First Steps to Take if You Find Out You Have Addiction

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If you suspect that addiction is a problem in your life, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed. However, don’t let the fear of what may be ahead keep you from taking action to get help. Many people face this problem, especially after Covid-19. According to data released by SAMHSA based on a 2020 survey, around 25.9 million alcohol users and 10.9 million drug users reported using them a little or much more than before the pandemic.

While this is a huge problem, the good thing is that you can overcome addiction. However, this is possible only if you accept help and work hard. These tips will help get you started on your journey.

Identify the Problem

Identifying the problem is important before you can start working on it. This includes looking for signs and symptoms of substance abuse. As listed on the Cleveland Clinic website, some of the symptoms to look for include the following:

  • Consuming substances in larger amounts
  • Having problems fulfilling responsibilities
  • Giving up physical and social activities
  • Engaging in risky behaviors
  • Emotional instability
  • Negligence to eating, etc

If you have addiction problems, get help from others who don’t have those problems. If you want to stay safe from potential physical or emotional harm, create a plan with them on ways they can support you while being careful not to enable your addiction by feeding it with money or other resources.

Talk With Your Doctor or Get a Physical Exam

One of the first things you need to do is talk with your doctor. The doctor can help you get a diagnosis, which can lead them to provide referrals for treatment facilities that will help you get better. In some cases, doctors may recommend physical exams and any other tests or screenings they think would be necessary. These exams might include blood and urine tests to ensure that no underlying conditions contribute to your addiction. This step may also include getting prescriptions for medications that can help with the side effects of withdrawal and detoxification.

Start Looking for a Rehab Center

A rehab center is where you learn how to live a sober life. It’s like a school that teaches you how to be an adult and then helps you apply what you’ve learned when it’s time for the real world. The main goal of the treatment process is recovery, but there are many different types of treatment centers and philosophies about how best to achieve this goal.

Some of the considerations when choosing a rehab program include the following:

  • Cost: Some programs have sliding scales based on income, while others charge flat rates regardless of your financial situation. These may cost more than other options in the long run if they don’t offer scholarships or discounts based on need. 

You must also look for rehab centers accepting private insurance. Many private insurance providers, such as Anthem, Aetna, First Health, Cigna, etc, that cover addiction treatment. However, while many rehabs have started accepting private insurance as a part of the Affordable Care Act, not all centers take them. Hence, you must find rehabs that take Anthem insurance and other private insurance coverages.

  • Philosophy/Approach: Many different philosophies and approaches are used within mental health fields, including addiction treatment services. Some believe that complete abstinence from drugs or alcohol is necessary before full recovery can occur, while others advocate harm reduction techniques such as prescription medication instead of quitting cold turkey once an addict has been stabilized medically.
  • Lengths of stay: In general, longer lengths of stay could mean better outcomes because they allow patients more time between therapy sessions. During this time, they can practice skills learned during their coursework at rehab services institutionally affiliated with their home university.

Take an Objective Look at What You’re Doing

This step is about taking an objective look at your actions. You can do this by reviewing your behavior, feelings, thoughts, choices, and emotions in relation to addiction. If you’ve recently discovered that you are addicted to something, it’s easy to get swept into the emotional chaos of those first few hours or days.

It’s normal for fear and guilt to come up and anger towards yourself or others. There may be some denial, too, “I’m not an addict!” These are all valid reactions, but if you want recovery from addiction, you must let these emotions pass through you and learn how they affect you and your ability to move forward without using drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.

You must also look at your actions causing the addiction. Is it from alcohol use, drug consumption, or because you are taking prescription medicine in large amounts? Many prescription drugs can also lead to addiction. In fact, data from an article published in the JAMA Network shows that 12% of adults and 8% of adolescents in the US report unhealthy use of prescription or illegal drugs.

Based on your observation, your physician or mental health care professional will be in the best position to help you. The more information you can feed in, the easier it will be for professionals to develop a coping program.

Seek Help From Others Without Addiction Problems

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to admit that you need help. One of the most important things you can do when discovering your addiction is to seek the advice of someone without an addiction problem or someone with a different type of addiction than yours.

This could be your partner or spouse, a family member who isn’t affected by your dependency, a trusted friend in recovery, or even a professional counselor at an outpatient treatment center. 

Whoever you reach out to must know what it’s like being an addict so they can provide sound advice based on their own experiences with how others have dealt with similar situations before and hopefully not just their own experiences.

Conclusion

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, the first step is always to seek help. You can get the support and assistance needed to overcome the issue by taking action today. The earlier you take action, the quicker you can overcome the problem and prevent adverse consequences.

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