Addiction & Treatment

There are a lot of reasons why a person may choose to drink alcohol or use drugs, but sometimes, these choices turn into an acute problem, and addiction is not a choice. Though addiction is serious, there is hope for people facing this though problem. Read on to learn more about treatment for substance abuse and why it’s so important to seek help.

Why Getting Treatment For Addiction Is So Important

Addictions are difficult to overcome for even the strongest people. At the same time, understanding that there is a problem that won’t necessarily go away on its own is a tough thing to come to terms with. If you or someone you care about is experiencing issues with addiction, know you’re not alone, but also know that getting help is the first step on the path towards recovery.  

Addictions don’t only refer to drugs and alcohol, though, as people can become addicted to behaviors as well. Like using drugs and alcohol, engaging in activities like shopping, gambling, and playing video games all trigger the reward center in our brain. These feelings are pleasurable, and we will continue to seek them. Sometimes, we need to take more drugs or alcohol, or engage in the behavior more frequently to get the same pleasurable effects. This is when addiction happens. 

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No matter whether a person becomes addicted to a substance or a behavior, many of the warning signs are the same. Here are some of the most common signs that someone may be facing addiction:

  • Financial problems – using drugs or alcohol is an expensive habit, as is repeated gambling, frequent shopping, binging on junk food, or purchasing lots of video games. Because addictions often require a person to buy more and more of something, financial problems are common.
  • Secretive behavior – those who are experiencing addiction often feel ashamed or guilty about their behavior. They may try to hide their addiction by spending time away from friends and family.
  • Changes in mood or behavior – when someone who is experiencing addiction can’t get their drug of choice, they may become angry, hostile, agitated, or even unresponsive. Sleeping or eating patterns may change as well. 
  • Trouble at work or school – responsibilities often get pushed to the wayside when someone is struggling with addiction, and work or school performance frequently suffers.

What Different Types of Treatment Are Available For Addiction?

When you’re looking to find treatment for addiction issues, keep in mind that there are a lot of options available and that everyone has different needs when it comes to getting help. As more research is done into how drugs affect the brain, more sophisticated and effective treatment options are being made available. These options vary in their intensity, and it’s important to consider your options before you decide which course of action is right for you.

For some, the best option is long-term residential treatment. This treatment provides care 24 hours a day, seven days a week without the need to be placed in a hospital. You can expect to spend at least a few months in a therapeutic setting where you will learn to better develop your personal responsibility and accountability. Patients learn to identify self-destructive thoughts and behavioral patterns, and will focus on better and more productive ways to handle the hardships they may come across in life, without needing to turn to alcohol, drugs, or problematic behaviors. 

For others, short-term residential treatment is a good option. With short-term residential treatment, you can expect to spend a few weeks in an intensive program, usually in a hospital setting. This is followed by intensive outpatient therapy, usually based on a 12-step program, and participation in a support group like AA. Sticking with a treatment program after the residential stay is important, as it can help prevent a relapse and make sure your recovery stays on track. 


Others may need less intensive therapy, in which case, outpatient treatment is a good option. This kind of treatment doesn’t require any residential stay, and simply involves attending therapy and self-help groups. This may be suitable for patients who have jobs that they can’t take time off of, or already have a strong support network to help them overcome their problem. Outpatient therapies vary in intensity, and it’s important to find a reliable and effective program that takes a serious approach to your addiction.  

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What Can You Expect During Treatment?

One of the most challenging parts of treatment is not knowing what to expect during the recovery process. Every person’s course of treatment will be slightly different, depending on the drug in question, how long the person has been using, and if they have any other underlying mental or physical health conditions. Along the way, you may experience roadblocks or hurdles to overcome, but this is not a sign that the treatment isn’t working. 

The first step in many treatment programs is detoxing from the drug or drugs that the patient is abusing. For some drugs, especially opiates, benzos, and alcohol, the detoxifying process can lead to scary or painful withdrawal symptoms like nausea, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, or even seizures or convulsions. Because of this, detoxing should always happen when you’re under the close watch of a doctor. This doctor may prescribe medication to ease the symptoms of withdrawal. 

Though detoxing is an important first step in the recovery process, just getting the drugs out of your system does not address the reason why you became addicted in the first place, and it won’t prevent a relapse. The next step is to take a close look at any underlying mental or physical health conditions that may be causing you to rely on a substance. These conditions must be addressed in order to move forward with recovery.

Finally, it’s important to recognize what triggers you to turn to drugs or problematic behaviors. Do you tend to use in the company of certain people, or as an escape when life becomes stressful or overwhelming? Once you recognize what triggers you to use drugs, you can either eliminate these triggers from your life or work to come up with more effective coping strategies to manage difficult emotions.

No single treatment option is right for everyone, and not everyone’s recovery looks the same. For some people, it may take a few tries to stick, and for others, recovery is a lifelong process. However, overcoming addiction is possible, and it’s important to find an option that works well for each individual.