Do You Need to Go to Rehab? How to Know Your Habit Is an Addiction

“Should I go to rehab?”

“How will rehab help me?”

“How do I know if my habit is even an addiction?”

If you’re asking these questions, you’re not alone.

About 24.6 million Americans over the age of 12 had used illicit drugs sometime in the past two months.

That’s about 9.4% of the United States population – a noticeable increase from the 2002 statistic of 8.3%.

To put this into perspective, walk down any busy street or through a shopping center and count the people walking by. On average, every tenth person you see has likely used illegal drugs within the past month.

But that’s not all. Nearly 21 million Americans over the age of 12 have a substance abuse problem.

This means, on average, nearly one in twelve of the people you encounter on the street have probably had an admitted substance abuse problem. And this doesn’t account for people who can’t, or won’t, admit to being addicts.

So, if you’re asking if you should go to rehab, you’re not alone. But, is your habit really an addiction? If so, how can rehab help you? What is the average success rate?

This article will help you answer these questions, starting with the most important one…

“Is My ___ Habit an Addiction?”

This is a hard question to answer on your own; mainly because drug addiction literally tricks your brain into believing that your addiction is a good thing. We’ll explain how this happens in a moment.

First, according to the World Health Organization and the American Psychiatric Association, an addiction has to meet three or more of the following qualifications:

  1. Tolerance: your body is building up a tolerance to the substance, requiring you to increase your use (frequency and/or dosage) over time.
  2. Withdrawal: you experience emotional or physical symptoms (irritability, anxiety, shaking, sweating, nausea, vomiting) every time you try to stop using.
  3. Limited Control: once you’re sober again, you regret how much you drank or used the previous day or night.
  4. Lifestyle Consequences: your health, family life, social life, career or self-image is suffering as a result of your use.
  5. Neglect of Activities: you often put off, or completely neglect social, recreational, career or household activities as a result of your use.
  6. Waste Time and/or Energy: you spend a lot of time and/or energy planning how you’ll get access to the substance, or how you’ll conceal your use of it (of the symptoms of your use) from family members, friends and/or coworkers.
  7. The desire to “cut back”: you’ve made multiple, unsuccessful attempts to control, reduce or eliminate your use of the substance.

If three or more of these sound familiar, chances are you’re dealing with an addiction.

But again, you’re not alone.

The good news is, if you’ve admitted to an addiction and are considering rehab, you’re already on the right path. Only about 2.2 million of the almost 21 million addicts ever get treatment.

That’s only one out of ten addicts who have the courage to get help.

“How Did I Get Addicted to ___?”

It’s normal for an addict to feel helpless or out of control.  It actually means your brain is working like it’s supposed to. The problem is your addiction is exploiting the natural functions of your brain.

For example, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, your brain responds to drug use by flooding its reward circuits with positive messages.

These messages are delivered in the form of a naturally occurring feel-good chemical called dopamine – a neurotransmitter which increases feelings of euphoria, safety, and self-confidence.

Under normal circumstances, your reward chemicals motivate you to eat, to sleep, to connect with loved ones and to engage in other perfectly normal and necessary behaviors.

But, by using drugs, you “trick” your brain into rewarding you for something that is not good for you. In other words, your brain has its own “drugs” which it uses to reward you every time you use whatever chemical or substance you’re addicted to.

But that’s not all.

As you continue to use drugs, your brain adapts by numbing its ability to feel the full impact of its own reward chemicals. This means, in order to feel the full impact again, your brain demands more stimulation from the substance.

This means more drug use, more stimulation, to which your brain responds by numbing the cells in its reward center, making you more and more dependent on the substance.

This is how addictions inhibit your capacity for learning, stress management, memory, decision making, judgment, behavior control.

Many times, addicts have to take heavier, more frequent doses, until their brain is screaming out for the very thing they’re trying to stop using.

So again, it’s normal for an addict to feel helpless to stop or to cut back.

It’s also normal for addicts to try and hide their problem from friends, family members or coworkers.

It’s nearly impossible for “Normies” (a term often used to describe non-addicts) to really understand the complexities of addiction.

According to an article from the National Institute for Drug Abuse, if you’re suffering from addiction, you’ve likely heard things like this:

  • “You could stop if you really wanted to.”
  • “You just don’t care enough to stop.”
  • “You need to practice some self-control.”
  • “If you loved yourself, you’d be able to stop.”

In reality, addiction is a complicated disease which takes more than willpower, self-love, or discipline to beat. It exploits the natural functions of your brain, and it doesn’t care how smart, talented or decent and moral you are.

It’s nearly impossible for normies to understand this because they’ve never had to experience it. But a look into the mind of a true addict paints the gritty, high-definition picture of what it’s like to be trapped in the cycle of addiction.

