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How to Move from Thinking About Treatment to Action

How to Move from Thinking About Treatment to Action

Once you come to grips with addiction as an illness, it can lessen the pain of accepting the fact that you might need help

It typically takes time for an individual to move from thinking about treatment to actually starting the recovery process. You can take several steps to limit this in-between stage and start regaining your healthy life. Let’s be honest for a moment – if you think you need treatment, you probably do. The sooner you start, the sooner you will recover your true self.

Do Your Homework

Many times an individual finds himself overwhelmed by the treatment process simply because he does not understand what is coming. Each person comes into a treatment program with certain thoughts around what it should look like, but these opinions are often based on poor information. The best way to combat this source of anxiety is to gain knowledge about the recovery process. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has published principles of effective treatment. These principles are the building blocks for any addiction recovery program.

  1. Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior.
  2. No single treatment is appropriate for everyone.
  3. Treatment needs to be readily available.
  4. Effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual, not just his or her drug abuse.
  5. Remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical.
  6. Behavioral therapies — including individual, family or group counseling — are the most commonly used forms of drug abuse treatment.
  7. Medications are an important element of treatment for many patients, especially when combined with counseling and other behavioral therapies.
  8. An individual’s treatment and services plan must be assessed continually and modified as necessary to ensure that it meets his or her changing needs.
  9. Many drug-addicted individuals also have other mental disorders.
  10. Medically assisted detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment and by itself does little to change long-term drug abuse.
  11. Treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective.
  12. Drug use during treatment must be monitored continuously, as lapses during treatment do occur.
  13. Treatment programs should test patients for the presence of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases as well as provide targeted risk-reduction counseling, linking patients to treatment if necessary.

Having a strong understanding of these tenets of effective treatment programs can serve as a foundation for an individual’s expectations.

Remember Addiction is a Chronic Illness

More often than not, individuals tend to view addiction as closer to a bad habit like biting your fingernails than a disease. This is flat out untrue. Studies have shown over and over again that addiction is a chronic illness. Addiction has both biological and behavioral components that must be addressed in recovery. Once you come to grips with addiction as an illness, it can lessen the pain of accepting the fact that you might need help.

Viewing addiction as the chronic illness it is brings a new perspective. The comparisons are hypertension and diabetes, instead of biting your fingernails. Now, it is much more reasonable, and even expected, that you would seek help.  For the diabetic to refuse insulin and eat a sugar-laden diet would be seen by many as irresponsible. If the person with high blood pressure stated she just wanted to live her life her way while eating an overly fatty diet every day, most would think she was acting dangerously and that her disease might cost her her life.

Considering rehab does not make you a failure. Rather, it is finding the right support and education to battle a chronic disease.

Your Friends and Family Miss the Real You

The most important reason to seek rehab before your life hits rock bottom has nothing to do with jobs or the definition of addiction as a chronic illness. It has everything to do with the people in your life – your friends, family and coworkers. They all miss the real you, the you that is not bound by addiction. They miss the constancy of your behavior, and they miss knowing how you are going to react to unexpected circumstances.

They miss being able to trust you, and feeling free to demonstrate their love for you. They miss you. And if you are honest with yourself, you probably miss you too. You miss being able to control yourself, rather than losing control to urges. The bottom line is this: addiction is always a risk, and one you must remain vigilant against in every way. Having a community around you makes this vigilance easier, because you do not have the bear the burden alone. If you wait too long for rehab, you might have to do it alone.

A Change in Mindset is Necessary

You should not expect to get through a treatment program without some deep lows. This is a tough process, and one with many ups and downs. Keep you eye on the future goal of a clean life, of restored relationships, and you will find the strength to push through. Visualize a life free of the shackles of addiction, one where you are able to be the best you possible, and the struggles will feel more manageable.

The cost of addiction is too high. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. We can help you. We can answer your questions. The admission counselors at our toll free, 24 hour helpline can help you learn more about addiction. They can help you find your way.