Should I Go To Rehab?
You may be asking yourself if your addiction is out of hand, or perhaps you’re wondering if you even have an addiction, either way chances are if you have to ask, there’s a problem or a problem on the rise. The best way to prevent things from getting worse is to get out in front of the problem. There’s no way to precisely measure addiction, but regardless of severity, trained rehabilitation professionals can help you isolate the problem, prevent things from getting worse and ultimately stop drug use.
Once you start to think about an addiction it can be confusing as to how you’re supposed to tackle it. People start thinking about taking on the problem alone — “If I’m going to stop, I’m going to handle it myself.” This kind of thinking can be dangerous, because it’s a big precursor towards prolonging drug use and delaying treatment. Battling drug or alcohol addiction is usually not a solo endeavour, in fact, support is the number one factor towards successful sobriety. Rehab facilities can provide you with detailed and regimented support, plus you’ll also have the support of your peers who are going through the same battles as you. Don’t wait to hit rock bottom, reach out for help as early as possible.
This article will help you ask yourself some serious questions about whether are not rehab may be right necessary for you or someone you love. And for the purposes of brevity, in this article, the terms “drug”, “high” and “users” also include alcohol abuse as well as narcotics.
Should I Go to Rehab?
The side effects of being addicted to a substance can manifest itself in many ways besides the immediate effect of the drug itself. Chances are, sustaining a regular, healthy lifestyle and a drug addiction is not possible without some form of profound disruption. Most people will notice that their relationships and career life begin to deteriorate as their addiction gets worse. The psychological and physical effects tend to isolate people. They are so dependent on the drug that instead of quitting, they would rather hide in the shadows and use.
Here are some common signs and symptoms that you may be addicted to drugs or alcohol:
- Dependence – Regular and prolonged use of a substance establishes a different baseline reality for people. Suddenly being high begins to feel normal. In other words, when the substance is in their body, they are at ease. When being high becomes the benchmark for satisfaction, and self-identity is associated with being high, you have become dependent on the drug. Once you’ve passed this threshold, physical changes brought on by the drug can make being sober a serious challenge; people feel empty and soulless. Being sober becomes dreary and almost sickening.
- Cravings – A persistent and intense desire to feel the effects of the drug. Among other things, cravings are a result of “chasing the high”, which means that users are trying to replicate the feeling they had the first few times they tried the substance. Because of tolerance, the effects of a substance are usually never as potent as the first time.
- Tolerance – Most drugs disrupt the natural flow of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, but with persistent and prolonged use the brain becomes desensitized to the substance. This typically leads users to increase dosages or combine other drugs to meet their needs. Trying to beat tolerance is a very dangerous game — most overdoses are a result of someone attempting to maximize their high.
- Drug seeking behavior – Users will spend an unhealthy amount of time and resources trying to get their hands on a drug. Regardless of the situation, they will go out of their way to pursue a high.
- Withdrawal symptoms – Depending on the drug being abused, physical and mental withdrawal symptoms can be very debilitating. If someone stops using after an extended period of frequent use, several symptoms begin to manifest; feeling ill, weak, persistent sweating, fatigue, depression, anxiety etc. The reasons for stopping may be because they are actively trying to quit, or perhaps they can’t get their hands on the drug due to financial reasons. Either way, the feelings of withdrawal can be so consuming that the only thing they can focus on is getting high to relieve the symptoms. It’s easy to see why addiction can be a vicious cycle.
- Poor decision making – Drugs can cloud people’s judgement for a couple reasons — the effects of the drug itself can alter decision making, and addiction can lead people to sacrifice their morals. In the pursuit of a high, users may steal, lie, practice unsafe sexual activity and engage in criminal behavior. A decision you make while consumed by an addiction may very well cost you your life.
- Deteriorating relationships – When people become addicted to drugs it’s common that their family and friends will not approve. Therefore most users will isolate themselves and withdraw from their regular relationships in an attempt to avoid disapproval. Lying, stealing, cheating and other transgressive behavior also leads to broken relationships.
- Unhealthy social circles – Drug users typically surround themselves with other drug users to support their habits. Peer influence is huge contributor to the vicious cycle of addiction.
- Neglect – Career and family responsibilities often take a backseat when people are addicted. For example, users may neglect their kids, frequently miss work, or ignore contact from friends.
- Financial problems – A big way to tell if you’re suffering from addiction is by analyzing your budget. Addicts will spend inordinate amounts of money on obtaining the drug. Common financially related behaviors include selling things in order to afford drugs, draining bank accounts, and borrowing money.
- Legal troubles – Driving while under the influence is a dangerous practice, but many users will ignore this and still get behind the wheel. A big red flag is if you regularly drive while high, forget periods of time behind the wheel, have been charged with a DUI and are spending money on legal fees, or have gotten in a collision while high.