This condition is impossible to describe to someone who has never been addicted and cannot see inside the mind of an addict. So again, it’s normal for an addict to feel like no one can understand what they’re going through.

The good news is that people who reach out for help and go to rehab have a much, much better chance of recovering and living a normal, happy and productive life.

“How Can Rehab Help Me?”

By now, you know that addiction recovery isn’t simply a matter of changing your thinking and behaviors. Addiction changes your body chemistry and brain function in ways that you can’t just turn off.

This is why the most successful addiction treatments focus on complete recovery, in mind, and body. Thankfully, many people, from ordinary, to famous, have gone on to beat addiction and enjoy sobriety. Still, other people get help or go to rehab, only to suffer multiple relapses before finding freedom.

Anyone who knows about addicition understands that the road to recovery is just as hard for rich and talented people as it is for ordinary people. Statistically speaking, the likelihood of addiction relapse, which is between 40% and 60% is similar to the relapse rate of other chronic diseases, including asthma, diabetes, and hypertension.

What’s the difference between people who go to rehab and recover and those who spend years on the merry-go-round of addiction?

It depends on how through, personalized and customized their addiction treatment is.

You don’t have to be an addiction specialist to figure this out. Common sense tells you that a 22-year-old addict with a history of addiction in their family needs a different treatment than the 35-year old housewife who only recently developed a painkiller addiction.

You instinctively know that the 45 year-old-alcoholic who spent thirty years repressing a childhood riddled with sexual abuse, needs a different treatment than the 25-year-old college student who got addicted to Vicodin after a back injury.

Our intervention specialists talk to people all the time who have been let down by one-size-fits-all recovery programs, or treatments that don’t address the entire problem.

It doesn’t matter what the issue is. People have been treated for alcohol addictions, crack-cocaine addiction, crystal meth addiction, heroin addictions, marijuana additions, benzo withdrawal, Xanax withdrawal, painkiller addictions, and addictions to benzodiazepines, and much more.

One thing to know is that the more thorough, customized, and personalized your rehab experience is, the better your chances are of enjoying a successful recovery.

“What’s the Next Step If I Decide to Go to Rehab?”

If you, or someone you love, meets the criteria we discussed in this article, the next step is to talk to an intervention specialist.

Our specialists can help you schedule an addiction intervention and/or choose from one (or a combination) of the following three levels of care,

  • Detoxification

Drug and alcohol detoxification treatment helps flush your body of harmful toxins left behind by: alcohol, prescription drugs, opioid painkillers (i.e., oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, fentanyl, methadone), benzodiazepines (i.e., Klonopin, Xanax, and Ativan), MDMA (aka ecstasy or Molly), methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine or crack.

Since the detox period is uncomfortable, you can also get professional help when managing your withdrawal symptoms.

Detoxification is often the first step for a lot of people entering one of the following rehab programs:

  • Inpatient Residential Treatment

Addiction recovery is more successful with help and support. This is why inpatient residential treatment offers the benefit of working with experts and in a group setting, where you’ll build the habits for breaking the cycle of addiction.

You’ll be welcomed into a safe community and receive 24-hour care in a treatment facility. Inpatient rehab experts will help you assess the causes of your abuse habits and help you develop and enforce healthy behaviors as alternatives.

  • Outpatient Treatment

Patients choose outpatient treatment as an alternative to the full-time commitment required during inpatient residential treatment.  Some patients also choose this option for maintenance or to prevent relapses.

Outpatient is a part-time program designed to accommodate patients who have work or school obligations. The treatment focuses on group therapy multiple times a week, with one-on-one therapy once a week or a few times a month.

Outpatient treatment gives you the option of partial hospitalization or straight outpatient treatment. These are details which your intervention specialist will discuss with you.

The important thing to remember is that people who go to rehab have a much better chance of recovering than those who try to do it on their own. If nothing else, rehab gives you the opportunity to meet other people, just like you, who have their own bouts with addiction. It’s always nice to know that you’re not alone.

Why Not Get on the Road to Recovery Today?

More than 14,500 specialized substance abuse treatment programs are available in the United States, offering a variety of care options.

Sadly, over 95% of people who needed specialty substance abuse treatment didn’t get it and didn’t think they needed it. But sobering statistics show an exponential rise in the amount of drug-related deaths in the United States.

This doesn’t include health problems which are caused by drug use, but which don’t take their toll until later in life.

The good news is, a personalized and professional treatment plan can be very successful. About 10% of Americans over the age of eighteen claimed to be in recovery after a bout with drug or alcohol abuse. So, if you or someone you love is asking these questions…

“Should I go to rehab?”

“How will rehab help me?”

…we hope this article has given you some answers. If you’re ready for the next step, feel free to talk to an addiction specialist right away. We’re ready to help you get on the road to sobriety today.