The 20.2 million adults aged 18 or older with a pa st year substance use disorder represent about 8.4 percent of the total population of adults.
In 2014, 2.5 million adults aged 18 or older received treatment for alcohol or illicit drug use at a specialty facility in the past year. This translates to 1.0 percent of the total adult population (Figure 5) or 7.6 percent of adults with a past year substance use disorder (data not shown) receiving substance use treatment in the past year.
Most SUDs in the United States are related to alcohol use, and the long-term trends indicate that the nation has made progress in reducing the prevalence of past year alcohol use disorders among adults.
“Functional” Addicts & Alcoholics
To many individuals, the words “Addict” and “Alcoholic” are very taboo. However, when you consider that the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMSHA) most recent numbers on the topic indicate that almost one in ten people have a substance abuse disorder. When you consider the amount of people that “fly below the radar” out there who are genuinely suffering as a result of their substance use, the number is probably much higher.
If you take a look at the DSM 5 criteria for substance abuse disorders that we used to create this article for you, it’s immediately obvious how complicated this condition really is. When many people think of addicts or alcoholics, their mind immediately jumps to extreme cases. For example, homeless people you see on the street, parents who neglect their kids, drug dealers and people who are physically dependent on drugs and alcohol. However, it’s important to remember that addiction lies on a spectrum.
You may be doing okay right now, and if you are that’s great. When considering whether you need rehab or not, it’s important to “zoom out” and take a look at the bigger picture. You see, one of the main markers of this disease is that it tends to progress over time. In order to figure out whether you need rehab or not, you’ve gotta take a long, hard look in the mirror and examine your life.
This can be incredibly difficult to do, for multiple reasons. That’s the insanity of the whole thing.
Getting Honest With Yourself About Needing Rehab For Substance Abuse
When it comes to pretty much anything else in life, when bad things happen it leaves a mark – sometimes physically, but almost always mentally. You lock your keys in the car a couple times and get stuck in the cold, then eventually you start checking your pocket before you lock the door. After a child burns his hand on the stove, he generally doesn’t do it again.
When it comes to drugs and alcohol though, things start to get twisted. Obviously we put this stuff into our bodies to achieve an expected result. Whether it’s to escape our problems, to relieve ourselves from pain, having fun with friends, or simply to feel good, nothing quite does it like mind altering substances. With those amazing highs often follow some pretty terrible lows. The difference here is that when you burn your hand on the stove, there is no payoff. That’s why things can become so confusing.
I would suggest for anyone even searching on this topic to reach out and talk to someone. Here’s why: as humans we’re extremely good at justifying things that objectively shouldn’t be justified. We see it all the time in the government, at work, and even in our social circles. It’s probably not a good idea to draw any conclusions based on what you hear from a friend or even family member because they may have their own biases that block their judgement as well.
We’re here if you want to talk. Most everyone that works with Seachange Recovery has had their own bouts with addiction. We’re not here to judge, in fact, helping you helps us remember why we got sober in the first place. Who better than to discuss this stuff than with someone who has already been through it? If that doesn’t make sense, there’s lots of very low cost online counseling available that might give you a better gauge of where you’re at.
You can call us 100% privately with confidentiality at:
Or, you can call SAMSHA’s hotline for professional advice:
It’s really scary making the leap to discuss what’s going on with you with a professional because not only is this stuff taboo, but very few people want to admit that they have a mental illness. It’s the reason why you see so many walking around on the streets, totally lost and miserable. Guess what? A lot of these people you see were once lawyers, executives and very respectable people.
In conclusion, just because you have your life together in the way society tells us we should – the job, the family, the accomplishments can all disappear before you even realize what happened. It happens all the time. It’s happened to me.
Rehab For Addiction
Drug addiction, also called substance use disorder, is a disease that affects a person’s brain and behavior and leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medication. Substances such as alcohol, marijuana and nicotine also are considered drugs. When you’re addicted, you may continue using the drug despite the harm it causes.
The Mayo Clinic is a coalition of over 4,500 doctors that are dedicated to solving the toughest public health challenges that we’re currently facing. It’s safe to say that these guys know what they’re talking about. When you consider their definition, this whole addiction thing really boils down to two things:
You’ve wanted to quit before but didn’t
Your habits are negatively affecting your life but you don’t want to, or aren’t ready to do anything about it
If you identify with either of these statements, it’s important to remember that the longer you wait, the harder it’s going to be to get it figured out down the road. Maybe you feel like you can control it but don’t need to – well, that’s literally what every person with substance use disorders believe.
“I can quit anytime I want”
Nobody’s calling you crazy here. That said, the point remains. The stuff we do while under the influence is undeniably crazy though. If you find yourself under the influence more often than not, it’s a valid thought to consider the lines might be getting blurred for you. That’s why the only way to tell whether or not you need rehab is to talk to a professional.
Sometimes it’s easier to just keep your head buried in the sand. Eventually the day will come where you either come up for air, lest the fear kills you.
Biggest Reasons You Might Consider Rehab
Binge Drinking & Substance Use
In many cases some of the most troubled people we’ve seen come in the door here at Seachange Recovery weren’t using everyday. They held down their job and even their relationships. It’s alot easier to contain your condition to certain scenarios when you know the tendency is to go completely overboard, blacking out and/or doing things you regret.
