If you or someone you care about is struggling with substance abuse, what can be done to help? The decision to seek treatment for alcohol or drug addiction is not always easy, but it is the first step towards a healthier life. With the right support and information, you will be better equipped to take the necessary steps to have a better life.
Step One: Recognize the symptoms of substance abuse.
Familiarizing yourself with the symptoms of substance abuse will allow you to better understand if treatment is necessary. While most are familiar with the physical effects of alcohol and drugs, there are behavioral symptoms of addiction as well. For example, if drug or alcohol use has resulted in strained relationships, job loss, or failing grades in school, it might be indicative of a more serious problem.
There is hope. Like most other health conditions, substance use disorder can be treated.
Step Two: Speak with a healthcare professional.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, your healthcare provider, family counselor, or case manager can give you some insight. First, they will conduct an assessment to determine if substance abuse treatment is necessary. Then, they’ll work with you to explore your treatment options and help you find a program that works for you.
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Step Three: Discuss treatment options.
There are several options for addiction treatment. Each person’s treatment will look different depending on the severity of their symptoms and other factors, such as the presence of a co-occurring disorder.
Treatment for substance abuse can either take place in an inpatient setting, like a residential rehab facility, or in an outpatient setting, where you are able to live at home or somewhere else that is safe and substance-free while you attend treatment at a counseling center as often as needed.
Treatment can include counseling, addiction medications, support groups, and even family counseling, depending on your circumstances. Often, you can seek guidance from a targeted case manager, social worker, peer support specialist, or other advocate to help you navigate your treatment options.
Step Four: Decide on a treatment program.
Once you have discussed your treatment options, and your healthcare provider or case manager has worked with you to create a personalized treatment plan, it’s time to decide which program is right for you. The most effective treatment programs treat both the physical and behavioral symptoms of addiction. For example, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in conjunction with addiction medications. Behavioral therapy can address the underlying causes of addiction, while medications can ease withdrawal symptoms and support recovery.
Step Five: Continue treatment.
Recovery does not happen overnight. It’s a lifestyle change and a lifelong commitment. Relapse is common, but it does not equal failure. You can always seek treatment again or seek different treatment options if one doesn’t work for you.
What’s important for you to know is that you and your health are worth it. There are people and treatment programs that can support you as you work towards recovery. With the right support and treatment, you can have a healthy life and a better future.