Do I Really Need Addiction Treatment?
The disease of addiction is growing in the US and in most places around the world. In 2021, more people aged 18 to 54 died from drug overdoses than anything else. The COVID pandemic has fueled the growth rate of addiction. Many find they cannot cope with the associated isolation, job loss, and the overall all anxiety created by what has been mass hysteria in a lot of areas across the country. More people are consuming alcohol and/or drugs to cope. Invariably, many will ask themselves, “Is this becoming a problem? Am I addicted?”
In terms of the disease of addiction, it is unique and that it requires that the person admit to themselves that they have it. Many addicts remain in denial of their disease. Due to the negative stigma that surrounds addiction, few people want to admit they are drug addicts or alcoholics.
There is no such stigma surrounding diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc., yet negative stigma in society remains for those suffering from addiction and from mental health diseases in general. That said, denial of one’s addiction has serious negative consequences not only for the person in denial but also for all those associated with them, i.e., family, friends, employers, coworkers, etc.
How can a person know if they are addicted and if they need treatment? There are both subtle and serious signs. A very basic question a person can ask themselves is this, “When I consume alcohol or drugs to, I have a hard time regulating the amount I consume, and do I find it hard to stop once I have started?” If they answer to this question is yes, the person quite likely has a problem.
Other questions a person can ask themselves are as follows:
- Do I consume drugs and/or alcohol on a daily basis?
- Do I awake up shaking and craving alcohol and or drugs?
- Do I black out? If so, how often?
- Do I drink and drive?
- Am I missing work as a result of my consumption?
- Am I neglecting my family as a result of my consumption?
- Do I feel I cannot cope with the stresses of life without alcohol or drugs?
- Am I experiencing legal repercussions as a result of my consumption?
Of course, there are many more questions a person can ask themselves. That said, if a person answers affirmatively to any of these questions, the chances are they have developed the disease of addiction or about to cross the line into addiction. And for most of these people, they will require professional treatment. Addiction is too powerful for most people to fight on their own.
Why the need for treatment? A person who is developing addiction or in active addiction has an incredibly difficult time regulating their use of substances, let a lone stopping. Once the mental fixation to use sets in it quickly becomes entrenched in their minds. It becomes the primary neuropathway that fires in their brains. If physical addiction is present, which it commonly is, this further compounds the intensity of the compulsion to use.
In order to over-ride the compulsion to use, clinical treatment in a professional setting, free of alcohol and drugs is necessary if they hope to stop. Most of these people have progressed to a stage where detoxification is required. After detoxification, the clinical treatment can begin. In simple terms, clinical treatment (another recovery work in general, be that 12 step or another approach) is designed to help the person “stay stopped”. Long story short, along with a lot of effort from the person going through the process, this work is designed to “reprogram” the mind replacing the neuropathways of addictive thinking with those of healthy thinking and healthy thoughts.