When Drug Rehab Makes Sense
Let’s face it, looking at the other guy and thinking he really has a drug problem is a whole lot easier than squaring up to the realization that it’s actually you that may be in trouble because of drug abuse, dependence, or addiction. Not only that, but when someone’s in the grip of drugs, it is so much simpler just to deny anything at all is wrong.
Is it any wonder then that it’s often so difficult for the person who really needs help to know when drug rehab makes sense? For the purposes of discussion, let’s say this person is you – although the same suggestions apply if you are looking for ways to help a loved one or friend get more information on whether drug rehab is the right choice now.
Life Spiraling Out of Control
There are many aspects of drug use that could be examined in order to get at the specifics of how bad it has to be before someone needs professional help. That is beyond the scope of this article. Suffice to say that when the drug user’s life is spiraling out of control, that’s when treatment is necessary – and fast.
But what, exactly, constitutes a life spiraling out of control? Here’s what it isn’t. It isn’t when you just seem to have a bad day, aren’t making enough money to suit you, or are vaguely dissatisfied with life in general.
Likewise, if your drug use is limited to occasionally taking a prescription medication for pain or anxiety or depression – and you take it as directed by your doctor, that’s not an indication that your life is out of control. You may be in a little more discomfort than you had in the past, but injury, aging, or accidents could be the reason for that. And, the body is pretty miraculous in how well it can heal, given enough time.
Here’s a clearer picture of life spiraling out of control:
• You are constantly thinking about where, how, and when to get drugs.
• You become anxious and agitated the closer it gets to the time when you normally use.
• Thoughts about using – anticipating the rush, how good you feel after you use – consume your every waking moment.
• You lose interest in anything not connected with your drug use.
• You stop associating with former friends and your only companions now are those connected with drug use. These may be the pals you use with, your dealer, or other drug-related acquaintances.
• You stop taking care of yourself physical needs. You don’t eat properly, sleep is fitful and plagued with nightmares. You have medical conditions that you don’t seek treatment for.
• Your physical appearance suffers: skin is pale, or sallow, maybe hangs from your frame like a drape or you are so emaciated that your bones are visible.
• You completely disregard personal hygiene, refusing to take regular baths, shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth. Your gums may bleed and your teeth may be rotting – especially if you are addicted to crystal meth.
• Your family has disowned you, kicked you out of the house, or the relationship is so strained that your homelife is like a powderkeg.
• You lose your job or get demoted as a result of your drug use.
• You squander all the household income in order to finance your drug use – as well as alcohol use and/or other addictions, such as compulsive gambling, compulsive spending, and so on.
• Your home goes into foreclosure.
• You have to file bankruptcy.
• You get arrested on drug charges.
• Legal bills mount, along with court costs, fees and fines.
• You go to jail.
• You start thinking that suicide may be the answer.
Do any of these sound like things you are experiencing in your life right now? If so, drug rehab could very well make sense for you.
Getting Past Denial
Of course, no one wants to admit that they have a drug problem. The person with the drug problem is usually the last one to recognize that their life has spiraled out of control. Everyone else around him or her can see it, but not the one who’s constantly using.
No, the person – maybe you – thinks, “I can take care of myself. My drug use is under control. I don’t need any help.” There are many different variations of what you tell yourself, but the synopsis is always the same: don’t have a problem, don’t need help, don’t want help.
That is a huge mistake.
Until you can wake up to the truth and admit that you do have a problem with drugs, you’re only going to perpetuate the misery you’re currently in. In fact, your downhill slide is more than likely going to happen quicker.
What will it take for you to be able to see how unhappy your drug use is making you? What about the looks on the faces of your loved ones, your spouse, your children? They only want the best for you, even if life with you has become intolerable, frightening, even dangerous.
If you live with a spouse or others who also abuse drugs or alcohol or engage in other addictive behavior, self-recognition of your problem becomes even tougher. That’s why couples who both use have such a hard time staying clean and sober following treatment unless both are committed to long-term sobriety.
Facing the reality that your life is now as a result of drug use takes courage. It’s certainly not pleasant to look at the mess you’ve made of your life, how much sorrow you’ve caused those who care about you.
But you can do it. First, you have to squash that inner voice that tries to insist that you’re okay. You’re not okay, and deep down inside you actually know it.
Can’t You Just Quit on Your Own?
While you might be an extraordinarily strong person, trying to quit drugs on your own is like trying to fly. You might have a brief success, but you’ll ultimately crash. Why is that? When you become dependent upon or addicted to drugs, your brain becomes habituated to the presence of the drugs. It changes in dramatic ways so that the messages sent to the brain’s pleasure center only react to the next intake of drugs. Your body demands the drugs, that’s why you have such intense drug cravings. The only thing that qualms the cravings is to use.
Sure, you may have all the best intentions. You toss the drugs or flush them down the drain, or use up the last of your stash and vow not to buy any more.
Guess how long that promise lasts?
Only until you start feeling the first symptoms of withdrawal.
