The first step toward treatment is knowing when to get help. You might not realize that you aren’t okay because you haven’t hit “rock bottom.” Look for the early signs and consider taking the steps toward treatment before things worsen.
Don’t Wait to Hit Rock Bottom
There is a common misconception that you need to wait to hit rock bottom before getting help. This theory is simply not true. Addiction isn’t something that suddenly happens out of the blue. There is a progression and early warning signs that can signal to you that it’s time to get help before it gets worse.
Waiting can actually cause more harm than good. It’s easier to treat addiction early than when a person enters into the more serious, full-blown stages. Those who have a severe addiction take longer to recover and have more intense withdrawal symptoms. People with severe addiction are more likely to develop post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), which can cause withdrawal symptoms for months to even a year after detox. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms tend to be one of the main reasons for relapse after treatment. Catching addiction early on can increase your chances of recovery.
The Warning Signs of Addiction
Signs of Early Addiction
Since substance use is normalized, especially regarding alcohol and cannabis use, a person’s habits might not seem “as bad.” Denial during early addiction can be powerful, even with more problematic substances such as cocaine, heroin, and hallucinogens, especially if it’s common among groups of friends. Addictions to prescription medication such as Oxytocin or Adderal might fly under the radar because their use is accepted.
The beginning stages of addiction include:
- Inability to control or quit substance use
- Blackouts after substance use
- An increased dedication to substance use in place of regular activity
- Slipping up in school, work, or family obligations because of substance use
- Changes in behavior, especially when off of the substance
- Increased thoughts about using the substance when sober
- Relying on substances to relax or sleep
- Using substances as a way to cope with problems
Signs of a Hidden Addiction
Sometimes it’s not apparent if a loved one is experiencing addiction. It’s common for people to hide their addiction, making it hard to catch early on. Signs that could include a hidden addiction include:
- Weight loss
- Loss of interest in hobbies
- Periods of unexplained absence
- Lying about whereabouts
- Dilated pupils
- Symptoms of withdrawal
- Changes in mood
What Might Keep You From Seeking Help
They Are in Denial
The most popular reason is a denial of how serious the situation is. It’s essential to be aware of the early warning signs, but there is a chance that they’re a lot farther along than you think. Denial can cause people to doubt that there is a problem. They might make excuses about their alcohol or substance usage.
They Feel Ashamed
Another reason a person might wait to get help is shame. There is an enormous stigma against addiction. People might know what they are doing is unhealthy, but they don’t want to face others when they ask for help. Shame can cause people to hide the severity of their situation, making it harder to notice the early warning signs of a loved one who has an addiction.
They Are Afraid
There is a lot of fear around seeking help. There are a lot of things that complicate getting help. Individuals might be afraid of the cost of getting help, whether it’s the financial cost or the wage loss from taking time away from work. They might feel afraid to tell people in their life about their absence out of shame but also fear being reprimanded at work for having an addiction.
How to Get Help
After completing the first step of admitting that you have a problem that needs attention, the next step is ending substance use. It is highly recommended to go through a detox program, especially if you quit more potent substances with more severe withdrawals or have an alcohol addiction. These substances need medically assisted detox because of the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Medically assisted detox is the safest option that ensures the best results compared to trying to stop on your own or quitting “cold turkey.”
After detox, the next step is entering a form of care that fits your personal needs. Many treatment centers offer a variety of programs that consider your employment, family, or academic obligations. Residential treatment is highly recommended for severe addictions, especially if you or your loved one are unstable. Many residential treatment centers are flexible with your situation and can accommodate any needs.
It can be hard to know for sure if you need help with addiction treatment, but if you even have a little bit of a feeling that your behavior isn’t healthy or normal, then getting help could be a good idea.
You don’t need to be at your worst to need treatment. Getting help earlier can make treatment and recovery more manageable in the long run. If your loved one seems to be developing a problem, it might be worse than you realize. Don’t hesitate to get help. Waiting can only make the issue worse.
Villa Oasis San Diego strongly advocates for people to get help long before hitting rock bottom. It’s more beneficial for people to get support earlier on. If you’re interested in learning more about the signs that you might need treatment, please call us today at (323) 739-8673.