Is It Time for You to Seek Treatment?

Is It Time for You to Seek Treatment?

Some people can use drugs or alcohol and never become addicted, while others begin developing an addiction from the moment they first experiment with a substance. If your substance use has escalated or has begun causing problems in your life, you may be wondering whether you need to seek treatment for a possible addiction. The first step to determining whether you need to seek treatment is to understand what addiction is.

The Stages of Addiction

What was formerly simply labeled as “addiction” is now understood as a chronic and progressive disease of the brain with multiple stages that include tolerance, dependence and addiction.

Tolerance: The pleasurable effects of a substance typically decrease over time as the brain adjusts neurotransmitter levels, and increasing quantities are needed to achieve the same effects.

Dependence: When a dependence is established, physical or mental withdrawal symptoms will develop if substance use is abruptly stopped or decreased.1

Addiction: Addiction is the compulsive and continued use of a substance and an inability to stop, despite negative consequences such as absences from work or school, driving while impaired, legal problems and relationship difficulties with loved ones.2

The medical diagnosis for an addiction is “substance use disorder,” which is when substance use has started to cause constant life problems for the individual that are having progressively more impact.3 A substance use disorder is classified as mild, moderate or severe based on the results of an evaluation.

Mental Health Disorders

Time for You to Seek Treatment

Another consideration for determining whether to pursue addiction treatment is if you’re experiencing any mental health conditions. It’s common for people who use or abuse drugs or alcohol to have a co-occurring mental illness. Some frequent combinations are alcohol use and depression and meth use and bipolar disorder. Alcohol and drug abuse can increase the severity of any underlying mental disorders.

Addiction is common in people with mental illness:4

  • About 50 percent of people with serious mental illness are also suffering from a substance use disorder.
  • 37 percent of those with an alcohol use disorder and 53 percent of those with a drug use disorder also have at least one serious mental illness.
  • Approximately 29 percent of people who are diagnosed with a mental disorder abuse either alcohol or drugs.

When someone has a substance use disorder along with a mental health condition, it’s known clinically as a dual diagnosis. It’s often difficult for professionals to determine if the substance use triggered the mental illness or if the mental illness led the person to use substances in an attempt to alleviate unpleasant symptoms.

Regardless of which came first, effective addiction treatment will provide an opportunity to learn the skills to live a life of sobriety as well as treat any psychological disorders.

Find Support

If you believe you have a possible substance use disorder, it’s best to talk to a professional. A professional addiction counselor can give you an assessment and discuss what treatment options might be beneficial for you.

If you decide to seek treatment, your assessment will help you choose a program that’s a good match for your needs. If you are diagnosed with a substance use disorder as well as a mental health issue, choose a rehab that has a dual diagnosis program to treat both disorders in context of each other. Treatment can successfully put you on the road to sobriety and a better, healthier life.

Addiction Treatment Can Transform Your Life–Beyond Ending Your Addiction

Learn more about addiction treatment and help yourself decide if it is time to seek treatment. Click on the image below to download our free eBook: 9 Ways Therapy Transforms Your Life (Beyond Ending Your Addiction).


Young Parents: How to Tell Your Child You’re Going to Rehab

Young Parents: How to Tell Your Child You’re Going to Rehab

Without question, being a parent is hard. It’s even harder if you have young children. Young parents may also be caught balancing parenting with work and school. It often gets complicated, but even more so if that young parent is also battling addiction.

If you are a young parent who has made the decision to enter addiction treatment, know that it’s an important step toward a healthy, rewarding life without drugs or alcohol. But there is something you’ll need to do before you begin: tell your child you’re going to rehab.

While you might be tempted to give your child another reason for your upcoming absence, it’s better to tell the truth, even if they’re young. The discussion could be challenging, but with the following tips in mind, it should be a productive, positive conversation.

1. Use Age-Appropriate Language

To tell your child you’re going to rehab, meet your child at their level of comprehension. This means keeping the conversation age-appropriate. The words you’ll use and the level of detail you’ll provide depends on your child’s age and maturity levels. Break down the details as simply and directly as possible.

2. Be Honest

Explain to your child where you are going and how long you will be away.1 Tell them you need treatment to get well. Be encouraging by saying that because you love them you want to get well, so you can be a better parent for them.

3. Explain Rehab

Explain rehab as the medical treatment that it is. Talk about the treatment center as you show your child pictures or brochures. Discuss the details of the program such as the schedule and the therapies you’ll be involved with. The more familiar your child is with where you’re going, the more comfortable they’ll feel about you going away there.

4. Discuss the Communication Rules

Tell Your Child You're Going to Rehab

Talk to your child about the rules of the treatment center. Explain that you won’t be able to phone or see them as often as you would like, especially in the beginning. Find out when the first family visiting day is scheduled, and when you’ll be able to phone them. Put the dates on a calendar for them before you go.

5. Take Ownership

Your child may not have said much about your addiction, but they may know more than you think. They also may have been impacted more than you realize. Apologize for the pain you may have caused for your child. Your apology will validate their feelings.

6. Ask for Feedback

Engage your child in a two-way conversation by asking open-ended questions about how they’ve been feeling. Letting your child give you feedback will help them feel like they’ve been heard.

7. Clarify that It’s Not Their Fault

Many children feel they have some responsibility for their parents using drugs or alcohol.2 Tell your child that they are not in any way to blame for your substance use. Explain that addiction is a medical condition that they didn’t cause, nor can they stop it.

8. End on a Positive Note

Finish with a message of hope and reassurance. Explain that you’re going to rehab to heal and will return as a healthier, better parent. Let your child know how much you love them and how you’ll miss them while you’re gone. Make it clear that you will be coming straight home to them after rehab.

how to prepare for addiction treatment