Drug and alcohol addiction affects the lives of millions of people. Substance use disorders are chronic and progressive illnesses. Once you are addicted to drugs or alcohol it can be nearly impossible to quit on your own. It can be difficult in the early stages of addiction to know if you are ready for treatment. There are some things to look for when deciding if you are ready to accept help for your addiction.
Is Your Work or School Performance Suffering?
When you have an addiction to drugs or alcohol it becomes your first priority. You may start to miss days of work or school either because you do not feel well or because you are too intoxicated to attend. You may go to work under the influence and neglect your duties. Your supervisor or teachers may have reprimanded you for your performance. They may have suspicions that you are under the influence at work and your job may be at risk. These are all signs that you need treatment for your addiction.
Are your Relationships Affected?
Those close to you may have asked you to quit drinking or using drugs. When you are under the influence, you may act out in ways you normally would not. Addicts tend to become mean and aggressive when they are under the influence. Your spouse or significant other may have threatened to kick you out or divorce you if you do not quit. Your children may have become afraid of you. Your friends may have stopped calling or inviting you to social events because they do not want to be around you when you are intoxicated. Close relationships are often one of the first things to be negatively impacted by addiction.
Are you Having Legal Issues Due to Drug or Alcohol Use?
Legal problems can occur during addiction. Getting arrested for driving under the influence and continuing to use drugs or alcohol is a red flag that you need help to quit. If you have been arrested for anything stemming from your use and continue to drink, it is time for addiction treatment.
Have you Tried to Quit on Your Own but Failed?
Many people try to quit their drug or alcohol use but have found that the withdrawal symptoms are overpowering. Chronic drug and alcohol use leads to a build-up of tolerance. This means that you need more and more of a substance in order to achieve the same effects. Over time, the brain stops functioning correctly in the absence of these substances. Your body becomes physically dependent on using drugs and alcohol in order to function normally. When you try to quit, withdrawal symptoms occur. These symptoms range from uncomfortable to painful and sometimes life-threatening. When the body becomes physically dependent on using drugs you will need professional help to guide you through the detox process safely.
Is your Health Being Affected?
Depending on the drugs or alcohol you consume, your health may be affected by your usage. Addicts tend to neglect their hygiene, ignore warning signs for infections, and ignore their nutritional needs. Certain substances, like alcohol, can affect your liver causing all kinds of health problems. Opiate addicts who use heroin may experience infections at injection sites. Methamphetamine users may have lost a tremendous amount of weight from not eating and have dental health issues. When your health is affected by your use, addiction treatment can help you.
Are Your Finances Affected?
When tolerance to a drug or alcohol builds up, you will need more and more of the substance in order to achieve the same effect and in some cases just to feel normal. This excessive use can cause major financial difficulties. You may be spending all your money on your addiction and neglecting bills and other responsibilities. If you are married, your spouse and children are being affected by the financial difficulties stemming from your drug use. If your job is at risk or if you have already lost your job, this can compound the financial problems. Addiction treatment can help you get back on track so that you are no longer spending money to feed your addiction.
Are Emotional Problems Getting Worse?
Mental health issues like depression and anxiety often accompany addiction issues. In fact, an underlying mental health problem may have been why you began using in the first place. You may have started using drugs or alcohol to alleviate symptoms of depression or anxiety. Although it may have seemed to help at first, addiction only masks the symptoms for a short time. Your mental health may be suffering because of your addiction. Addiction treatment will include help for any other mental health disorders that may be present.
Hitting rock bottom is a phrase many people use when talking about addiction treatment. There is a myth that you need to hit rock bottom in order to get the help you need. While many addicts do lose everything before they seek treatment, it is not a necessity. In fact, it is better to seek treatment before having everything taken from you by the disease of addiction.
Realizing you need help can be a gradual process or a lightbulb moment. You may one day wake up and understand that enough is enough. Addiction is not an easy life to live and it will get harder day by day.
When life has lost all its joy and the only thing you are living for is feeding your addiction, treatment can help you. You do not have to dread each day when you wake up in the morning.
Getting treatment for your addiction can help you recover and live a healthy life, clean and sober.