We live in a culture where drinking is often encouraged as a means of fun socialization, and drug use can almost seem like a badge of honor. In a world where drunken nights are embraced and parties aren’t complete without a few drugs, it can be difficult to determine if you have developed an addiction or are simply keeping up with your peers. For many individuals, what starts out as social drinking and recreational drug use can quickly spiral into something much more sinister.
If you are concerned about your substance abuse, you are not alone! This article will guide you in the recovery process by giving you the steps needed to begin the addiction recovery process. Recognizing the signs of addiction and getting the help you need could be one of the most impactful decisions you ever make.
Recognizing Signs of Alcohol or Drug Addiction
Substance use disorders come in many forms and for a variety of reasons. For alcohol addiction, it may look like having one too many drinks after a hard day of work. It could also involve social drinking, once every few months, with heavy drinking involved. You may not remember the nights out on the town due to the amount you have had to drink.
Addiction can also come from being treated for an injury and prescribed narcotics. For those who are already susceptible to addiction through genetics or environmental factors, opioid addiction can grab hold of someone easily when prescribed painkillers and not being monitored carefully.
It is also important to note that drug and alcohol use may be coping mechanisms for underlying factors or mental health issues. Many factors can influence addiction, such as abuse, trauma, genetics, unhealthy living environment, and/or early exposure. Below are a few signs to recognize if you or a loved one may be struggling with addiction and could benefit from professional help.
- Mood swings
- Increased anxiety
- Erratic behavior
- Bloodshot eyes
- Shaking, tremors, and slurred speech
- Changes in appetite and appearance (such as paleness, darkness under the eyes, and a yellowing tint to the skin)
- Over or underactive energy levels
The Three C’s of Alcohol or Drug Addiction
- Control: Loss of control. Addiction affects one’s ability to control the use of addictive substances regardless of how destructive the behaviors may be.
- Compulsion: Often with addiction, individuals have lowered impulse control due to neurological changes caused by prolonged drug or alcohol use
- Continued: Continued substance abuse, even with the loss of jobs, friendships, and family support.
If you recognize any of the above substance abuse signs in yourself or a loved one, it is to your benefit to seek professional help from an addiction treatment provider.
6 Steps for Working Through Addictive Behavior and Substance Abuse
You realize you have an addiction; now what? First of all, we applaud you for your self-reflection and for pursuing the help you need. The below steps can help you navigate the addiction treatment process and pursue life-changing (and potentially life-saving!) recovery.
1. Ask for Help
The first and boldest step you can take to begin the addiction recovery process is to admit the need for help and seek professional treatment. Although change can be intimidating, when it comes to addiction, change through rehab and therapy is a necessary step to living a healthy and enjoyable life. Whether you need to start by talking with a mental health professional, opening up to a friend or close family member, or calling an addiction treatment center, there is help waiting for you when you are ready.
2. Begin the Addiction Treatment Process
After you have found a rehab facility that meets your needs, a treatment plan and treatment program will be designed just for you. The right addiction treatment program may look a little different for each person, depending on your unique background, possible mental health challenges, and interests.
3. Abstain from Drug and Alcohol Use
Quitting drugs and alcohol without the support of a medical professional is never recommended. This process is called quitting cold turkey, and it can be dangerous and even fatal, depending on the type of addiction you have.
When enrolling in a rehabilitation center, a plan will be made to determine how to safely remove drugs and alcohol from your system, generally through medical detox. This may involve a slow progression of sobering up one’s body by abstaining from drugs and alcohol. It may also include the help of FDA-approved addiction medication to help the body through uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms during the detoxification process.
4. Build a Solid Support System
One challenging area is deciding which relationships are beneficial to your recovery and which relationships do not serve you anymore, including both friends and family relationships. We often don’t realize how much our friends and family can influence us. There may be negative consequences that come from maintaining unhealthy or triggering relationships. It is up to the individual to begin identifying people who are there to fully support their recovery journey. This could be from a mentor, therapist, or counselor, a peer from support groups, or a trusted friend who is helping you stay sober and stay healthy.
5. Change Your Environment
If your home environment involves family members who use drugs or alcohol, it will be to your benefit to find a more suitable home environment conducive to sobriety. Many treatment programs offer short-term sober living housing. This means that in the early stages of recovery, you can live in a shared house or apartment with addiction support staff guiding you in maintaining sobriety, especially when facing common triggers. Sober living homes provide a space to continue your treatment plans while also searching for your home environment that will increase your chances of success.
6. Grow Your Hobbies
Quitting drugs and alcohol can drastically change depending on the severity of the addiction. Reconnecting with yourself through old or new hobbies can help you stay motivated and have positive distractions when dealing with strong feelings related to recovery. A big part of the recovery process is to shed old drug abuse habits and make room for new habits that support personal growth.
Find Help Today
When you’re stuck in the cycle of addiction, you can experience hopelessness, isolation, and frustration. For those seeking addiction treatment, reaching out for help and finding the right addiction treatment program and treatment provider for you is a major first step in your recovery journey. Contact our Malibu drug and alcohol rehab and detox center today at (424) 234-2027 to discuss your personalized treatment plan today.
Take the Next Step
Taking the first steps toward treatment can be emotionally and mentally draining. At Malibu Detox and Residential Treatment Center, we have designed our admissions process to remove the stress commonly associated with exploring treatment centers and obtaining treatment. With specialists in virtually every discipline, our staff compassionately guides each new client through the necessary steps to facilitate their healing journey.