Signs That You May Need Rehab

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Participation in a structured drug or alcohol rehab program is a necessary first step for many individuals seeking to find recovery from substance abuse. Some people try to quit on their own without the professional care that rehab provides, preferring to try to go it alone. However, it is extremely difficult for many people to break free from addiction without help, especially once substance use has progressed to a certain level.

There are some telltale signs that drug use has gotten out of your control and that you need help. You may want to begin looking for a drug treatment program if you recognize the following signs in yourself.

Drug Use Has Become Your Main Priority

One sign of addiction is when substance use becomes your main focus. If the substance consumes your thoughts throughout the day and you spend increasing amounts of time, effort, and resources to acquire and use the drug, you may be addicted.1

As addiction progresses, your interests, activities, and involvements eventually begin taking a backseat to drug use. You may begin neglecting your home, work, and/or school responsibilities. If you have noticed that you no longer spend time with the people you love or choose to participate in the activities you previously enjoyed, you may have a problem and can likely benefit from entering an addiction treatment program.


Your Health is Suffering

Substance misuse is associated with a myriad of ill health effects.2 The drug being misused will dictate the specific effects. For example, alcohol addiction is linked to long-term liver problems and various types of cancer.

Drug and alcohol addiction takes a toll on the body and the mind, causing a range of physical and mental health symptoms:

  • Physical health. The physical health consequences of drug abuse can range from mild to fatal, depending on several factors such as how long the person has taken the drug, the amount taken, and the type of drug.
  • Mental health. Drug addiction causes changes in the way the brain functions and the way a person behaves. This could manifest as increased anxiety and agitation, depression, and even symptoms of psychosis.

People abuse substances for a number of reasons. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that self-medication of a mental illness is a primary contributor to the initiation and continuation of substance abuse.2 Most drugs alter the mind and are commonly used as a coping mechanism for people to modify the way they think, behave, or feel. Use of substances can trigger or worsen mental health symptoms, encouraging continued use to depress symptoms that arise.

Male patient next to hospital window

Treating a co-occurring condition is more complex than treating a substance use disorder alone because the underlying mental health condition will need to be addressed along with the substance use disorder. The chances of relapse are increased significantly when treatment doesn’t address underlying mental health issues. Dual diagnosis treatment centers provide specialized care that help make sure you get the help you need so you can maintain sobriety over the long term.

Drug and alcohol addiction is characterized by the compulsive misuse of a substance, even though it brings about significant negative consequences.1 If you or others in your life notice unwanted changes in the way you think, feel, or behave, rehab may be a highly valuable step. If your physical or mental symptoms are severe, you may want to consider seeking professional medical or psychological help. 

One major benefit of entering a structured rehab program is that you will receive physical and mental health monitoring and care as you move through the process of your recovery. In this way, you can focus on getting and staying sober knowing you will be safe in the hands of qualified professionals.


You Take Excessive Amounts to Feel the Effects

When you first take a drug, you are not accustomed to the effects, so you feel them intensely. Over time, though, the body begins to adapt in a process called tolerance. As tolerance grows, the body needs the drug more frequently or in higher amounts to produce the same outcomes.3

As you take more of a substance to increase the desired effects or the high, you put yourself at an increased risk of overdose. For example, heroin is a depressant so taking large amounts can dangerously slow your breathing and pulse rate. When this happens, coma and death can easily result.4

If you are using substances in high quantities or with increased frequency, you are in danger of overdose and would likely benefit from an addiction treatment program.


You Have a Strong Desire to Use the Substance

Rehab can treat individuals who are experiencing cravings (strong urges or desires) to use drugs or alcohol. The body acclimates to repeated exposure to a substance through tolerance and physical dependence. When you discontinue use, withdrawal symptoms begin which lead to strong urges or cravings.

The symptoms experienced during withdrawal will vary from mild to severe based on the type of drug or alcohol being used and the amount and length of use. The professional detoxification services offered through rehab programs are a safe way to manage your withdrawal symptoms.


Your Substance Use is Causing Problems in Your Life

If you are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, you could be experiencing difficulties in certain areas of your life. Using substances in risky situations, such as sharing needles to inject drugs or driving while under the influence, are a few examples.

Substance misuse can be the cause of serious accidents and injuries, since your coordination, vision, and judgment are affected while under the influence. Consuming too much alcohol can lead to gaps in your memory, or alcohol-related blackouts.6

Drug or alcohol addiction can increase interpersonal conflict, leading to issues at home, school, and/or work. Arguments could be more prevalent, but self-isolation or avoidance of certain friends or family members may also occur.


You Have Tried (Unsuccessfully) to Quit

Addiction is a chronic condition that is marked by periods of relapse and recovery. Whenever drug and/or alcohol use is restarted or ongoing, a recommitment to abstinence in new ways will be needed to return to recovery.

Each day, people try different treatment methods to end their substance use, with self-help groups and outpatient treatment being the most heavily utilized, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.5 It is important to enter into an appropriate treatment program, one that is based on your individual needs and history with addiction and recovery.

If you have tried to stop using drugs or alcohol and have been unsuccessful, this is a sign that you may need rehab or an increased level of rehabilitation services. Rehab can provide the safety, structure, medical attention, therapy, and stability needed to manage and treat addiction.


Find Help for Addiction

There are numerous benefits to seeking help for drug addiction in an inpatient drug rehab program. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, drug abuse rehab programs can provide various services that include:7

  • Screening and diagnosis of substance use disorders.
  • Screening and diagnosis of co-occurring mental health disorders (dual diagnosis).
  • Drug and alcohol testing.
  • Medication management.
  • Substance use and mental health education.
  • Substance use and mental health treatment.
  • Transitional services that include discharge planning and aftercare services.
  • Case management to provide connection to available resources.

Different rehab centers will provide multiple levels and types of care. For example, some addiction treatment centers will specifically focus on those with dual diagnosis conditions.

Upset man holding head facing down

Different programs will also have different costs associated. Outpatient treatment tends to cost less than inpatient treatment, though this can vary by program specifics like duration, location, and luxuries offered. Inpatient treatment provides a higher level of medical and psychological care, including around-the-clock support, sober housing for the duration of treatment, and all your meals throughout the program.

It can be overwhelming when you need help to find a program on your own that will provide the services and amenities that you want and need during your stay and who will help you develop an aftercare plan for your transition out of treatment. We can help you find a treatment center today. Simply call 1-888-744-0069  to speak with someone confidentially who can help you begin a life free from drug use.


Additional Resources on Health Insurance Providers and Coverage Levels

Visit the links below to find out more about your health insurance coverage levels, how to get your insurance company to pay for drug and alcohol rehab, and how to pay if you don’t have insurance.


Additional Resources on Drug and Alcohol Rehab

Whether you’re looking for a specific type of rehab treatment, substance related information, or additional guides, here are a few recommended resources.


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Jennifer Fifield is a Senior Web Content Editor at American Addiction Centers and an addiction content expert for drugabuse.com and recovery.org. She holds a bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism and a master’s degree in Health Promotion Management. Jennifer has served as a content editor on numerous articles, web pages, and blog posts within the medical, dental, and vision industry. She has 15+ years of experience in higher education including writing/editing, administrative, and teaching positions within the health/wellness, accreditation, and health communications areas.
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