So you’ve found yourself standing at a fork in the road. There are two choices ahead: Seek help for harmful substance abuse or continue down the path of destruction you’re currently on. If you’re seriously considering seeking professional help and joining a treatment program, you should be incredibly proud. Acknowledging that there’s a problem is the first step of the recovery process. Read on to discover our nine tips on seeking help for addiction.
1. Drug Addiction Is a Disease
The first and most important thing to understand about addiction is that it’s a chronic disease. Similar to heart disease or diabetes, there are genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that contribute to the formation of a substance use disorder. While some people think alcohol or drug abuse is a 24/7 party — including some people who are under its spell — it’s punctuated by pain, anxiety and emotional dysregulation.
At a treatment facility, you’ll receive counseling from health professionals who treat behavioral health issues. They help you identify your triggers, work through your motivations for drug use and devise coping mechanisms to prevent relapse.
Personality Is Genetic — But You Can Shape It
People with this condition tend to be sensation-seeking and struggle with regulating their own emotions, both of which are built into someone’s personality. As such, they rely on substances to help them relax in the case of depressants or give them a boost in case of stimulants.
While it might be harder for some people to regulate their state without external input such as drugs or alcohol, it’s 100% possible. Although you may have a predisposition to this disease, you can work on it at an addiction center. The therapists and support groups can help you shape your ways of thinking and living life so that you’re no longer dependent on substances.
2. You Are Not a Burden
Something that holds lots of people back from attending a treatment center for drug or alcohol addiction is a sense of being a burden. Trying to deal with it alone is impossible for most people, and trying and failing to quit without substance abuse treatment is likely to dent your self-esteem even further, driving you deeper into addiction.
In terms of being a burden, you’ll negatively impact many more people while your priority is drug or alcohol abuse.
3. Research Addiction Treatment
Use YouTube, search engines and government resources to find out as much as you can about the condition. Instead of finding one or two videos or articles and taking them as gospel, gather information from a broad variety of different sources. When you’ve completed the process, compile a list of questions to ask a physician or addiction treatment provider.
4. Speak to Experts
While friends and family members almost always mean well, they’re not usually experts on addiction or mental illness. If you’ve been getting a lot of information from the people around you, it’s likely you’ve heard a lot of conflicting advice.
We’d recommend you speak to your primary care physician or give us a call if you’d prefer to remain anonymous at this point. A health care specialist can answer any questions you might have about addiction and the treatment process. That way, you’re under no obligation to move forward, but it’s still a step towards taking better care of your well-being.
5. Understand the Seriousness of Substance Abuse
When you’re under the spell of addiction, it can be challenging to recall any insight into how serious a health problem it is. Drug and alcohol use cause serious damage to the brain and the rest of the body, which gets worse over time. It’s easy to fool yourself into thinking you’re invincible, but unfortunately, no one is.
6. Talk Openly With Loved Ones
Most people who have a problem with drugs or alcohol find their lives are rife with deceit and manipulation. Almost all addicted people lie about the amount of substances they’re using — both to others and to themselves. If you’re serious about getting better, make a concerted effort to be open with the people you love. You’ll get a much better reaction and more constructive responses if you’re honest.
7. Authenticity Is Essential
It’s similar to the point above, but we really can’t stress enough how important authenticity is in your recovery journey. If you’re not honest with yourself and others about the facts if your situation, it’ll be incredibly hard to get the right results. While you might feel like you’re sparing people’s feelings or giving them a more digestible version of the truth, you’re just making it harder and more complicated for you to build a support system that works for you.
8. Seek Help for Addiction to Address Mental Health
In some cases, individuals who struggle with addiction use alcohol and drugs to cover up underlying mental health issues. Depression, anxiety, bipolar and other disorders can cause intense emotional stress, which substances are incredibly effective at covering up. That said, there are much healthier, more effective ways of coping with emotions. You can learn how to harness these strategies and tools with the help of a team of professionals.
9. Move Away From Excuses
People who struggle with addiction might have had challenging experiences in their lives. Sometimes, these can form the basis of an excuse to abuse drugs and alcohol because the individual gets so much relief from their pain. If you’re in this position, it’s not because you’re a bad person, and your feelings are entirely valid; however, dealing with them by numbing them will ultimately make the situation worse over time.
If you are using substances to cover up difficult feelings, understand that it’s possible to work through them in a professional setting so that they no longer dictate your life.
Find Out More About Your Treatment Options
Hopefully our tips for getting help for addiction have helped ease your mind. Actually taking that first step is one of the hardest aspects of recovery, but once you start healing and working towards a brighter future, you’ll know you’ve made the right choice.