that they can’t put off recovery indefinitely. It’s important to make a change.

During this phase, they will consider their options. They will do research and sometimes turn to others who were in their position. They will understand that they must get over their addiction in order to live a healthy life.

People in the preparation stage will often try to get over the addiction on their own. They may quit for a few days or even a few weeks. However, they are likely to relapse. If they are unable to quit, they’ll realize that they need professional help. They may continue to try on their own until they’re ready to move to the next phase.

4. Action

The action phase is perhaps the most important of all the stages. Up until now, the person has simply been denying the problem or planning to take action. It’s a lot easier to come up with plans instead of actually putting them into practice.

During the action stage, the person is ready to get help. They’ll find the rehab that seems like a good fit for them. They may even give up their addiction.


They’ll enter a rehab facility and start by undergoing detoxification. The length will depend on their level of addiction.

Next, they’ll get help with overcoming their addiction. They’ll often do counseling to help them understand what their triggers are and how to avoid them.

5. Maintenance

People enter the maintenance stage after achieving the desired behavior. In this case, they’ve overcome their addiction. However, the process isn’t over. No one is “cured” of addiction, but instead is taught methods for coping.

The person must now do what it takes to stay sober and avoid relapse. They should have a pretty developed toolkit for dealing with their problems. They should avoid situations that tempt them to go back to their older ways.

Loved ones will often help by preventing the person’s access to the substance. The person must learn to hold themselves accountable. The maintenance stage may last six months up to a year.

After Recovery

Recovery isn’t a cure. It’s an ongoing process. The sixth and final stage is called termination. During this stage, the person has achieved their goals and they no longer wish to return to their past ways. They no longer desire the substance that gave their addiction and is happy in their new life.

Many people with addiction issues never reach this stage, hence it was left out of the main list. For many addicts, they’ll spend the rest of their life fighting the urges. These people must stage in the maintenance stage so that they’re actively avoiding temptation and triggers.

Ready for Change? Long Island Treatment Center Can Help

The five stages of rehab can be scary, especially as you’re starting out. You don’t have to do it on your own. Support can help you move forward with your life and decrease your chance of relapse.

When you’re ready for help, the Long Island Treatment Center is here for you. Call today to discuss your treatment options.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Long Island Treatment Center

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