Addiction plagued some 22.7 million people in America during 2013, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports. How do people know if they are struggling with substance abuse or addiction?
Typically, there are obvious signs of dependency present. A few of those red flags include:
- Tolerance has developed and now more of a substance is needed to reach the same high
- Withdrawal from social activities that were once enjoyed
- Preoccupation with maintaining a supply and using the drug or drinking
- Attempts to scale back use have failed
- Perpetual substance abuse despite being aware of the negative impact it has on life
- Continually using so withdrawal doesn’t ensue
When to Get Treatment
When an individual is showing at least some of these symptoms, it’s a sign that it’s time to seek treatment. Many people who are stuck in the trenches of substance abuse may start to slack off on their responsibilities at home and work. Some even lose their jobs due to being late to work too often. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids states 17 percent of the unemployed population is affected by substance abuse and addiction.
Child neglect is also a particularly big problem among people who are addicted to illicit drugs or drinking. Around 70 percent of child maltreatment cases involve substance abuse, the American Humane Association reports.
Other warning signs that a problem is on the horizon include legal ramifications, interpersonal relationship trouble, and financial issues. Substance abuse and incarceration often go hand in hand. On a given day in late 2014, half of all federal prisoners were incarcerated due to drug crimes, DrugWarFacts notes. In 2011, 1,215,077 people were arrested for driving under the influence, per the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Many people who spend time behind bars for their drug- and alcohol-related crimes are repeat offenders. Around a third of drunk drivers who are arrested or convicted have been before, the National Department of Transportation reports. How many trips to jail are required before it’s time to acknowledge the real problem and treat it? Fortunately, the legal system often intervenes and mandates treatment. A lot of people who seek treatment each year are ordered to by a judicial authority during sentencing. SAMHSA notes there are 4,140 facilities nationwide that accept this type of clientele.
Many marriages and intimate relationships have met their demise due to substance abuse. Parents have lost their children to addiction. People routinely have to cut ties with loved ones who won’t stop using drugs and drinking to excess. Addiction destroys families. It can bring forth financial ruin, as well. Rehab can prevent a lot of this damage from ever occurring.
What Is Rehab?
Rehab is a place for those suffering from addiction to start over. Treatment allows individuals to explore the reasons they have ended up where they are and the chance to get back on track in their lives. It isn’t just detox with a side of therapy. Rehabilitation is the process of restructuring life so individuals can move forward without falling prey to relapse.
How Does It Help?
As soon as the detox process starts, tolerance levels begin to lower. This is a good thing, but it makes it even more vital that individuals complete treatment. After just a few days, tolerance is so much lower that relapse could be life-threatening if a person tries to use a typical prior dose of the drug.
Addiction doesn’t just stem from habitual substance abuse. It’s not merely a physical problem. There are psychological components at work that need just as much unraveling and remediation as the physical factors do.
As a result, detox does not constitute addiction treatment; it must be used in conjunction with comprehensive therapy.
One of the biggest additions to substance abuse rehabilitation in recent years has been the treatment of mental illness. Severe mental health disorders affected around 10 million adult Americans in 2013, the National Institute on Mental Health states, and around half of these people are affected by drug or alcohol abuse, per HelpGuide. These illnesses, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, can make for some of the most complex comorbid treatment cases. As with all co-occurring disorders, treatment that addresses both issues is recommended. If only one issue is addressed – the substance abuse issue or the mental illness – it is likely that relapse of both conditions will occur post treatment. In 2012, just 7.9 percent of people who battled addiction and mental illness sought treatment for both issues, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
If a person realizes that it’s time for rehab, there are plenty of options available nationwide. With medical detox, comprehensive therapy, and a thorough plan for aftercare, individuals affected by substance abuse, mental health, or both can reach and maintain recovery.
People who struggle with drug or alcohol addiction will have a hard time seeing how bad their problem has become. Most substance abuse begins as an experiment, a social event, a form of self-medication, or a legitimate prescription. These controlled, low-dose situations can escalate over time until the person is consuming large quantities of drugs or alcohol without realizing that they have become dependent on the substance. Signs of addiction include:
A person struggling with addiction does not need to meet these qualifications to have a problem with drug or alcohol consumption. In fact, it is important to know these signs, so the person can get help before substance abuse causes financial or housing problems, or destroys relationships. Loved ones should know these signs as well, so they can help those who may be suffering from addiction.
Below are some of the most common questions to help loved ones know when it is time to seek help for a person who is suffering from alcohol or drug addiction.
Should you hold an intervention?
Interventions have become more known due to reality television, but they are often not as they appear in media representations. An intervention should be structured, emotionally calm, and focused. The point of an intervention is to educate the person about the effects of their substance abuse, show them that there are resources to help them overcome the problem, and illustrate that their friends, family, and community will stand with them to offer support. Family members who are concerned about a loved one struggling with addiction may choose to plan and implement an intervention themselves, or they may choose to hire a professional interventionist.
Interventionists are professionals who specialize in planning and staging interventions. An interventionist will gather friends and family together to gain an understanding of the addiction and everyone who is affected by it. Then, they will create an overall plan and help the family gather resources regarding rehabilitation programs and other services. They will also guide the family through rehearsals of the intervention, helping each team member to craft what they will say to the person in need. During the actual intervention, a professional interventionist will help to keep the event on track, and oftentimes, use of a professional results in a greater likelihood that the person will agree to seek help.
A DIY intervention is certainly less expensive since it doesn’t involve hiring a professional, but it may suffer from a lack of organization. Family members may become overly emotional during the event and lose sight of the overall purpose. It is, of course, possible to have a successful DIY intervention, as long as the planning process is detailed and team members stick to the plan.
How can family members assist in a loved one’s recovery?
There are various ways that family members can assist in a loved one’s recovery, such as:
What should I look for in a treatment program for a loved one?
If you are looking into treatment programs for a loved one, keep the following things in mind:
Some nonprofit organizations are offering accreditations to rehabilitation programs. The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) is one of the largest. The organization lists standards for membership, so people researching rehabilitation programs know that a program listed by CARF meets their certification standards.