How Do I Know It's Time to Begin Treatment?

How Do I Know It’s Time to Begin Treatment?

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

23.5 million American adults are in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. However, only about 11% of those in recovery ever seek out specialized drug addiction treatment. Many people with substance use disorders (SUDs) do not receive the help they need to recover, whether out of shame, fear, or not feeling ready. Fortunately, recovery is possible. Entering a treatment program is the first step toward recovery. How do you know when it’s time to begin treatment?

Signs It’s Time to Enter Addiction Treatment

Treatment is the best way to facilitate recovery if you or someone you love is living with drug or alcohol addiction. However, those living with addiction may be good at hiding the signs of their addiction. In addition, you may think your addiction is under control or that it’s not bad enough to need treatment.

There is never a “wrong time” to start treatment; you don’t need to meet specific criteria to enter rehab. However, if you’re debating whether or not you need treatment, you most likely do.

Here are some signs it’s time for you or your loved one to enter a residential treatment program.

Your Mental and Physical Health Have Started to Decline

Over time, substances such as drugs and alcohol can harm your health. While you may not initially notice a problem, health issues may signify that it’s time to start treatment. Your body’s job is to protect you, and changes can signal that your substance use has turned into substance abuse.

Some mental and physical symptoms of SUDs include:

  • Changes in behavior or personality
  • Increased depression, anxiety, and paranoia
  • Unexplained mood swings
  • Sudden and unexplained weight fluctuations
  • Impaired coordination
  • Disheveled or disorderly appearance

You Start to Develop a Tolerance or Experience Withdrawal

The first time a person uses drugs or alcohol, it only takes a little to experience the effects. However, as time passes and people use substances more frequently, they need more to experience the same impact. This increased tolerance is a sign it’s time to enter treatment.

Similarly, experiencing withdrawal is another sign. Withdrawal and tolerance go hand in hand. Both are indicators that you have moved from substance abuse to substance dependence. When you become dependent on substances, you may feel like you need them to feel like yourself. In addition, you may also start to crave drugs or alcohol.

Without the substances in your system, you may start to experience withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • Sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

Withdrawal can be dangerous. Seeking help from a certified treatment facility or detox center can help keep you safe when you’re ready to quit.

Substance Abuse Has Become Your Primary Focus

Drugs and alcohol are highly addictive substances that can quickly become your focus. One of the first signs of addiction is a preoccupation with getting and using drugs or alcohol. Most people who develop SUDs start by using drugs recreationally. However, occasional use may quickly devolve into abuse.

Some signs you’ve started to abuse substances include:

  • Feeling like you need drugs or alcohol to function
  • Losing interest in activities or hobbies you used to be proud of
  • Prioritizing drugs or alcohol over everything or everyone else

When substance abuse takes control of your life, you may notice that other areas of your life start to suffer. For example, you may have difficulty maintaining relationships. In addition, substance abuse can make you irritable, which may cause increased arguments with your family, friends, and loved ones.

Additionally, because substances have become your primary focus, you may miss family, work, or school obligations. Missed appointments, recitals, or meetings can strain your relationship with your family and negatively impact your job performance.

Substance abuse can also cause financial issues, especially if you’re not paying bills to buy drugs or alcohol. When substances become a priority in your life, you may struggle to make ends meet. Your relationships and job may also be at risk, and it may seem like your life is spiraling out of control. Addiction treatment or detox may help stop the cycle and provide hope.

Be Honest With Yourself

Substance abuse and addiction are life-threatening diseases that can quickly spiral out of control. You don’t need to have a severe addiction to seek treatment. Trying to rate your level of substance abuse is a sign you may be ready to enter a drug and alcohol treatment program. When deciding whether you’re ready to become sober, the vital thing is being honest with yourself. Admitting you have a problem is the first step on your path to recovery.

Beginning a treatment program takes a lot of courage. Whether you’ve been trying to get sober for years on your own or are just starting, First Steps Recovery in Clovis, California, is here to support you. We take a holistic approach to treatment and provide individualized care to promote lasting recovery. Our holistic approach means we don’t just treat substance abuse; we address the underlying emotional and mental health issues common in those who use substances. At First Steps Recovery, our highly-trained staff believes in community-based recovery to provide hope, sustainable results, and alternate therapies that leave you feeling in control of your recovery. Are you ready to enter treatment and change your life? Our staff is standing by, ready to help provide that spark of hope. Contact First Steps Recovery at (844) 489-0836 to learn more about our inpatient, outpatient, and online treatment programs.

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