How To Get Help For Addiction
Some of the ways you can get help for alcohol addiction include:17,18
- Asking for support from a friend or loved one.
- Asking friends and family to avoid offering you alcohol.
- Getting rid of the alcohol in your home.
- Going to mutual support groups, such as 12-step meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous, or non-12-step meetings like SMART Recovery.
- Talking to a counselor.
- Checking your insurance coverage to see if treatment is covered.
- Asking your doctor for referrals to rehabs.
- Researching treatment centers online.
- Entering treatment.
Treatment isnt based on a one-size-fits-all approach it should take into account your specific and unique treatment needs. When considering a treatment facility, you may wish to ask specific questions, such as:17
- What kind of programs do they offer?
- What is their treatment approach/philosophy?
- Do they offer individualized treatment plans?
- How do they measure treatment success?
- What do they expect of you during treatment?
- How does the program handle/address relapse?
In general, the recovery process typically begins with detox, where alcohol is cleared from your body. This may involve medication or other interventions as needed so that you are medically stable so you can enter treatment.10,17 Depending on your specific needs, youll then enter either an inpatient or residential treatment facility or an outpatient rehab program so you can learn the skills youll need to avoid relapse and live a healthier, alcohol-free life.17
Caution: Cold Turkey Can Kill
The biggest hindrance to recovery is denial.
Weve all heard the saying, The first step to getting help is admitting you have a problem. The knowledge of addiction symptoms and ability to see them in yourself or a loved one can be the difference between recovery and overdose.
That said, if you do realize you have a problem, quitting cold turkey can be incredibly dangerous. That fact cannot be stressed enough. People have literally died from withdrawal symptoms. In cases where a chemical dependency has developed, detox is necessary.
New Start offers detox as well as residential treatment. During detox, we help our clients taper off of all drugs and alcohol slowly over several days to make the process as safe as possible. We also offer detox medications on a case-by-case basis to ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings.
If you or someone you know are struggling with addiction, our counselors offer free assessments 24/7 by phone:
Some Actions You Can Take:
- Read about the signs and symptoms of substance use.
- Observe the persons behavior closely over a period of days or weeks to understand what leads you to think there is a problem. This information will be good to have if you decide to talk with other family members about the situation, seek advice from a professional, or speak directly with the person. However, dont feel you need an exhaustive picture of the problem before.
- Contact a substance use professional, mental health professional, physician, employee assistance professional, guidance counselor, clergy or other helping professional to help you. Describe your family members substance use pattern to see whether the professional would deem it a problem. Provide details such as: type of alcohol or other drugs, how much the person is using, how often they are using, how long the pattern has continued, negative consequences, and the persons response to discussions or confrontations about substance use.
- Ensure that you and other family members are safe from potential physical or emotional harm. If there is a threat or possibility of physical violence, you should develop a safety plan.
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Drug And Alcohol Addiction Self Test
Identifying when substance abuse has turned to addiction can be complicated, especially when you are trying to evaluate yourself. When a medical or psychological professional wants to determine if someone is addicted to a substance, they use the criteria for substance use disorders established in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition . The following questions in this drug and alcohol addiction self test draw on the DSM-5 criteria to help you determine whether or not you need help overcoming addiction to drugs or alcohol.
If you answer yes to 3 or more questions per self test for drug and alcohol addiction, you may have a problem with alcohol or drugs. If a question isnt applicable, select no.
What Is Drug Or Alcohol Misuse
Drugs are substances that affect how the body functions. Illegal drugs such as ecstasy and heroin can be harmful and unpredictable. Unlike prescription medicines, there is no government organisation that regulates the quality or amount of active ingredients in illegal substances.
However, not all drugs are illegal. Alcohol is a legal drug that can be harmful if taken in large amounts or for a long time. Medicines that have been prescribed by a doctor can also be harmful if they arent taken as directed or are taken for non-medical reasons.
Drug and alcohol misuse isnt necessarily related to how often or in what quantity a person uses drugs, but the impact their drug use has on their life. Drug or alcohol use can become a problem when it starts to affect a persons judgement, relationships or general health and wellbeing. It can cause them to neglect other responsibilities such as school, work or family.
Drug and alcohol misuse is common. About 1 in 3 people in Australia drink alcohol at risky levels. Two in every 5 people in Australia have used an illegal drug at some point in their lives, including taking pharmaceutical medicines for non-medical purposes.
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Reducing Or Stopping Use Of Alcohol Or Other Drugs
Cutting down on alcohol or other drugs is hard to do because repeated alcohol or drug use makes the body more dependent and changes the brain. Brain scans of people who are dependent on alcohol or other drugs often show changes in the areas of the brain that help you learn and remember and make decisions.
