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7 Signs You Need To Go To Rehab

Rehab offers an opportunity to detoxify from drug or alcohol addiction and learn the tools needed to avoid relapse. Medical professionals oversee most rehabilitation treatment programs. They allow a person to remove themselves from temptation and spend time in an environment that is exclusively focused on recovery.

Many people turn to drugs and alcohol to escape their challenges, leading to a new challenge - developing an addiction. It tends to cloud a person’s view of their problems, including that addiction. Figuring out when rehab is necessary is challenging for many people. Often, knowing when to seek professional help requires input from friends or family.

It doesn’t matter if you’re not quite ready to admit you’re struggling with addiction or if loved ones haven't suggested rehab yet. There are a few telltale ways to know if rehab is the next logical step in recovery.

Signs you or a loved one needs to go to rehab:

  1. You are using drugs or alcohol to self-medicate a mental health condition
  2. You struggle with withdrawal symptoms when you stop using drugs or alcohol
  3. You suffer health problems that are linked to substance use
  4. Your priority is using the substance of your choice and other areas of your life, such as your relationships or job are suffering because of it
  5. You have a preoccupation with using drugs or alcohol
  6. You’ve developed a lack of interest and/or motivation for working, attending school, and spending time with family and friends
  7. You’ve stolen money or committed other crimes to obtain drugs or alcohol

DSM Criteria for Addiction

Not everyone has the self-awareness to go to rehab voluntarily. Most people addicted to alcohol, or other substances, cannot see that they have a problem (or maybe they’re in denial). 

Identifying addiction is the same as diagnosing any other form of illness. The patient is assessed for signs and symptoms, meeting a specific set of criteria indicative of a health condition. 

The American Psychiatric Association has outlined criteria for addiction. It is found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Health professionals use this to identify and categorize the severity of a substance use disorder. These include:

  • Lack of Control
  • Inability to cut back on use despite wanting to do so
  • Spending a considerable amount of time trying to acquire the substance
  • Having unusual cravings for the drug
  • Neglect of responsibilities at school, work, or home
  • Strained relationships with family and friends because of substance abuse
  • Loss of interest in activities that the person once found enjoyable
  • Continued use of the drug despite the presence of danger
  • Continued use despite worsening situations
  • Developing tolerance
  • Presence of withdrawal symptoms

A rehab program provides structure to treatment. It is an important first step for many people who are looking to recover from substance abuse. However, many people diagnosed with substance use disorder avoid rehab. They’d rather work on their recovery alone. The truth is, it’s very difficult for people to disentangle themselves from addiction without help.

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When to Get Treatment

Knowing when it’s time to seek addiction treatment is one of the greatest challenges of recovery. Chances are, if you’ve considered seeking treatment, then it’s time for one. Spending too much time agonizing over whether or not it’s time for treatment is time spent not recovering and living your life to the fullest.

Determining when to go to rehab is confusing, and there is no simple answer. The right time for rehab varies from person to person. Some people need rehab because they are becoming a danger to themselves or society; others need rehab because their family said so.

Rehab doesn’t come with a list of required obligations before attending. Programs don’t require people to have had an addiction for a set number of weeks or months, or years. There’s no need to “hit rock bottom” before you are accepted into rehab.

Certain programs have criteria that must be met to be eligible for care, but in general, there is no single thing that automatically qualifies or eliminates you from treatment. This isn’t to say someone without a heroin addiction could receive methadone treatment. A medical detox would not be provided to someone without an addiction to alcohol, drugs, and non-substances. However, anyone who believes they have an addiction can seek treatment. What that treatment entails is determined by an intake evaluation.

Don't Let Addiction Control You.

You can overcome any struggle – including your substance abuse problem - if you have the right help from qualified professionals. Give yourself the freedom of recovery by turning things around today.

