Last updated: 04/2/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 6 minutes
Successful recovery from addiction takes time and planning. It is much easier to build the life you desire if you are thorough as you create your plan for recovery. Therefore, it can help immensely to have all your questions about recovery, rehab, and treatment answered before you even begin.
How Do I Know It’s Time to Call for Help?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “The path to drug addiction begins with the voluntary act of taking drugs. But over time, a person’s ability to choose not to do so becomes compromised.” This is usually the point where people start to realize that they need assistance.
If your substance abuse has become uncontrolled, it is time to call for help. While this doesn’t happen to everyone, usually illicit or prescription drug abuse will eventually lead to this point, especially the more often one engages in it and the higher one’s doses become. You can recognize compulsive use by the signs below.
- You abuse drugs even though you know this use is harming you.
- You crave the substance of your abuse all the time, even when you are not using.
- You have experienced severe withdrawal symptoms as a result of your abuse.
- You neglect your responsibilities in order to use more.
- You have put yourself or your loved ones in danger in order to obtain or use drugs.
- You have experienced extreme consequences of your substance abuse (ex. Losing your job, having financial problems, getting arrested, etc.), and yet, you continue to use.
- Those closest to you have expressed concern about your substance abuse.
- You feel you would not be able to stop using drugs on your own.
If you have experienced any of these issues, it is likely that your substance abuse has become a full-blown addiction and that it is time to call for help.
Why Call for Help?
Without the help of loved ones and of medical professionals, it can be extremely difficult, almost impossible, to stop abusing drugs once addiction sets in. You cannot rely on your own willpower alone at this point because your addiction has compromised your ability to stop abusing drugs. According to Harvard Medical School, drug use “causes lasting changes in brain function that are difficult to reverse,” which is why help in many forms is necessary.
Attempting to overcome addiction all on your own can be extremely difficult, let alone dangerous. Severe withdrawal symptoms can occur, some of which can even be deadly while others can be so painful that a person is likely to relapse. Without the help of medical professionals, pharmacological treatment options, and behavioral therapies, it can be very difficult to resist relapse and create lasting changes.
Our helpline is extremely beneficial because you can talk one-on-one with a treatment advisor who can help you
- Find safe, effective rehab programs suitable for your specific needs
- Discuss your situation in order to determine its severity and the best steps to take for a safe recovery
- Run your insurance in order to find rehab programs in your network
- Devise a plan that will allow you to be accepted into and begin a rehab program specifically catered to your situation
How Do I Prepare for Rehab?
Preparing for rehab also takes time and thought. Especially if you have chosen to attend an inpatient program, it is very important to make sure that all the loose ends of your life will be neatly tied up while you are away.
- Make sure someone you trust will have access to your finances and be able to pay your bills for you. Or, if you prefer, you can set up automatic bill pay to ensure that everything stays paid up while you are in treatment.
- You will need to arrange for your children and/or pets to be taken care of while you are away in treatment. A friend can take care of them, or if you have self-sufficient pets, someone can arrange to look in on them periodically in order to make sure they are healthy and fed. You may also want to consider taking your pets to a kennel.
- You may also want to discuss the option of your treatment with your employer. In many cases, employee assistance programs (or EAPs) can help you find the right treatment program or just ensure that your job will be secure until you return from rehab.
- It can help immensely to tour the rehab facility before you ever begin treatment there. This can help you have a much clearer idea of whether or not you will be able to stay there for the specific amount of time your treatment will last. According to the NIDA, this is incredibly important because “successful outcomes often depend on a person’s staying in treatment long enough to reap its full benefits.”
- It is also important to make sure that you pack appropriately for rehab. Bring seven sets of comfortable clothes, as well as sneakers and shower shoes. You may also want to bring a journal and pictures of your friends and family. Call your rehab center as well to find out any items that may be banned by that facility specifically so you do not bring in any contraband.
What Will Happen When I Enter Treatment?
When you enter treatment, you will first need to be admitted and then assessed. Your doctor will likely want to screen for any of the serious medical and/or psychological issues normally associated with substance abuse, especially comorbid mental disorders. According to the National Library of Medicine, “In many cases, a person starts using drugs to try to self-treat mental illness,” and any underlying issue of this type must be addressed and treated along with addiction.
Once your doctor has assessed you and created a plan based on this assessment, your treatment can begin. If you have chosen inpatient care, you will be in the facility 24 hours a day and on a strict schedule of medications, therapies, and activities. If you have chosen outpatient care, you will come and go from the facility as scheduled but will receive many of the same treatment options as those in inpatient care.
How Long Does Treatment Take?
According to the NIDA, a treatment that creates good outcomes usually lasts for at least 90 days or longer. If the program is longer, it is usually considered more effective. There are some treatment programs that last for shorter amounts of time, such as 30 or 60 days, but for the most part, at least 90 days is necessary for a safe recovery. Other programs, such as methadone maintenance, may last for a year or more.
In general, though, treatment takes as long as necessary for an individual to experience beneficial results and to be ready to begin their long-term recovery. Sometimes, certain individuals stay on medications or in therapy indefinitely, or after a more intensive option like inpatient care ends, they begin an outpatient program or start attending a support group. Usually, the best option for recovery is long-term treatment or multiple programs over the course of one’s lifetime.
This does not mean that you will always be in treatment but just that regular “check-ups” may be necessary. Some rehab programs provide booster sessions where patients can come back periodically to be assessed again while others help patients transition into support groups or other less intensive options. Whatever choice is right for your needs, treatment itself usually has a length of around 90 days, but long-term care is often the best option for safe recovery from addiction.
Will It Hurt?
For the most part, no. While you may experience withdrawal symptoms and other issues associated with your recovery, it is likely to be much less painful to attend treatment than to try to recover from addiction on your own. In general, this is the safest, least painful option available to those suffering from addiction, and without professional care, you will most assuredly deal with more issues that could have been managed in treatment.
Plan for Recovery: Start Today
We can help you begin planning for your recovery from substance abuse and addiction as soon as possible. The safest, most effective rehab programs for your needs are waiting for you and so is your future, free of substance abuse.