The best thing you can do is to talk to someone you trust so you do not have to deal with this challenge alone.
Recommendations On Addiction Medicine
The Australasian Chapter of Addiction has developed a set of recommendations that the Royal Australasian College of Physicians is encouraging physicians to implement in their work and health services. The recommendations are as follows:
1. Do not undertake elective withdrawal management in the absence of a post-withdrawal treatment plan agreed with the patient that addresses their substance use and related health issues
2. Do not prescribe pharmacotherapies as stand-alone treatment for Substance Use Disorders but rather as part of a broader treatment plan that identifies goals of treatment, incorporates psychosocial interventions and identifies how outcomes will be monitored
3. Do not deprescribe or stop opioid treatment in a patient with concurrent chronic pain and opioid dependence without considering the impact on morbidity and mortality from discontinuation of opioid medications
4. While managing patients with Substance Use Disorder , exercise caution in the use of treatment approaches that are not supported by current evidence or involve unlicensed therapeutic products
5. Use a ‘universal precautions’ approach for all psychoactive medications that have known potential or liability for abuse including opioids, benzodiazepines, antipsychotic medications, gabapentinoids, cannabinoids and psychostimulants.Read more: Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine Choosing Wisely, Australia
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Actions For This Page
- Anyone can be affected by alcohol or other drug dependence.
- However, it can be difficult to recognise the signs of dependence.
- Becoming dependent on alcohol or other drugs means you rely on a substance to feel good or normal, or to cope with everyday life.
- If you continue to use alcohol or other drugs despite knowing the harmful consequences, you could have developed a dependence.
- If you think that you or someone close to you may have a drug or alcohol problem, speak with your local doctor or phone DirectLine on 1800 888 236. Its free, anonymous, and available 24 hours.
Addiction: What Is It
Addiction is a common problem, but help is available.
Addiction is defined as not having control over doing, taking or using something to the point where it could be harmful to you.
- work some people are obsessed with their work to the extent that they become physically exhausted if your relationship, family and social life are affected and you never take holidays, you may be addicted to work
- internet as computer and mobile phone use has increased, so too have computer and internet addictions people may spend hours each day and night surfing the internet or gaming while neglecting other aspects of their lives
- solvents volatile substance abuse is when you inhale substances such as glue, aerosols, petrol or lighter fuel to give you a feeling of intoxication
- shopping shopping becomes an addiction when you buy things you don’t need or want to achieve a buzz this is quickly followed by feelings of guilt, shame or despair
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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Addiction
Addiction is a serious disease. If you or someone you care about has a problem with addiction, talk to your provider right away. Treatments and support groups can help.
A note from Cleveland Clinic If you or someone you know is living with addiction, you may feel overwhelmed and out of control. But there is hope. Addictions are treatable. Through hard work and commitment, millions of people have overcome substance use disorders to live happy, healthy lives. Talk to your provider about a treatment plan that works for you. Dont get discouraged if you have setbacks along the way. It is possible to overcome this, and you are not alone.
How Can I Look After Myself While Supporting Someone
Supporting a friend or family member with a drug or alcohol misuse problem can be draining.
Here are some tips to help you look after yourself:
- Look after your physical and mental health by eating well and keeping active.
- Seek support from your own friends and family.
- Contact your GP for advice and support, or one of the organisations listed below.
- Take a break from the person if you need to. Let them know when youll be available again, so they dont feel abandoned.
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Recognising An Alcohol And Drug Problem
There is no particular type of person who becomes dependent on alcohol or other drugs. It can happen to anyone.
What starts as occasional use of a drug or one prescription of pain-relieving medication, for example, can get out of control as time passes especially in times of pain or stress. You may find you need bigger doses to get the same feeling or to lessen the pain. Eventually, you may depend on the drug to feel good or to get through your day.
Other signs that you are becoming dependent on alcohol or other drugs include:
- having intense urges for the substance this could be once a day or several times a day
- needing more of a substance to get the same effect
- fixating about making sure you have a constant supply of the substance
- spending money on the substance, even when you cannot afford it
- cutting back on social or other activities
- not meeting your work, family or study responsibilities
- lying to people about your alcohol or drug use when they ask
- doing things that are illegal so you can get the substance, such as stealing
- taking risks such as driving when you are under the influence of the substance
- trying but failing to stop using the substance
- experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop taking the substance.
Behavioral Manifestations Of Addiction
When friends and family members are dealing with a loved one who is addicted, it is usually the outward behaviors of the person that are the obvious symptoms of addiction.
