Sunday, August 12, 2012

Q & A: Do I Need Rehab?

Dear PTR,

How do I Know When I Need Drug Treatment?


Dear Anonymous,

Every addict, family member or loved one of an addict has a different threshold for when they realize they need help and take action.  Although there is no exact set of circumstances that calls for admission into drug treatment, there are a few tell tale signs.

First, the substance abuse starts to limit and impact your quality of life, such as taking a hit to your professional or personal life. If whatever you view as quality in life – be it a job, girlfriend, husband or city starts to diminish as a direct result of substance use, it may be a call for treatment. This can take many forms, for example maybe you are late to work because of physical exhaustion and the tardiness or absences have caused a poor performance review or a boss to confront you. Maybe your significant other wants to spend less and less time with you because of the way you act on substances so your quality time has been significantly reduced because you continue to use or drink. Maybe you haven’t been able to experience the city you live in and love because you have been cooped up inside, your gym buddies haven't seen you, nor have those at the local restaurant you used to frequent.

Second, you need more and more of the substance to feel the same thrill or high you did when you first started. It may seem you are chasing the initial buzz you got a year or 5 years ago but that buzz is never quite as good. In order to feel good, you need more wine or more pills but it never seems enough to reach that “sweet-spot” you seek. This has taken a toll on your bank account and you dread checking your online bank statement the morning after “partying.” The substance may start to take precedence over common necessities like food or laundry detergent. In fact, you may rarely go out on errands for household items without picking up your substance of choice as well.

Third, you have told yourself and maybe even loved ones that you won’t use anymore. You have taken a new route home to avoid the liquor store or house where you buy your substance. You may have even gone a few weeks, month or even a year without using but you break your promise to yourself. It feels terrible to break your own promise, almost as if you have broken your own heart – and it’s laden with guilt and shame. Things get in your mind that allow you to break the promise, such as justifying drinking or using if it is “just a few” or “only this once.” But the minute you start, you keep upping your limit. You have done this countless times and have run out excuses for why you failed yourself each time. There are no more reasons really, you just do it and feel as though stopping is impossible.

Stopping is possible. If any of these examples have resonated with you, reputable drug treatment programs can help. They have comprehensive assessments that can determine your plan of care. They can start to bring your quality of life back, they can help you to stop needing “more” and they can help you from breaking your own heart.



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