Think for a bit: how do you know if you need treatment?
Okay, if you’re using illicit drugs like heroin or meth, the answer is pretty clear: yes, you need – or are going to need very soon – professional help. For other substances, the moment of clarity can be a little harder to find. Not every addictive substance is bought on the street, and vacuum-sealed, blister-packed medicines can be and are abused. Prescription painkillers are a powerful gateway into addiction and sedatives like Xanax are easy to build up tolerance to. Alcohol? You can buy it pretty much anywhere in California and it’s as addictive as anything.
So, take an inventory of your life over the past month. Or year. Have many nights you can’t remember? Too many mornings spent sick? Have you tried stopping and weren’t able to?
These and others are signs of trouble. The good news is, rehab works.
Telltale signs of addiction
It is now proven some people are genetically predisposed toward addiction. Because of the way drugs affect the brain when abused, the gradual missteps into addiction can be easy to miss. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the common signs of drug dependence are:
- Feeling an urge to regularly use the drug, daily or multiple times during the day.
- Needing more of the drug to feel the same effect.
- Failing in your attempts to stop using.
Signs to look for in others are sudden changes in habits, a loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed and a lack of attention to personal appearance and hygiene. People who live with addicts often experience money and valuables disappearing because they’re being used to purchase drugs. Any one of these, particularly withdrawal symptoms, can be signs of a substance abuse problem.
Where to find help
In some ways, addicts are luckier than ever before. Society is increasingly seeing addiction for the disease that it is, rather than a moral failing which needs punishment. There’s a great many resources available for everyone, from a family member concerned about a loved one’s behavior to someone realizing they’re slowly sinking under. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, SAMHSA, keeps a very useful website which allows users to find treatment providers near them. The American Society of Addiction Medicine’s website includes a list of specialists in addiction nationwide. More providers and resources can be found at the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s site.
Treatment for addiction takes many forms. Some people, especially those who do not have a safe, reliable place to recover, benefit from a residential program. Treatment usually involves a period of medically-supervised detox, group and individual therapy and newer methods including natural assisted detox programs such as that offered by Sovereign Health.
It’s important to remember that addiction is only a dead end if left untreated. It is a disease which responds to careful management, and there are many support organizations which can help you and others to a sober life. Getting help for addiction is one of the most important, and best, decisions anyone can make. So start today.
The Sovereign Health Group is a leading treatment provider for substance abuse disorders. Our dual-diagnosis approach to treatment treats both addiction and the co-occurring conditions often driving it. If you or a loved one is dealing with substance abuse our 24/7 helpline can provide more information about addiction and recommendations for treatment.
Written by Brian Moore, Sovereign Health Group writer