When you finally decide enough is enough and that it’s finally time to get help, the relief is so overwhelming it can bring you to tears. Many addicts say it’s like waking from a long, horrible nightmare.
The good news is that the journey to recovery is not one you have to take alone. There are a multitude of treatment options which can address your specific needs while also allowing you to maintain your belief system and personality. The biggest challenge you’ll face will be dealing with the unresolved issues that led to your addiction.
Mental Health Disorders and Addiction
Subconsciously at least, unresolved issues are often at the heart of why addicts resist getting help. For certain addicts, substance abuse is a consequence of their desire to self-medicate. While psychiatric medications often work well for those with mental health disorders, many individuals may feel reluctant to seek help from a psychiatrist due to stigma. Sometimes even the appropriate medication does not fully satisfy an individual’s need for relief. In many these instances, it’s not uncommon for the affected individual to turn to alcohol or illegal drugs to treat the illness. Special treatment arrangements should be made for those suffering from addiction linked to mental health problems.
Recovery is equally daunting for those without a clinically diagnosed psychological or psychiatric condition. Knowing they must endure a painful detox and the symptoms of withdrawal is one thing, but realizing they must also address the shame and guilt associated with the addiction and its underlying triggers is quite another. For many addicts, dealing with the day-to-day misery of addiction is much more appealing than the dealing with the raw emotional reckoning of recovery. The reality of what they’ve been through—both before their addiction and during it—can be a burden that’s almost too great to bear.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs of addiction are rarely easy for an outsider to see. Most addicts, to varying degrees, have mastered the outward appearance of normalcy while maintaining a secret life of addiction. Generally, people who know the addict well can detect a difference in personality, which can be quite extreme. This is often why addicts tend to withdraw from the people who know them best. They might disappear for days, or slip away for long periods of time to undertake ordinary or mundane tasks. Confrontation or intervention is never pleasant, but it’s almost always necessary.
The symptoms of addiction are equally difficult to recognize. This is because different substances manifest themselves differently from person to person. Cocaine may create paranoia in one person, but so might marijuana. Heroin may cause certain people to appear sleepy, but so might valium or xanax. The best way to tell if a loved one is abusing a substance is to look for behavioral cues. These might include unprovoked rage, inappropriate giddiness, or generally exaggerated reactions to ordinary situations. Sadly, the addicts who often need the most help are ones who are the best at hiding their symptoms.
The first step toward recovery is an acknowledgement from the addict that it’s time to get help. Regardless of the love and concern shown by friends and family, recovery cannot begin until the addict agrees that treatment is necessary and buys in to the concept of a 12-step program.
Because addiction and psychiatric disorders can sometimes go hand-in-hand, assessing the condition of the patient is of primary importance. This includes developing a proper diagnosis, including any mental health conditions that could be contributing to the addiction, and identifying the proper course of treatment to deal with the underlying issues associated with the addiction. Once a treatment plan is developed, recovery can begin.
An Integrated Approach
Since addiction and recovery impact more than just the person in treatment, returning to a normal, productive life isn’t always easy. That’s why treatment should include individual, group, family and educational therapies. When integrated with the 12-step program, this approach provides patients with the best opportunity to succeed in recovery and remain abstinent.
At High Focus Centers, we employ both evidence-based and holistic approaches to treatment, and we help our patients get the resources they need to find their way back to normalcy. If you’re ready to get help, contact us today, or learn more about the type of care we provide.