Substance abuse and addiction cause enormous physical, emotional, and financial hardship for individuals, their loved ones, and society as a whole. Everyone matters, and if you or someone you care about is struggling with a substance use disorder, know that help is available. Following a few simple steps can get you or your loved one on the path to recovery.
The first step to seeking substance abuse treatment help is to recognize that a substance use disorder is a medical and mental health problem, not a lifestyle choice. The reluctance to accept this reality contributes to the tremendous burden of addiction, as even those affected by the disorder may not believe they are sick and, therefore, do not seek out treatment. Denying the problem can delay one from seeking help for months, or even years, leading to more severe health complications.
The next step to get help for substance abuse is to determine the type of treatment needed. Before selecting an addiction treatment program, it is important to identify the best type of care to maximize the chances of recovery. Unfortunately, not everyone requires the same type of treatment; a wide range of services must be taken into consideration, depending on the individual’s particular circumstances.
For instance, individuals with a mild or moderate substance use disorder may benefit from an outpatient treatment program, such as counseling, life skills training, and peer support groups. For individuals with a severe substance use disorder, more intensive treatment programs may be needed, including inpatient residential, medical detox, and therapeutic intervention services.
Some individuals with a substance use disorder may also benefit from medications depending on the severity of their addiction. Medications, such as opioids, stimulants, and depressants, can often reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings, as well as help prevent a return to substance misuse and abuse. Long-term drug use, however, can lead to dependence, tolerance, and addiction; therefore, medication should always be administered as part of a comprehensive treatment program.
Before entering a program for substance abuse treatment, individuals should seek out information on what the program offers and how well they are likely to benefit from it. To make an informed decision, individuals should explore a variety of treatment programs and research each one carefully to ensure the best possible outcome.
Recovery from substance abuse is an ongoing process through which individuals learn to live a substance-free life. After seeking treatment, individuals are advised to continue supportive services, such as peer support groups, counseling, or other outpatient treatment options to maintain long-term sobriety.
If you or someone you know is suffering from a substance use disorder, the time to seek help is now. There is no time like the present to start the journey of recovery and to begin living a healthier life. Remember, you don’t have to navigate this process alone – numerous treatment options and services are available to provide guidance and support on the path to recovery.