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Getting Help For Addiction
Addiction to drugs and/or alcohol is treatable and manageable. In fact, psychological and medical research studies over the years have come up with new, more effective ways through which addicts can be helped - as long as they are willing to recover, get sober and clean, and maintain their state over the long haul.
However, getting help for addiction will only start once you face up to your problem and realize that you need all the help you can get to effectively and successfully fight it. Still, research shows that even those who are forced into treatment facilities - such as when teens are compelled to go for rehab by their educators or parents or substance abusers who are sentenced for drug related crimes and are forced to get addiction treatment - can get sober and clean.
In most cases, however, getting help for addiction might involve rehabilitation treatment. This form of treatment mostly includes medical support to ensure that you can overcome your physical addiction and any other physical effects and problems arising from substance abuse. It might also cover counseling and therapy to help you overcome the root causes/s of your addiction and substance use disorder. These forms of treatment are key to helping people get sober and start to rebuild their lives in a drug free and healthy way.
Therefore, you need to understand that realizing that you need addiction help isn't a sign of weakness and general lack of will. Instead, it is one of the signs of great strength.
Importance Of Getting Help For Addiction
Substance abuse and addiction is now recognized as a verifiable brain disorder that can respond effectively to treatment and rehabilitation. As such, you should not think that getting help for addiction is reason to feel embarrassed or ashamed - not any more than you would be ashamed or embarrassed by diseases like heart disease and diabetes that are also linked to a variety of lifestyle factors.
If you are a recreational user of alcohol and/or drugs, you might be able to get sober and clean without getting any help. All you have to do is realize that abusing these intoxicating, addiction, and mind altering substances is more harmful than you might have initially thought.
However, patients who suffer from chronic substance use disorders or who are addicted need all the help they can get. In many cases, help usually comes in the form of addiction treatment and rehabilitation - which is why it is mostly effective in ensuring such people can overcome both the effects and causes of their addiction.
That said, it is imperative that you ensure that your addiction is treated as early as possible. In fact, you don't have to wait until you experience health-related, financial, social, personal, or professional shocks and disasters for your treatment to prove successful. In fact, rehabilitation and treatment tend to be more successful for people who start earlier on before their addiction develops to chronic and severe levels.
If you have an addict in your family or social or professional life, you need to learn how to recognize substance abuse and addiction as medical conditions and find ways to resolve the problems at the earliest opportunity.
However, they should also realize that denial is a major part of the problem of addiction. As such, some addicts might not even think that they need to get sober and clean simply because they are yet to realize that they have a problem drinking or using drugs.
Therefore, everyone involved - including the clergy, colleagues, friends, and family - should work hand in hand to convince the addicts among them that the time has come for them to start getting help for addiction.
Symptoms Of Addiction
In most cases, learning to identify the symptoms of substance abuse and addiction is useful because it can signify that the time has come for you to get the help you need. The signs that show that your drug/alcohol abuse has developed and evolved into an addiction include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- Altering the chemistry or form of intoxicating drugs to ensure that you can achieve longer lasting or faster effects, such as crushing addictive pills into powder so that you can snort it or mix it with water/another liquid before injection
- Being unable to achieve the desirable mind altering effects of your substance of choice without increasing your dose
- Claiming that you are able to get sober and clean even if your addiction problem is slowly - but surely - becoming more serious and severe
- Developing chronic or acute health problems and issues, such as when you suffer liver damage as a result of using alcohol excessively
- Imagined or real inability to cope with the struggles and pressures of daily life without using addictive substances
- Lying and committing crimes like fraud, stealing, and doctor shopping to get hold of addictive and mind altering substances
- Using drugs and alcohol in increasingly risky ways, such as taking alcohol or drugs that might be contaminated or injecting the drugs using unsterilized and/or shared needles
- Using intoxicating and mind-altering drugs/alcohol even in dangerous situations like while driving or operating dangerous home and work equipment
You should understand that just because you are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, it is not a sign of your inherent weakness or a flaw in your character. However, it will still take you more than just willpower for the problem to completely disappear.
This is because abusing certain drugs and alcohol might create intense changes in your brain. As a direct result, you might experience powerful cravings as well as compulsions to continue using. When this happens, sobriety might seem like a goal that you will never be able to achieve.
However, recovery help is always around the corner and you need to focus on getting help for addiction before the problem gets out of hand. This is irrespective of how hopeless you think your particular situation is.
