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Do I need rehab? When is the right time to seek treatment?

By Tim Woodley

Is my drinking or drug use causing me or others problems? Am I addicted? Do I ‘need’ treatment? Would I be wasting my time?

These, and questions similar to them, are familiar ground for the Help Me Stop team. They speak of that challenging time in a person’s life when they begin to question their substance misuse, be it alcohol, drugs or both. In this article, we’re going to advise you on how to better understand – and answer – these most important of questions.


Is my drug or alcohol use bad ‘enough’?

Often the first of many questions a person misusing substances will ask to themselves, the question of being bad ‘enough’ is a dangerous one. Unfortunately, much of popular media and celebrity news paints a very drastic, decisive image of a person who is ‘ready’ for treatment; exorbitant substance misuse, a perversely glamorous downward spiral and a climactic landing at rock bottom.

This does the average person living in the real world little good. For most individuals, their personal battle with alcohol and drugs, including the misuse of prescribed medication, involves many more shades of grey. Relationships and careers slowly erode and decline, and the actual quantity or frequency of their use may vary drastically.

In our experience, a person is likely ‘ready’ for treatment simply when they think they have their substance use under control, but realises truthfully they don’t. For some recovered individuals, this occurs before significant damage is done to their lives. For others, the realisation comes after prolonged substance misuse and the deterioration of relationships, career and overall quality of life. There is no ‘one picture’ of substance misuse.


I haven’t hit rock bottom yet

Rock bottom is, perversely, used by many as a crutch and justification to continue misusing substances. The notion is somewhat understandable; you are waiting until things ‘get bad enough’ so that you will have enough motivation to affect lasting change.

In truth, rock bottom has nothing to do with how much you have suffered or lost in your life due to your substance misuse. It’s simply the decision that things have gone far enough – and that’s a decision you have the power to make at any time in your life.


My friends are worried

A reliable indicator of your potential issues with substance misuse is your family and friends. Perspective can be a fickle thing; in the mind of the individual misusing alcohol and drugs, they may well consider themselves fully in control and capable in conducting their lives. In a way, this may actually be the case; high-functioning while still misusing alcohol and drugs is a perfectly real phenomenon and often clouds the notion of a problem in the individual’s mind.

Simply put, if your friends and loved ones are speaking their concerns to you, it’s likely serious already. For most, speaking concern to a person over their substance misuse comes after a prolonged period of silent worry and observation; it’s less common that a friend or family member will ask you about your alcohol and drug use on their very first time seeing a symptom of misuse.

A further warning sign relating to friends and loved ones is their absence. If you find your world shrinking around you, with your relationships steadily being substituted for the substances you are misusing, you likely already have a serious issue that needs professional support.

This is doubly true should it be the case that you find yourself hiding your substances and their misuse from those close to you and around you. A similar sign is you surrounding yourself with people using substances as much or more than you; this can help justify the denial that you’re ‘not as bad as them’ or that all your friends are ‘doing the same as me, so it’s not a problem.’


I’m too busy to go to treatment

It’s understandable that time and schedules are a barrier to treatment for many adults. The obligations of family and work need to be met, and many have an unrealistic view of treatment that involves such a commitment of time, money and energy that they will never be able to meet it. The good news? You don’t have to be rich to afford rehab away from home in a Grade II listed building in the country. Great treatment should – and will – work around you.

In the case of Help Me Stop, our breakthrough Dayhab treatment model is new and different from the norm. Our programme is non-residential and intensive and is designed to fit around working hours and family obligations. Due to our treatment model being non-residential it’s also available at a fraction of the cost of ‘traditional’ rehab, without any decrease in your likelihood of success – there is, in fact, evidence that Dayhab is more successful than traditional residential treatment.

If you would like to learn more about our treatment service and how it differs from the norm, feel free to visit this page of our website. If you’d like to chat with a member of the team directly, you can do so by calling us at 0208 191 8920 or by emailing us via our contact form.

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