People Around You Have Noticed
A big indicator that you may have an addiction is that the people around you who know you well have noticed something different. A friend or loved one may have approached you regarding your drug use. A lot of people in this situation will ignore the concern of others, but in reality there is usually some merit behind their concern. Admitting you have an addiction can be tough to do because it means taking on a negative label, but it’s important not to ignore because your friends and family have your best interest at heart, especially when it comes to health-related matters.
Furthermore, it may be tempting to claim that “everything is okay” or you “have everything under control,” but that type of response is only delaying the inevitable. The sooner you can admit to the people around you that there’s a problem, the sooner you will have a solid support group to help you overcome addiction. Denying the problem is usually related to an underlying sense of shame, but when your loved ones approach you with concern, their goal is not to shame you, it’s to lend a hand to someone in need.
Medical Signs & Symptoms
Aside from the primary effects of drug use, there are also obvious physical wears that result from addiction. Your appearance may be changing, and as tough as it may be, comparing two pictures of yourself may help you determine if drugs have taken a toll on your body. Things to look out for:
- Drooping skin
- Dark circles under eyes
- Overall fatigued look
- Pale or discolored complexion
- Bloodshot eyes
- Hair loss
- Weight loss
- Sunken cheeks
- Damaged skin
We mentioned withdrawal symptoms earlier and how debilitating they can be. When the body is constantly intaking a system altering substance, it learns to function differently. Suddenly being high is the new baseline for operating. At a scientific level, proper neurotransmitter function is being suppressed, so when the drug is expunged from the body a huge release of adrenaline occurs causing uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. The body is confused so regular operations begin to fail. Here are some more specific symptoms to be aware of:
- Hot and cold flashes
- Blurred vision
A quick way to determine whether or not you need rehab is by having a medical assessment. Ask your doctor to look for specific drug-related symptoms. They will be able to tell you if you need rehab, purely based off of physical manifestations.
Types of Rehab
Many users don’t think they need treatment because they associate rehab with heavy drug use, and people who have hit rock bottom. The great thing about rehabilitation is there’s multiple program options for drug use of all levels. It’s actually more beneficial to enter a treatment program before you hit rock bottom and your drug use is highly severe — the chances of success are much higher.
Here are the different types of treatment programs commonly available:
Outpatient treatment – This form of treatment is conducted at a clinic or medical facility, the main feature is that you don’t stay overnight. Once you’ve completed your treatment for the day you can head home, so as to address daily responsibilities. It’s possible to schedule your treatment at a time that also allows you to continue to go to work. While each program varies in intensity, it’s typically considered a great option for people whose drug use is not extremely severe and completely out of control.
Inpatient treatment – The big difference here is that patients are required to live at a medical facility for the length of their treatment. It’s very successful because patients are able to cut ties and avoid triggers and social groups which may be enabling their drug abuse. In a way, your only option is sobriety. It’s an immersive experience in a world designed to combat addiction.
If you’re wondering what to expect in treatment, these are the common stages of both treatment programs:
- Detoxification – Expunging all traces of the drug from your system is the first step to recovery. Depending on the drug of choice and severity, this is the stage which may involve withdrawals, making it one of the most challenging. For that reason it’s recommended to have professional supervision and care during this time to provide a more comfortable and successful experience.
- Medication – If necessary, health care professionals will provide medicine to aid in your recovery. (i.e. Anti-anxiety medication)
- Group therapy – Being surrounded by a group of people who are facing the same struggles as you serves as a great supporter.
- Individual therapy – A dedicated therapist will help you work through the specific nuances of your addiction.
- Relapse prevention – The program will help you identify triggers and behaviors that lead to relapse. You may learn things about your addiction that you were unaware of until a third party pointed them out, this fresh perspective and education will give you the power of control.
- Post-treatment support – In order to maintain sobriety, ongoing maintenance is usually scheduled on a weekly or monthly basis.
Inpatient treatment also includes the following features:
- Behavioral therapy methods to fight triggers and cravings
- 24/7 medical supervision
- Therapeutic and spiritual activities such as yoga, meditation, art classes and other forms of exercise.
- Field trips
- Family therapy
- Family visits
Final Thoughts For Considering Rehab
If you’re considering rehab but aren’t sure that you need it, consider this: attending rehab isn’t going to make anything worse. The only result is going to be a positive one. Rehabilitation professionals are trained to identify addictions even in their earliest stages. Getting help before a small problem becomes a major one is your best course of action.
When coming to terms with your dependence, do not feel shame about admitting to the problem. Addiction should be treated like any other medical condition. The way doctors catch cancer before it spreads is the same way you should view addiction. If any of the signs and symptoms we’ve mentioned ring true for you, chances are you could benefit from some form of treatment. Learn more about Luminance, we’d be happy to help you get started.
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