drinking problems

Seven Signs You Need Addiction Treatment

Posted on April 26th, 2016

If you’re concerned that you may need treatment for drug or alcohol use, you likely do. According to Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, people with substance use disorders typically require professional, long-term care in order to achieve sustained sobriety. The agency also asserts that addiction is a disease of the brain that necessitates treatment to address co-occurring mental health disorders as well as contributing psychological and social factors.

Some telltale signs that you should consider entering a drug or alcohol rehab program include:

1. Failed Attempts to Quit or Limit Substance Use
“I woke up one morning, painfully hungover … again, and vowed for the fourth time in one month to stop drinking, for at least a few months. I had a cocktail in my hand by 6 p.m. that evening.”

You’ve promised yourself or others you’ll cut back or stop altogether, but you always find yourself back to square one. Often people with substance use disorders make several attempts to quit drinking or drugging on their own before they seek the help of medical and behavioral addiction specialists, or their loved ones force them into rehab.

Addiction treatment helps people address the underlying issues that propel their compulsive use of substances as a self-medicating behavior, so they are less likely to relapse.

2. Compromising Work or Personal Life
“I was fired after 16 years at the same job because I couldn’t get myself to work on time, even after several warnings.”

Signs of addiction can include being chronically late for work, missing it all together or poor work performance. Skipping social or family obligations because of substance use or because drugs or alcohol won’t be available are also red flags. When alcohol or drugs are the No. 1 priority, usual responsibilities or activities often fall by the wayside.

Drug and alcohol rehab can provide the structure needed for addicted individuals to focus on themselves and learn to overcome self-defeating behavioral patterns while renewing their purpose in life.

3. Relationship Problems
“My wife told me she and the kids were leaving to live with her sister and not to contact them until I was sober.”

Jeopardizing relationships with family, coworkers, partners and friends comes with the territory in addiction. Broken promises, compromised trust, erratic behavior and lack of dependability are some of the traits commonly seen in addicted individuals.

Most addiction treatment centers provide family counseling opportunities so clients can work on repairing strained relationships. Clients and their loved ones may explore interpersonal issues, the roles they play in addiction and learn healthier communication skills.

4. Physical or Psychological Dependence
“I started taking nips of vodka at work to stave off the shaking and nausea. I needed alcohol to feel ‘normal.’ ”

Those abusing drugs or alcohol may develop a physical or psychological dependence. If you need more of a substance to get the same desired effect, to feel “normal” or to prevent withdrawal symptoms, you have developed physical dependency on alcohol or drugs.

Medically monitored detoxification is the first step for many people who enter addiction treatment. A medical team monitors vital signs around the clock and may draw upon research-backed medications to safely ease any withdrawal symptoms, cravings and discomfort.

5. Financial or Legal Problems
“I drained our entire life savings to fund my cocaine habit, including my kids’ college fund.”

Sometimes the wakeup call that rehab is needed comes in the form of DUIs, arrests or financial devastation from funding a drug or alcohol addiction. If you’re putting yourself in financial or legal trouble to support your drug or alcohol problem, it’s likely time to seek professional help.

In the long run, any cost incurred from addiction treatment could pay for itself over time, saving you money you’d likely spend on drugs or alcohol, legal problems or healthcare costs in the future. Many drug and alcohol rehab facilities accept insurance.

6. Hiding Substance Use from Others
“I would hide liquor in my purse to drink in the women’s restroom in addition to the drinks I’d have at the bar. I needed more and didn’t want people to know.”

Any secretive behavior around drinking or using drugs is indicative of a problem. Drinking alone, stashing alcohol in secret places, lying about the amount or how often you drink or use drugs are all signs you may have a substance use problem.

Shame and secrecy surround the disease of addiction — whether it’s shame about addictive behaviors or underlying issues that have fueled substance abuse. Drug and alcohol rehab provides an accepting, nonjudgmental, supportive environment where people can explore these issues with mental health professionals and peers who share similar challenges.

7. Concern You Have a Problem

Your own concern that drug use or drinking is problematic can be the chief indicator that it is. You’re not alone. A recent survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimated that 22.7 million Americans need treatment for drug or alcohol abuse. Specialized addiction treatment can provide the physical and behavioral care needed to address the biological, psychological and emotional factors that drive the disease of addiction, and help you develop healthier coping skills.

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