How Do You Know That It’s Time to Get Treatment?
Facing up to the fact that you have a problem with drugs or alcohol isn’t easy. There are over 20 million people in the US alone who struggle with substance abuse, and of those, only around 7.5% will actually get help
. Given the burden on families, communities, and the national budget that results from addiction it can be difficult to understand why more people don’t seek addiction treatment.
While each person is different, there are some common reasons that people don’t go for addiction treatment. The main one is that around 96% of people who are misusing substances don’t believe their issue is enough to warrant any treatment. Many of them don’t believe they have a problem, even when there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The second reason that many people don’t seek assistance is that they are ashamed. They might realize they have a problem, but they are embarrassed. Historically, there has been a stigma around addiction, even now, when it has been defined as a disease
; it is not viewed the same way as diabetes or cancer. Shame can be debilitating and it certainly leads to many people to avoid getting the help they need. The third reason is fear. Fear that they won’t be able to get clean, fear of the pain of withdrawal, and an overwhelming fear about the future. Getting clean is a huge commitment and it can be a scary prospect for many people. There are myriad other reasons, but these are the main arguments that the majority of people will make.
How do you know when it’s time to get addiction treatment? When should you not put it off any longer?
We look at five signs that it’s time to get help to overcome your substance abuse.
- Memory Fog/Blackouts
If you wake up and you aren’t sure about where you have been or what happened when you were drinking or taking drugs, then your substance abuse is affecting your brain. If this happens even once, it means that you have lost control, that you were unsafe. Many people make excuses for this and claim they were fine because they were with friends, but it’s not okay and deep down the person is aware of this. You leave yourself open to injury or being the victim of a crime in this condition and no one else should have to look after you while you are under the influence. This is your brain crying out for help, so you should pay attention and get addiction treatment before something bad happens.
- Experiencing Withdrawal
If you drink or take drugs, you’ve experienced a hangover. You know the feelings that come after a big session. If this starts happening a few hours after you last had a drink or took drugs, it’s your body in withdrawal. Other symptoms include cramps, shakes, insomnia, headaches, paranoia, and even diarrhea – none of which are very pleasant. Withdrawal is one of the first ways that addiction takes over – because the only way you can relieve these symptoms is by taking something to ease them. This will continue to get worse until you quit entirely.
If your withdrawal is so bad that getting sober scares you, then it’s time to ask for help. A detox program can help you safely come off a substance more comfortably.
- Drinking or Taking Drugs Alone
It’s quite common for people to stop by the bar for a quick drink after a rough day, pour a large glass of wine when they get through the door or roll a spliff before bedtime. It’s when you spend all night at the bar with no plans to meet anyone, finish a whole bottle by yourself home alone, or start doing drugs on your own that you may have a problem. You are no longer a recreational user if you are doing things on your own and getting wasted regularly when your friends aren’t doing the same. If you can’t take a step back from this and control it, then it’s a sign you need addiction treatment.
- Lying About Your Usage
This often follows on from the last one. You stop telling people about getting wasted on your own. You know, deep down, that your alcohol consumption or drug use has passed any moderate point. If you don’t feel like telling people about it, it’s because you know that they will be concerned. You tell yourself that you don’t want to be judged, when in fact you’re already judging yourself and you’re not happy about it.
Sometimes this is harder to see when it’s prescription drugs. The fact is that if you’re taking more than the doctor has ordered, then you are abusing the drug. If you’re lying about symptoms to get more pills, or exaggerating your pain, then the usage has become a problem. Going to more than one doctor to get extra prescriptions is a big red flag that you are reliant on these meds.
- Being Unable to Stop
If you’ve tried to stop by yourself, but you keep failing then it’s time to ask someone else for help. It’s very common to tell yourself at the beginning of a day that you won’t have a drink or take drugs, but when you have become dependent then this is a battle you keep losing. You are not to blame here as drugs or alcohol may have altered the brain’s chemistry and your mind will keep telling you that you need another drink or hit. This is a sure sign that you need help, as you can’t do it on your own. A doctor can advise you on the best course of action for you to tackle this problem head-on, but you don’t need to do it all alone.
A Variety of Addiction Treatments
Remember that you don’t need to be addicted to seek help
for drug or alcohol abuse. If your habit is affecting your life in a negative way, then speak to a professional about getting help. Some people go to rehab before they are full-blown addicts and that is the best way to ensure that you have a bright future, free of dependency, or substance abuse. Therapy is always recommended, as you have to understand the reasons why you are abusing a substance in the first place – for many people it’s a form of self-medication for an underlying problem. There are many different treatments available these days so you can find one that works for you. There is no shame in getting help and it puts you on the path to a healthier, brighter future without the clouds of substance abuse hanging over you.
Content for Arizona Addiction created by Cohn Media, LLC. Passionate and creative writing and broadcasting, covering the following industries: addiction rehab, health care, entertainment, technology and the food/restaurant industry. Advocate of clear communication, positivity and humanity at its best. www.cohn.media
If you or someone you know needs help with addiction, contact 602-737-1619 or email [email protected] to get the help you need. Our acclaimed recovery environment merges upscale, luxury accommodations with affordability, clinical expertise and an unwavering commitment to patient care and aftercare.