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Why is it So Hard to Quit?

Quitting drinking or abusing drugs can be incredibly challenging due to a combination of physical, psychological, and social factors. 

1. Physical Dependence:

Prolonged substance use alters brain chemistry, leading to physical dependence. When you try to quit, your body experiences withdrawal symptoms, which can be painful and intense, driving you to use again to alleviate the discomfort.

2. Psychological Dependence: Drugs and alcohol often provide temporary relief from stress, anxiety, or depression. Over time, they become coping mechanisms. Quitting means facing these underlying emotions without the crutch of substances, which can be overwhelming.

3. Cravings: The brain associates substances with pleasure, creating powerful cravings. Even after quitting, triggers like people, places, or emotions can rekindle these cravings, making it difficult to resist the urge to use.

4. Social Pressure: If your social circle revolves around substance use, quitting might mean losing friends or feeling isolated. Peer pressure can be strong, making it hard to break free from the cycle.

5. Lifestyle and Routine: Substance use often becomes intertwined with daily routines and activities. Breaking these associations requires significant effort and restructuring of one's lifestyle.

6. Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders: Many individuals struggling with addiction also have underlying mental health issues that they may be self-medicating. Treating both conditions simultaneously is essential, as untreated mental health problems can hinder recovery.

7. Lack of Support: Recovery is more successful with a strong support network. Those lacking familial or friend support might struggle to stay motivated or accountable.

8. Fear of Change: Even though substances cause harm, they provide familiarity and a temporary escape from reality. The uncertainty of life without them can be frightening.

9. Relapse Patterns: Addiction is characterized by relapses. Falling back into substance use can be discouraging and lead to feelings of failure, making it harder to maintain motivation.

10. Neurological Changes: Prolonged substance use rewires the brain's reward system, making it harder for individuals to experience pleasure from non-substance-related activities. This can lead to a constant search for the euphoria provided by drugs or alcohol.

Overcoming addiction requires a comprehensive approach, including medical assistance (which we refer out for), therapy, support groups, and lifestyle changes. It's crucial to recognize that the difficulty of quitting is not a reflection of weakness but rather a testament to the complex nature of addiction itself.

Break Free from Active Addiction

Are you trapped in the grips of addiction, yearning for a way out? It's time to take that first courageous step towards a brighter future. Your journey to recovery begins today, and with dedication and support, you can reclaim the life you deserve.

Breaking free from active addiction requires a commitment to change. Acknowledge that your current path is not leading you where you want to go. By embracing change, you open the door to transformation and personal growth. You don't have to walk this path alone. Reach out for professional support from addiction specialists, therapists, and support groups. They will provide the tools, guidance, and understanding you need to navigate the challenges ahead.

Recovery is a step-by-step process. Each day without addiction is a victory, and collectively, these days will build the foundation for lasting change. Recognize the situations, people, and emotions that trigger your addictive behaviors. By identifying these triggers, you can develop strategies to manage them effectively and prevent relapse.

Nurture your mental and physical health. A balanced mind and body are essential for your recovery. Establish meaningful goals that align with your recovery journey. Whether they're related to work, relationships, or personal achievements, these goals will provide a sense of purpose and motivation.

How Outpatient Therapy Works

Psychotherapy, Break Free from Active Addiction

Outpatient therapy is a form of addiction treatment that allows individuals to receive therapy and support while living at home and maintaining their daily routines. It provides a structured and supportive environment for individuals to address their addictive behaviors, learn coping skills, and develop strategies for long-term recovery.


Outpatient therapy typically includes individual counseling, group therapy, education about addiction, relapse prevention techniques, and support in navigating the challenges of recovery. It offers ongoing guidance, accountability, and resources to help individuals maintain sobriety, manage triggers, and build a

strong foundation for a healthier life. Please note that weekly outpatient therapy is not appropriate for everyone. Some people need more intensive treatment, such as a stay at a rehab or mental health hospital, or partial hospitalization or a daily intensive outpatient program (IOP). 