In fact, the right support, detox, rehabilitation and treatment could bring the change you desire. All you need to do is ensure that you never give up even if you tried before only to fail.
Additionally, you should remember that the road to sobriety, recovery, and abstinence might involve setbacks, pitfalls, and bumps - but you can overcome all of them and come out at the other end stronger, happier, sober, and fully recovered.
While getting help for addiction, therefore, you need to decide that the time has come for you to make positive changes in your life. While struggling with your condition, the toughest step you need to take to get started on the journey to recovery will involve your recognizing the fact that your substance abuse is getting out of hand and turning into more of a problem than a pleasure.
After that, you should decide to make the changes that are required in your life. At this point, you might feel certain about your readiness for change or about your ability to quit once and for all.
For instance, if you developed addiction to prescription painkillers, you may wonder how you are going to be able to treat the medical condition that the drugs were initially supposed to control.
However, you should remember that it is completely normal for you to feel torn - most addicts do before they start getting help for addiction and overcoming the condition once and for all.
In the same way, you should remember that committing to a life of sobriety and abstinence will involve changing a variety of things in your life - including but not limited to:
- The thoughts you have about yourself
- The people you allow into your life
- The drugs you have been taking
- How you spend your free time and resources
- How you deal with any stressful situation or feeling
You might also be a little reluctant about having to give up your preferred substances of abuse - even though you have started realizing that they have been causing serious problems and leaving negative effects in your life.
However, you should remember that although recovery will take support, motivation, and time, you still need to remain committed to your desire and decision to change. Only by so doing - and through getting help for addiction - can you truly and fully overcome the problem and get back control over your life.
At this point, therefore, you should do the following:
- Ask people you trust to tell you how they feel about your continued substance abuse
- Consider all your past attempts (if any) at recovery and think about what worked and what did not work
- Explore all your addiction treatment and rehabilitation options
- Find out if anything has been preventing you from making changes in your life and the help you need to make such changes
- List the benefits and drawbacks of quitting and the benefits and costs of continued substance abuse
- Remind yourself why you want and need to change
- Remove everything that reminds you of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction from any place you frequent, such as your workplace, home, and car
- Set specific and measurable goals to help you overcome your addiction, such as the limits and start date of your recovery
- Tell your family and friends that you have decide to commit to recovering and ask them to support you in the journey
- Think about all the things that matter to you, including your health, career, family, children, partner/spouse, and how your substance abuse is affecting them
- Track your substance abuse, including how much and when you use, so that you have a better picture of how addiction is negatively impacting your life
How Help For Addiction Works
After you commit to recovery, you need to start exploring all the options that are open to you even as you try getting help for addiction. There are several treatment and rehabilitation choices that you can count on.
Although the treatments will vary greatly depending on the specifics of your substance abuse and addiction, successful programs will typically include the following elements:
i) Behavioral Counseling
This usually comes in the form of family, group, and individual therapy. These forms of counseling might help you - especially as you try to identify some of the main causes of your substance abuse. You will also learn how to repair all your broken relationships all the while learning healthier coping skills.
Detox is usually the very first step you have to take when you decide to try getting help for addiction. It is designed in such a way that it will purge your body of every substance you have been abusing and the toxins they might have left inside your system. In the process, it will also help you manage your withdrawal symptoms.
iii) Long Term Follow-Up
Follow-up might help you by ensuring that you do not relapse and, instead, strive to maintain your sobriety. It will typically involve attending support groups and/or online meetings so that you can keep your sobriety, recovery, and abstinence on track and you do not go back to your old substance abuse and addiction habits.
In some instances, the addiction help might come in the form of medication. When this happens, the medications will be used to manage your withdrawal symptoms, treat any and all co-occurring mental health issues and conditions - such as anxiety and depression - and prevent you from relapsing.
On the other hand, getting help for addiction will usually happen in the following formats:
- Day treatment
- Outpatient treatment
- Partial hospitalization
- Residential treatment
- Sober living communities
Overall, even as you continue seeking help for your addiction, you should remember that there is no universal treatment or one size fits all approach to dealing with the condition. This is because everyone is different and comes with different needs and predicaments.
To this end, the treatment facility you decide to go to while getting help for addiction will tailor and customize your rehabilitation and managed based on your particular situation. This is why it is so important that you find the program that feels just right for you.
Make The Right Choice. Get Help Now.
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