On the surface it doesn’t seem that bad, but binge users are the kinds of people that often find themselves in a jail cell facing serious charges. Can you imagine how awful it would be to have your entire life turned upside down in just one night? It happens all the time.
Drug and Alcohol Dependency
When people think of drug or alcohol dependency, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the heroin junkie who gets sick without his drugs. The hopeless alcoholic who wakes up shaking in the morning and needs a drink before anything else. However, it’s so much more than that..
First, let’s take a look at the literal definition of the word dependent:
[ dih-pen-duhnt ]
- relying on someone or something else for aid, support, etc.
- conditioned or determined by something else; contingent:
- Our trip is dependent on the weather.
- subordinate; subject:
- a dependent territory.
Dictionary.com has some interesting ways of defining the word. My favorite, in the context of drug and alcohol dependency, is #4. Too often we find ourselves a slave to certain things without even realizing it, telling ourselves the good outweighs the bad. How do you feel when you imagine what it would be like to go 100% sober for the next 30, 60, or 90 days? The more the idea turns you off, the more likely you need rehab.
Drug and Alcohol Addiction
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), people begin taking drugs for a variety of reasons, including:
- to feel good — feeling of pleasure, “high” or “intoxication”
- to feel better — relieve stress, forget problems, or feel numb
- to do better — improve performance or thinking
- curiosity and peer pressure or experimenting
All four of the reasons sound like a pretty good reason to keep going out and using if we’re being honest. When thinking about whether you need rehab or not, it’s vital to take everything into account though. When does drug use cross over into drug addiction? I’ll give you a hint: Being mentally or physically dependent isn’t it. People can be dependent on their prescribed meds even though they’re taking them the way they’re supposed to. While that is a reason in itself for a medical detox, addiction is oftentimes much more complicated.
Let’s take a look at the American Psychiatric Association’s Definition of the term addiction:
Substance use disorder (SUD) is complex a condition in which there is uncontrolled use of a substance despite harmful consequence. People with SUD have an intense focus on using a certain substance(s) such as alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drugs, to the point where the person’s ability to function in day to day life becomes impaired. People keep using the substance even when they know it is causing or will cause problems. The most severe SUDs are sometimes called addictions.
Another group of doctors trying to distill such a complicated condition down to a few words. Apparently the word addiction comes into play when a substance use disorder becomes severe. At the end of the day, it’s only you who can decide how severe your condition is. Many people, even when going to the professionals, tell them the same stories they’ve been telling themselves all these years.
Getting Honest With Yourself About Needing Rehab
The biggest reason why only 1 out of 8 addicts decide they need rehab is because it can be so hard to get honest with yourself. Especially when you have drugs and alcohol messing with your brain chemistry. Especially when it’s so much easier to just sweep this stuff under the rug with another drink, another hit, another trip into oblivion.
As you look over the mental and physical indicators of addiction below, I hope you can do so honestly. Too many people have asked themselves the question: “Do I Need Rehab?” only to convince themselves of what they want to believe rather than the actual truth.
[Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.]
I’m not a medical professional, so we’ll leave it once again to the mayo clinic to break this down for us:
Drug addiction symptoms or behaviors include, among others:
- Feeling that you have to use the drug regularly — daily or even several times a day
- Having intense urges for the drug that block out any other thoughts
- Over time, needing more of the drug to get the same effect
- Taking larger amounts of the drug over a longer period of time than you intended
- Making certain that you maintain a supply of the drug
- Spending money on the drug, even though you can’t afford it
- Not meeting obligations and work responsibilities, or cutting back on social or recreational activities because of drug use
- Continuing to use the drug, even though you know it’s causing problems in your life or causing you physical or psychological harm
- Doing things to get the drug that you normally wouldn’t do, such as stealing
- Driving or doing other risky activities when you’re under the influence of the drug
- Spending a good deal of time getting the drug, using the drug or recovering from the effects of the drug
- Failing in your attempts to stop using the drug
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to stop taking the drug
- Problems at school or work — frequently missing school or work, a sudden disinterest in school activities or work, or a drop in grades or work performance
- Physical health issues — lack of energy and motivation, weight loss or gain, or red eyes
- Neglected appearance — lack of interest in clothing, grooming or looks
- Changes in behavior — exaggerated efforts to bar family members from entering his or her room or being secretive about where he or she goes with friends; or drastic changes in behavior and in relationships with family and friends
- Money issues — sudden requests for money without a reasonable explanation; or your discovery that money is missing or has been stolen or that items have disappeared from your home, indicating maybe they’re being sold to support drug use
What If I Should Go To Rehab But Don’t?
The fact is, if you identified with even one of the above, chances are you could benefit from going to rehab. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose by at least talking to a professional. Nobody plans on getting cirrhosis of the liver, nobody plans on finding themselves in a permanent psychosis. Nobody really knows what will happen if someone suffering from addiction doesn’t go to rehab – but it usually results in jails, institutions, or death.
These days, rehabs like Seachange Recovery provide a very comfortable experience and an opportunity for growth no matter how far your disease has progressed. It takes place in a residential setting with others just like you. It provides the chance to get away from the people, places, and things that are holding you down in one way or another.
I wish you the best of luck in your future, and hope that you too may find and trudge the road of happy destiny.