  • What is psychotherapy?
    Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy or counseling, is a collaborative process between a trained therapist and an individual seeking support. It aims to explore thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and experiences to promote personal growth, emotional well-being, and address specific concerns. Psychotherapy encompasses various approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and humanistic therapy, tailored to meet the individual's needs.
  • How long does psychotherapy last? How many sessions will I need?
    The duration of psychotherapy varies depending on several factors, including the individual's goals, the complexity of their concerns, and their progress throughout the therapeutic process. Some individuals may benefit from short-term therapy, consisting of a few sessions or weeks, to address specific issues or provide immediate support. Long-term therapy may span several months or years, focusing on deeper exploration and ongoing personal development. The therapist and individual collaborate to determine the appropriate duration of therapy based on their unique circumstances. Sessions are typically scheduled to occur one time per week at the same time and day if possible. Your therapist may suggest a different amount of therapy depending on the nature and severity of your concerns. Your consistent attendance greatly contributes to a successful outcome. Due to the varying nature and severity of problems and the individuality of each client, we are unable to predict the length of your therapy or to guarantee a specific outcome or result. The length of your treatment depends on the specifics of your treatment plan and the progress you achieve. Most clients see their therapist once a week for 3 to 4 months. After that, they meet less often for several months. Therapy then usually comes to an end.
  • How do I find the right therapist for me?
    Finding the right therapist involves considering several factors. It's important to seek a licensed and qualified therapist with expertise in the specific concerns you want to address. You can ask for recommendations from trusted sources, such as healthcare professionals or friends who have had positive experiences with therapy. Online directories and therapist matching platforms can also help you find therapists in your area. Additionally, it's crucial to feel comfortable and have a good rapport with your therapist, so scheduling an initial consultation or phone call to assess the fit is recommended.
  • Do you accept insurance?
    For mental health issues, we accept Blue Cross Blue Shield and affiliates (CareFirst, Anthem, BCBS Federal Employee Program, etc.) and Cigna or Evernorth. HOWEVER, please note that to qualify for insurance benefits, therapy must be related to a mental health diagnosis, like anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc., that has medical necessity. Most insurance plans do not cover relationship or sexual issues. Yes, it is sad considering that these are often the primary drivers for mental health issues. Please do not ask us to bill your insurance for relationship or sexual issues without first contacting your insurance company to check to see if your plan covers it. (We don't want to keep asking them.) Also, we cannot make up a diagnosis either, as this is insurance fraud and can cost us our license and result in serious penalties. Plus, insurance companies occasionally audit psychotherapy notes to ensure that treatment is related to the reported diagnosis. You can always choose to skip insurance and pay for therapy out of pocket. This will maximize your privacy and widen your pool of therapists. Thank you for your understanding.
  • How much does therapy cost?
    The cost depends on the type of service provided, who your provider is, and how long it lasts for. Please contact us for up-to-date rates. We also offer a 10% discount for online teletherapy sessions due. Sessions that exceed these times by more than 10 minutes will be billed accordingly in 15-minute increments. Additional charges also apply for sessions after office hours or on weekends. More information can be found in our informed consent document available upon request. All rates are in US dollars. Good Faith Estimate You have the right to receive a “Good Faith Estimate” explaining how much your medical and mental health care will cost. Under the law, health care providers need to give patients who don’t have insurance or who are not using insurance an estimate of the expected charges for medical services, including psychotherapy services. You have the right to receive a Good Faith Estimate for the total expected cost of any non-emergency healthcare services, including psychotherapy services. You can ask your health care provider, and any other provider you choose, for a Good Faith Estimate before you schedule a service. If you receive a bill that is at least $400 more than your Good Faith Estimate, you can dispute the bill. Make sure to save a copy or picture of your Good Faith Estimate. For questions or more information about your right to a Good Faith Estimate, visit or call (800) 985-3059.
  • Is psychotherapy confidential?
    Confidentiality is a fundamental principle in psychotherapy. Therapists are legally and ethically bound to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of the information shared during therapy sessions. However, there are a few exceptions to confidentiality, such as when there is a risk of harm to oneself or others, child or elder abuse, or when a court order requires the disclosure of information. Your therapist should explain their confidentiality policy and any exceptions during the initial sessions.
  • Do you offer virtual therapy and coaching sessions?
    Yes! In addition to in-person appointments, HigherChange also provides online video conferencing sessions for both therapy and coaching. We use an encrypted video conferencing platform that we have a HIPAA-compliant relationship with. However, you will need a smartphone with a built-in camera or a computer with a webcam and microphone. (If booking a virtual therapy appointment, be sure to select "Telehealth for Maryland/California/Singapore" and specify where you live as the Location.)
  • Is therapy really beneficial?
    The benefits of therapy have been demonstrated through research. People who are depressed may find their mood lifting. Others may no longer feel afraid, angry, or anxious. In therapy, people have a chance to talk things out fully until their feelings are relieved or the problems are solved. Your relationships and coping skills may improve greatly. You may get more satisfaction out of social and family relationships. Your personal goals and values may become clearer. You may grow in different areas of your life.
  • What if I can't make it to a scheduled appointment?
    Apart from unpredictable emergencies like snow days or illness, we require a 48-hour notice for cancellation and rescheduling. Otherwise, you may be charged the full session fee at 100%, and this charge may not be covered by insurance. To reschedule an appointment, select Appointments > Existing clients in the menu bar and follow the instructions there. Alternatively, you can call or email us using the contact information at the bottom of the screen.
About Dr. Luttrell

Dr. Luttrell can help you reconnect and realign with your truth authentic self by restoring emotional intimacy with yourself, partner, family, business, or spiritual relationships. He believes that understanding emotions are important to overcome obstacles of shame, fear, or shame-based cycles of addiction. His focus areas tend to be on romantic relationships, sexuality, the impact of hurtful habits, and spirituality.

how long does it take to stop an addiction

"Dr. Luttrell is very professional. He strives to obtain the most helpful resources for clients and keep up to date on relevant approaches to aid clients in their therapy journey. He is friendly and approachable and highly empathic."
- Vanessa Q. (former colleague)

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