Today, there are nearly 23 million Americans struggling with substance use disorders. Of these, less than 1% receive the help they need to overcome addiction. Perhaps one of the most common questions for those considering a life of sobriety is, “Do I need rehab?”
Many people believe that it’s not necessary to pursue treatment – they think that with enough determination and effort, they will attain lasting sobriety all by themselves. They may also feel that their problem isn’t severe enough to warrant professional intervention. But is this the case? Today, we’ll examine this subject and explain the importance of clinically supervised rehabilitation.
The Pop Culture Image of Addiction
One of the most challenging aspects of encouraging someone to seek treatment is that popular culture has created a very specific image of an addict or alcoholic. When you think of someone with an addiction, you probably imagine a person who has hit rock bottom. Stereotypically, this will be someone who has been fired from their job; they could potentially be living on the street. Maybe they’ve lost their family and friends as a result of their actions.
In reality, those struggling with substance use disorders exist along a varied spectrum. They are probably able to successfully mask their addiction, at least for a while, and may not seem vastly different from the general population. Some high-functioning addicts may have prosperous careers, big families, and exciting social lives. Just because you or someone you love may seem normal doesn’t mean there isn’t an issue with addiction beneath the surface.
When to Seek Help
In truth, any amount of substance use that begins to create negative effects is cause for concern. There are a few indicators that you may have a problem. Family members may have asked you to drink less or may have expressed worry about whether you are alright. Maybe you’ve done something risky, like drive a car while under the influence. Withdrawal symptoms and cravings may be beginning or intensifying with continued use. Friend groups tend to shift away from tried-and-true buddies to people you only drink or get high with. Finally, you may have experienced some problems with the law related to your substance use – DUIs, public intoxication, and charges for possession of a controlled substance are all likely possibilities.
When negative outcomes like these begin to become more common, it’s likely that you’ll try to quit on your own. At this stage, many people attempt to cut down on their use by themselves, only to find out that they can’t. This means that the body is physically addicted to the substance, and that it’s time to seek professional help.
Do I Need Professional Help for Addiction?
One of the chief factors to consider is that addiction is a chronic brain disease. When you consume drugs or alcohol, the brain’s reward system is flooded with an unnatural amount of dopamine. This rewires the system and creates a tolerance – a new, expected level of the substance that must be consumed in order to receive the same rush. Over time, this amount increases, and you’ll need to take more and more. When you abruptly stop drinking or using drugs, the body has a difficult time adjusting.
Without expected doses, you’ll experience side effects known as withdrawal symptoms. These can range from nausea and vomiting to delirium tremens – severe, life-threatening alcohol withdrawal that can include seizures. Because of the dangers of these symptoms, it’s important to seek professional help for medically supervised detox. With this service, you will receive 24/7 clinical support, as well as prescriptions that alleviate any symptoms. Supervised detox transforms a very hazardous situation into a safe first step to life-changing sobriety.
Detox alone isn’t considered complete recovery – it is also necessary to pursue behavioral changes and personal development in order to avoid relapse. Some people come from families with a history of addiction, while others come from high-risk backgrounds, where ease of access and increased stress boost their chance of substance use.
If you decide to pursue recovery on your own, you’ll miss out on vital self-discovery through individual and group therapy sessions. These conversations help you to unpack the factors that fueled your drug use, as well as to learn coping mechanisms that will prevent any future relapse. They also help to connect you with a sober support network of regular AA or NA meetings, where you can ask for advice or be held accountable. Without these resources, it is extraordinarily difficult to maintain sobriety. For these reasons, it is recommended to pursue professional addiction treatment whenever possible.
The Problem is Real. The Time is Now.
After helping over 100,000 alcoholics and addicts, Lakeside-Milam is the largest addiction treatment facility in the PNW, with thousands of clean and sober alumni. We believe that through hard work and professional support, any addiction may be overcome. Call 800-231-4303 today to learn more about Lakeside-Milam’s complete continuum of care.