Those behaviors are primarily centered around the addict’s impaired control:
- The excessive frequency of drug use in spite of attempts to control
- Increased time using or recovering from drug effects
- Continued use in spite of persistent problems
- A narrowing of focus on rewards linked to addiction
- An inability to take steps to address the problems
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Am I Overreacting To A Substance Use Problem
If you are noticing problems in friend or family members work, health, family, finances, relationships, social functioning, legal issues, self-esteem or self-respect, you are not overreacting.
Continuing to use substances in spite of the fact that such behavior is causing problems, is a problem in and of itself. It shows that substance use has become more important than the problems it causes. Someone who is unwilling to discuss the issue or consider whether there might be a problem is a strong indicator that a problem exists.
Following A Few Guidelines Will Help You Have A Discussion:
If the problem has only occurred over a short period of time or has not reached a severe stage, it is possible that the adult you care about could successfully cut back on the use of alcohol or other drugs. If the person has not tried cutting back, you could suggest this strategy as a first step. Some people in the risky stages of substance use, or even in the early stage of addiction, are able to cut back and consistently use only minimal amounts in the future.
You may find, though as many do that people who can cut back are the exception, not the rule. Many people try to cut down and discover that they cant, or that they can only cut back for a few days or a few weeks before resuming heavy or excessive use. Trying to cut down and failing may help the person realize that the problem is more extensive than once thought.
You may also find that the person is able to stop completely. But many struggling with addiction have tried this strategy and couldnt stop or remain abstinent for a significant amount of time. Ideally, the person should be assessed by a professional who can determine the best course of action depending on the severity of the problem and the persons medical, psychological, and social history. If you sense the person is willing to consider that there is a problem, suggest that an evaluation or a consultation with a trusted medical or mental health professional.
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How Do I Know If Someone Needs Help For Their Drug Or Alcohol Use
It can be difficult to tell if a person is consuming harmful levels of drugs or alcohol, especially if theyre trying to hide their drug or alcohol use.
Some drugs can result in noticeable physical symptoms, including:
- pupils that are larger or smaller than normal
A person may be misusing drugs or alcohol if their use leads to:
- difficulty keeping up at school or work
- relationship or family problems
- legal or financial difficulties
- injuries for example, due to accidents or violence after using drugs or alcohol
If you know that someone is using drugs or alcohol, they might be at risk of developing a problem if they:
- find it difficult to cut down or stop using
- spend a lot of their time trying to find or use drugs or alcohol
- use increasingly larger amounts of substances over time
- use substances more often over time
- have unpleasant symptoms when stopping or cutting down on drugs or alcohol
However, not everyone who misuses drugs or alcohol wants help.
Its also important to know that people may experience symptoms similar to those listed above but for reasons that arent related to drug use. This is especially true of young people coping with the challenges of adolescence.
If you arent sure whether a person is misusing drugs or alcohol or needs help, start a conversation to see if theyre OK.
Signs Of Cocaine Abuse
Cocaine is best known in its white powder form. Most often, this drug is snorted, smoked, or injected. As cocaine is a stimulant, one of its hallmarks is that its main effects wear off around 30 minutes to 2 hours after the last use. In addition to the general signs of drug abuse discussed above, cocaine has some specific side effects, including:
- Increased energy
- Fast white lady
As Medical News Today discusses, cocaine is highly addictive and the strongest natural occurring stimulant in existence. Cocaine addiction is associated with dramatic personal losses there are reports of professionals spending $20,000 to $50,000 on cocaine binges, parents selling their children, and people becoming unemployed, having to file bankruptcy, and ending up homeless. It is clear that cocaine use can spiral out of control. For this reason, the earlier the abuse is intercepted, the better.
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Legal Drugs Vs Illegal Drugs
People can become addicted to illegal drugs, legal drugs, and prescription medications used in an unhealthy way, such as:
Nicotine, including cigarettes and vaping
Misusing prescription medicines like opioids, or over-the-counter medicines by taking them in a different way than intended, such as:
Taking medicine prescribed for someone else
Taking a larger dose than prescribed
Using the medicine in a different way than directed, such as crushing and snorting or injecting
Using the medicine to get high on purpose
The risks and speed of developing an addiction depend on the drug. Some drugs, like opioid painkillers, cause addiction very quickly. Drugs have a strong effect on the brains reward system, by filling the brain with a chemical called dopamine which produces the feeling of being high. Over time, the brain gets used to the larger amount of dopamine so it needs larger doses of the drug to get high. Some people might feel like they need the drug to just feel normal. When drugs are used for a long time, they damage the areas of the brain responsible for judgment, decision-making, memory, and learning.
No matter the type of addiction, if you recognize symptoms, it is important to seek the necessary help. Contact us today to take the first step.