When you’re deeply in the grip of substance abuse, it can be difficult to see how bad things have become.
If you aren’t sure you’re ready for drug and alcohol treatment or rehab, or if you’re concerned that a family member may be in denial about their addiction, there are several red flags that can help you decide if it’s time to seek help.
- You may manage to successfully hold down a job or maintain an academic program, but that doesn’t mean serious problems don’t exist. Don’t deceive yourself. Even extremely high-functioning addicts often need treatment.
- Similarly, if you’ve lost a job or been kicked out of school for being late too often or simply not showing up, it’s a sure sign that your addiction is impacting your life in a negative way.
- It may be time for addiction treatment if you find that you make poor decisions as a result of substance abuse. For example, if you’ve ever driven while you’re drunk or high (even if you haven’t yet received a DUI), you’ve presented a serious danger to yourself and everybody else on the road.
- Pay close attention if your doctor has warned you that your health is suffering as a result of substance abuse, as drugs and alcohol are hard on the body, including the brain, liver, heart and respiratory system. If you inject drugs, you are at higher risk of Hepatitis C or HIV.
- Tolerance, in which you need more and more drugs or alcohol to attain the same good feeling, is a clear sign that you have a problem with substance abuse. Tolerance often leads to addiction.
- If you have withdrawn from social activities, or if you don’t spend time with family or old friends, you may be in the midst of addiction.
- If you are addicted, you may be preoccupied with acquiring or using drugs or alcohol.
- If your close friends and family are asking you to stop using or get help, of if you find yourself getting defensive or angry at their concern, it may be time to seek treatment. They probably have good reason for concern.
- Addicts often try unsuccessfully to quit and may experience withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, headaches, jitters, cramps, irritability, mood swings or paranoia within a few hours. This is a huge warning sign that you need treatment.
- You need treatment if your substance abuse has resulted in a jail sentence, or other legal problems such as a DUI, a possession charge, public drunkenness or stealing to support your addiction.
- Seek help immediately if you’ve ever considered harming yourself or others when you’re under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Severe depression and other disorders can be treated along with addiction.
- If you’ve experienced foggy memory or blackouts, or if you can’t remember what you did while under the influence (but your friends tell you later), it’s time to consider rehab.
- It’s a good time to consider addiction treatment if you lie about your use of drugs or alcohol, if you hide evidence of your drug or alcohol use, if you drink or use in secret, or if you find that you can’t start the day without a drink.
Treatment for Addiction or Substance Abuse: Don’t Wait
If you decide it’s time for addiction treatment, don’t wait because the problem will only become worse over the time. The sooner you get started on the road to recovery, the sooner you can return to a life free of the grip of addiction.
Drug and alcohol treatment will help you manage your substance abuse, and will also address depression, anxiety or other problems that may be intertwined with your addiction.