Home Health

A Guide to Taking the First Step in Treating Addiction

What is the first step in treating addiction? Some people may think it is the beginning of treatment in a rehab facility. Others guess it is the intervention and personal discussions with someone about their problem. The real first step in treating addiction is when someone admits they have a problem. They must realize they have an addiction and be motivated to get sober.

Admitting they have a problem is usually the most challenging step before detoxification. Individuals must have the courage to handle social rejection from admitting to an addiction.

Progress Towards Sobriety

An individual with an addiction needs a healthy and supportive community for addiction treatment. They need to be able to express themselves without being blamed. Many people start by talking to family and friends. For others, therapy and counseling are helpful.

Once an individual is recovering, they should begin to show some signs of progress. They may make better decisions, be more willing to interact with people, feel more hopeful, and go long periods without substance abuse.

During rehab, a relapse may occur, but it is not a sign of failure. It is a sign of progress since the person must work towards sobriety to relapse. A person who relapses means that they are working toward a goal. All progress should be celebrated.

Early Signs of Addiction

The signs of addiction may be difficult to notice, but the earlier someone address them, the more likely the individual is to make a complete recovery. The first signs of addiction may be using drugs or alcohol to relax. Mood swings, depression, and irritability can occur during the withdrawal of the substance. Often, individuals cannot recall actions or events that occurred during their drinking time. This is another essential sign to look for.

How Severe is the Problem?

With addictions, there are several levels of severity. Rehabilitation centers have different treatment programs for different patient severity levels.

Impaired control is the first stage of addiction. In this stage, the individual uses more than the suggested amount of the drug or alcohol. The person may not even intend to overuse it. They may try to reduce their intake but not be able to. They may not know they have a problem and may have no desire to quit.

During the next stage of addiction, the social problem stage, someone has relationship problems with a friend or family member. They often stop activities they used to enjoy and start neglecting responsibilities at school or work. This may look like depression, as abuse can cause feelings of depression.

The risky use stage is next. A person continues to misuse a substance in risky situations that put them in danger. This could include an individual driving while intoxicated or sharing needles with another person. These actions could be deadly.

The final stage of addiction is physical dependence. In this stage, the individual cannot stop using the substance without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. They begin to need more and more of the substance to get the same effects.

Rehab facilities understand the spectrum of levels of severity. They are fluid, not rigid. In most cases, detoxification, behavior counseling, medication, and long-term follow-up are necessary for a recovery. The first step in recovery, however, is admitting there is a problem.