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Addiction Treatment Options

Several options exist for alcohol rehab and drug rehab. For example:

Counseling and Behavior Therapies 

Counseling and behavior therapy is effective in treating substance abuse. It also provides someone with life skills and support that promote long-term abstinence. There are many different therapeutic approaches, including:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy — assists people with substance use disorders recognize and change their thoughts and attitudes
  • Multidimensional family therapy — supports improved family function and is especially effective for treating adolescent substance use disorders
  • Motivational interviewing — utilizes a person’s willingness to change and helps them adjust their behavior
  • Motivational incentive — encourages abstinence through a reward or positive reinforcement system

Self-Help Groups and 12-Step Programs

These programs bring together people struggling with similar issues. They provide education, information, and a community environment. Some of the most popular examples of self-help and 12-step programs include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Prescription pharmaceuticals are effective tools during rehab and recovery. Medication is also effective in treating co-occurring disorders. Medication varies based on the substance in question, but some of the most popular medications used in rehab include:

Common medications used to help treat alcoholism (alcohol use disorder):

  • Naltrexone
  • Acamprosate
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse)

Common medications used to help treat drug addiction (opioid use disorder):

  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Naltrexone

Rehabilitation Programs (Rehab)

These programs provide an environment that supports recovery and long-term abstinence. Program options include:

  • Short-term residential treatment
  • Therapeutic communities
  • Recovery housing
  • Long-term outpatient treatment

What to Expect from Rehab

Going to rehab can be overwhelming. It is normal to feel nervous or scared. It helps to come in ready, equipped with the proper knowledge of what to expect from rehab.

Here are some helpful tips that may help ease rehab-related anxiety:

  • Assessment: When a person first enters rehab, they are given a thorough assessment of their background, history of alcohol and drug use, and other specific needs. During this stage, it helps to be open and honest, especially if there is an underlying mental illness or other health conditions. A customized substance abuse treatment plan will be created to suit the patient's specific needs.
  • Detox: As soon as the initial assessment phase is done, the patient will undergo detoxification. It is the process of removing toxic substances (alcohol or drugs) from the body. This will cleanse the body to physically and mentally prepare the patient for rehab. It's important to know that every person responds differently to detox. The side effects and withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person.
  • Withdrawal: During the rehab program, the patient may experience withdrawal symptoms. Rehab staff are trained to help patients cope with the symptoms in the safest and most efficient ways possible. This can be achieved through various means like medications, counselling, meditation, hypnosis, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
  • Therapy Programs: The patient is expected to participate in the treatment program planned by the rehab center. Every rehab center have their own programs which may include individual therapy, family counselling, and many more. 
  • Aftercare: Because addiction is a chronic disease, there is no overnight treatment for it. Drug and alcohol rehab usually last for 30 days, 60 days, or 90 days. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends that a patient stays in rehab for at least 90 days. By the end of rehab, an aftercare plan is discussed with the patient for continuing care.

Rehab FAQs

How does detox help overcome addiction?

Detoxification is normally the first step in addiction treatment. It describes the process of clearing a substance from the body and limiting withdrawal reactions. Most detox regimens require hours or days, but there might be lingering effects after a week or more.

Can I go to rehab without insurance?

Yes. However, you’ll need to seek subsidized support for treatment. This is usually available through your state’s Medicaid program. Depending on your circumstances and location, there might be other financial support available as well.

Should you hold an intervention?

It’s impossible to know for sure whether an intervention is a good idea without knowing the specific details of a situation. If a loved one is struggling with substance use, an intervention could be an effective tool for helping that person. However, interventions are difficult for everyone involved, and everyone must agree that intervening is the right thing to do for the person before moving forward.

How can family members assist in a loved one's recovery?

There are many ways for family and friends to play an important role in helping a loved one overcome addiction. Being informed about addiction, recovery, and related medical issues are all important things that will help your loved one. If you care about someone addicted to drugs or alcohol, learn about addiction, co-occurring conditions, and the various treatment options available.

Address Your Addiction

Don't let addiction control you. Give yourself the power to get help for your addiction today.

Call now (855) 217-2693

Resources

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What Is Drug Addiction Treatment?” National Institute on Drug Abuse

Understanding Drug Use and Addiction.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2018.

Boroumandfar, Z., Kianpour, M. & Afshari, M. "Ups and downs of drug rehab among women: a qualitative study." BMC Women's Health 20, 77 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12905-020-00946-2

"Chapter 5—Specialized Substance Abuse Treatment Programs." A Guide to Substance Abuse Services for Primary Care Clinicians. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 1997. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 24.)

NADK. "What are the diagnostic criteria for alcohol-related mental health disorders?" National Alcohol & Drug Knowledgebase, The National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction.

De Bruijin, Carla et al. "Alcohol Abuse and Dependence Criteria as Predictors of a Chronic Course of Alcohol Use Disorders in the General Population." Alcohol and Alcoholism, Volume 40, Issue 5, September/October 2005, Pages 441–446, https://doi.org/10.1093/alcalc/agh183

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