In the United States, it is estimated that 23 million people need treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, yet only 11% actually receive the treatment they need. So when is it necessary to seek treatment and what does that look like?
You don’t need to be physically addicted to a substance to need rehab. If substance abuse is causing negative effects in your life, it’s time to take a closer look.
For those in treatment programs, alcohol-related disorders accounted for more than 23% of all admissions. Marijuana and heroin were the two most common drug addictions for which people sought treatment help, accounting for about 17% and 14% of treatment admissions, respectively. And still another 18% of people in treatment were there for alcohol abuse combined with treatment for another drug.
What to expect
Many wishing to get clean from drugs and alcohol make the decision to undergo substance rehabilitation. An important first step in the rehabilitation process is to first complete a detox program. The detox period differs from person to person because of several factors such as length of drinking or using substances and severity of the addiction. A professional detox program is at an onsite facility where a client can detox off all substances under licensed and experienced supervision.
The next step after detox is a longer-term inpatient or residential rehab, which serve to treat the underlying causes of the addiction that contributed and maintained it to help prevent relapse upon discharge.
Each person’s treatment needs are unique and will depend number of different factors, including the presence of polysubstance abuse, mental health issues, and any previous attempts at detox and rehab. Consulting with a treatment professional will be an important first step in selecting the right level of care.
Substance Dependence and Addiction
Alcohol and drug addiction develops over time, but in some cases, it can happen rather quickly. At first, when alcohol or drugs are used, it can create a pleasant high in the individual, filled with good feelings and a motivation to repeat the behavior. With repeated use over time, the person may develop a tolerance to the alcohol or drugs and need a larger amount of the substance to achieve the same high.
A person may then become physically dependent on alcohol or drugs—a point at which suddenly stopping or even cutting back on use may result in a number of withdrawal symptoms. And while it’s true that not everyone who becomes physically dependent is addicted, the two often go hand in hand.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (2011). DrugFacts: Treatment statistics.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (2016). DrugFacts: Treatment approaches for drug addiction.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (2016). DrugFacts: Understanding Drug Use and Addiction.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (n.d.). Alcohol’s Effects on the Body.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (2014). DrugFacts: Heroin.
American Addiction Centers. (2017).
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2006). Treatment Improvement Protocols: Physical Detoxification Services for Withdrawal from Specific Substances. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
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