Is My Substance Addiction Serious Enough to Need Treatment?

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Calendar icon Last Updated: 09/16/2021
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If you are already addicted to alcohol, a type of illicit or prescription drug, or another substance that can cause drug-seeking behavior, you are in need of treatment. The nature of addiction dictates that an individual will require help in order to stop abusing the substance of their addiction, and the longer you put off seeking help, the more intense your addiction becomes. Still, it is important to ask yourself about the current severity of your condition in order to seek the most effective treatment.

How Do I Know I Have an Addiction?

There are several signs that point to the existence of substance addiction in an individual who has been abusing a drug for a certain period of time. These include:

  • Continuous and uncontrollable actions in the name of finding and obtaining the drug of one’s choice and getting high
  • Continued use “despite harmful consequences” (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
  • Secretive behavior and problematic actions (lying, stealing, etc.)
  • An inability to stop or cut back on drug use
  • Changes in the brain that are often long-lasting

If you notice you have begun to engage in these actions or that the way you think about everything, especially the substance you abuse, has begun to change, it is likely you’re already addicted. This serious disorder is also considered by many to be a lifelong disease that cannot be cured but instead must be managed over time.

Why Do I Need Treatment if I’m Addicted?

If you are already addicted to a substance, you will not be able to stop abusing it without treatment. Because of the nature of this disorder, those who experience it are unable to stop their substance abuse on their own, even when they truly want to. Treatment, support, and time are the only tools that will allow them to do so.

According to the NIDA, “For many, treatment is a long-term process that involves multiple interventions and regular monitoring.” A change does not usually happen overnight, and a person who has a successful stint in treatment will often require further help down the road, especially if they have been abusing a dangerous substance or substances for a long time. But the treatment options that exist now allow individuals to make the changes in their lives that are necessary to end drug abuse and combat addiction.

  • Medication</>: This option reduces withdrawal symptoms and helps to restore normal brain functions.
  • Therapy: This option teaches patients new ways to cope with their symptoms, as well as with the other issues in their lives, and “modifies their attitudes and behaviors related to drug abuse.”

Other options also exist to treat addiction, but these two are the most common and the most heavily researched for their effectiveness. The program of drug addiction treatment not only helps patients stop abusing substances but it also helps them stay drug-free while allowing them to become more productive in their everyday lives.

Without this program, a person who is addicted to a substance will often struggle to stay sober and will have much more trouble achieving a beneficial state of being in all aspects of their life.