Funny how it works. Even a brawny, six-foot-plus male who prides himself in self-discipline (except for his drug use) is reduced to a crazed search for drugs once withdrawal kicks in big-time. Going cold-turkey on drugs is just as foolhardy, in most instances, as trying to kick drinking when you’re a stone alcoholic. It could be more than just mild withdrawal symptoms you’ll have to deal with. Depending on your drug of choice, how long you’ve used, how often you use, and how much you use, whether you abuse alcohol as well as drugs – along with other factors such as your general health and pre-existing medical conditions – withdrawal can be severe or even life-threatening.
So, quitting on your own is just not a good idea. You need to undergo withdrawal under 24-hour medical supervision. This can be done at a detoxification center, either a hospital or detox center, or residential drug rehab that also has a detox facility on-site.
Besides, detoxing – or getting all the toxic substances (drugs) out of your system – is just the prerequisite or first step to getting better. Without treatment, usually consisting of counseling and perhaps medications to help control or reduce urges, you’ll only relapse and be right back where you started.
That’s when drug rehab makes sense. When you want to quit and know that trying to do so on your own is likely to fail, going into treatment for substance abuse is a very good option. In fact, it may be your only opportunity to get clean and sober – and have any hope of a meaningful recovery.
Rehab Close to Home or Away
Maybe you have your reasons for not wanting to go into rehab. One of these may be that you need a complete change of venue in order to make a complete break from your past addictive ways. That’s perfectly understandable. There are many drug rehab facilities that are in other parts of your state or in other states that may be within your reach.
On the other hand, maybe you are worried that you can’t possibly go into drug rehab because you need to be close to your family. You’re afraid that if you’re away from them, something bad will happen.
Actually, going into drug rehab is the best thing you can do – for for yourself and for your family. What do you think will happen to you and to them if you continue your current drug usage? Your problems, whatever they are right now, will only get worse. You may resort to petty crime to finance your drug use, become aggressive and violent with your loved ones, close friends, even strangers.
This is not a situation you want to contemplate, but you need to look at how drug abuse changes individuals. The sorry picture you have of certain incidents that happened in your past due to drug use is nothing compared to the world of hurt you might be in store for if you don’t get help now to overcome your addiction.
Can’t Afford the Time
Here’s another excuse – yes, let’s call it what it is – that many people offer up as a valid reason for not going into drug rehab. Even when they know they need help, that they will continue to go downhill without professional help, they complain that they just can’t afford the time.
What about eternity? That’s time without end – and that’s what you’ll be looking at sooner than you think if you keep on abusing drugs. What’s a 30- or 60- or even 90-day treatment program in the vast scheme of things? If you come out of treatment better equipped to deal with life’s stresses, challenges, and opportunities without resorting to drugs, isn’t that a good use of your time?
You know the answer to that one. Of course, drug rehab makes sense – especially when your life right now doesn’t make much sense at all.
Afraid of What Others Think
If you’re deep into drug use, you may think that you’re so far past caring about what others think, but you’d be surprised. Studies have shown that even chronic alcoholics and drug addicts have a sense of what their community members (those who also abuse alcohol and drugs) think. Dr. Gabor Maté, physician and author of In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts, who works in a clinic for addicts in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, notes how the men and women there – all addicts – care for one another, despite how far down on the rung of humanity they’ve slipped.
These addicts, many of whom support their habit by prostitution, petty crime, handouts, know what they are. Yet they still cling to hope, even the faintest shred of it. Due to the non-judgmental attitude of Dr. Maté and others at the clinic, the addicts receive treatment for their medical condition, prescriptions to help them with sobriety, allay anxiety, combat depression, even help with living conditions. If they want counseling, that is provided for them as well.
Different world? Perhaps. Vancouver’s system is rather unique. But that isn’t the point. What is the point is that addicts the world over are human beings. And as human beings, we each have value. We each have an innate worth, even if we’ve buried it so far beneath years of drug use that we can’t even recognize it.
Why should you care what others think? If anything, they’re thinking that they wish you well and hope that you get the treatment you need to overcome your addiction.
You should care about you, and what you think about your life right now and how much better it can be in the future. This is when drug rehab makes sense.
Where to Find Treatment
Looking for a drug rehab center that will work for you is not that difficult. You can call 877-378-6407 to find out about drug treatment options in your area. Or you can go to the Treatment Facility Locator (http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/) maintained by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This is an online searchable database that includes drug and alcohol treatment facilities across the United States. You can also call their toll-free treatment referral helpline at 1-800-662-HELP and speak with a representative who can assist you by directing you to local treatment facilities, state agencies for treatment assistance, answer questions or send you informational material.
Another source for finding treatment is to talk with your doctor, local health agency, your health care provider, even a friend who has gone through drug rehab with good success.
The point is that if you can admit that you have a drug problem and want to get help for it, drug rehab makes sense. And if drug rehab makes sense, take the next step and make plans to go in for treatment. The sooner you get treatment, the quicker you’ll be on the road to recovery.
Imagine a future where you’re no longer a slave to your drug habit, where you’ll have the opportunity to live your life to its fullest, setting goals and achieving your dreams. You can have this. It is attainable. Now, do your part and get started with drug rehab. It really does make sense.