Common Addiction Questions Answered

One of the scariest parts about drug or alcohol abuse is that it’s very difficult for a person to know when they’ve crossed the line. When does substance use become a full-blown addiction?

It may be time to get treatment but you may not even know it. This FAQ provides real, straightforward explanations about what addiction looks like and what you can do to get help. Click on any of the questions below to see our answer.

What Is Addiction? What Are the Signs I’m Addicted?

Addiction refers to a chemical change in your brain that happens as a result of chronic drug or alcohol abuse. Over time, the brain makes adjustments to account for the presence of addictive chemicals. It isn’t long before the absence of these chemicals causes the addict to experience harmful symptoms.

These symptoms may take the form of severe side effects when a person’s substance of choice is unavailable, such as nausea or body pain. Another common symptom of addiction is a personality shift. As the brain refocuses its efforts on obtaining drugs, the addict may make new friends and lose interests in once-familiar activities.

Addiction looks different from person to person, but eventually it always involves sacrificing your normal, productive life in order to keep doing drugs.

Illicit Drug Educational Resources

Is Alcoholism an Addiction?

Yes, alcoholism refers specifically to alcohol addiction, which has its own set of health symptoms and consequences to go along with the self-destructive behavior of the problem drinker. Alcoholism also poses unique risks for individuals in part because it is so widely (and legally) available.

Alcohol Educational Resource

Can I Get Addicted to Prescriptions Even If I’m Prescribed Them?

Certainly. Similar to addictive substances, certain prescription drugs can lead to a higher tolerance in the patient’s system, and their body will eventually make changes to account for the new chemicals. This is extremely relevant if you are taking prescription pain pills, aka opioids, which often require patients to take larger and larger doses to get a palpable level of relief.

Patients who begin to take larger doses than their doctor recommends or find themselves visiting multiple doctors for additional refills are likely on the verge of, or already immersed in, an addiction problem.

See Our Prescription Drugs Resource

How Can I Get Addiction Treatment Help?

The best way to get help for your addiction is to get yourself into professional treatment. You may need medical help to safely get the drugs out of your system, especially if you’ve been struggling with alcohol, opioids, heroin or benzodiazepines.

After going through the medically supervised detox process, you’ll need help figuring out how to stay sober and rebuild your life. An experienced addiction treatment provider can help you move past your addiction for good, through inpatient and/or outpatient services, as well as ongoing care.

Understand Treatment Techniques

What Is the First Step to Getting Clean?

The first step to getting clean is to go through detox, but you don’t want to try this at home. Going through detox under medical supervision will make the process much more comfortable. Some detox facilities will offer you medication and possibly supplements and nutritious meals to help ease you through the process. Withdrawal can be fatal in some instances, so this is why you don’t want to try to detox by yourself.

Simply completing detox won’t kick your addiction, though. The chemicals may be out of your body, but other physical and mental effects of addiction will take much longer to overcome.

It’s best to try to enter an inpatient rehab program after the detox phase, but an outpatient program may work instead. It’s best to listen to the advice of professionals and determine what your insurance plan will cover in order to figure out which level of care you should enter after detox.

How Long Does Treatment Typically Take?

To truly give yourself the best shot of overcoming addiction for good, you should look to receive treatment for 90 days – or even longer. Not all programs last that long, and not all insurance plans cover that length of treatment, but try to spend as much time in rehab as you can – whether in an inpatient or outpatient program.

No matter what you do, make sure the facility you choose offers robust aftercare services, including, but not limited to:

  • Ongoing group and individual counseling
  • Alumni events
  • Support group referrals
  • Sober living availability
  • Counselor or case manager who will check in on you regularly

Will Treatment Help Me If I’m in Trouble with the Law?

Treatment will certainly help mitigate future run-ins with the law, but if you have charges pending as you enter rehab, your treatment center may not be able to shield you from the full legal consequences. That being said, many treatment centers do offer legal services such as transporting clients to court dates or allowing them to Skype with lawyers, judges and others who may be involved in their case.

Alternatively, some courts may order individuals to enter treatment or face prison time, so if the former option is chosen, then treatment technically is helping the person with his or her legal problems, at least as far as staying out of jail. Certain judges may also be more lenient toward defendants who have already entered rehab and shown good behavior since the charges in question.

What Can I Do to Prevent Relapse Once I’m Clean?

Relapse prevention skills are a body of tools that are usually handed to a client as he or she is going through rehab. The coping mechanisms one learns will differ from person to person. The client also needs to identify his or her personal triggers and cravings and know what to do to either avoid them or overcome them when they present themselves.

Having a sponsor or a sober coach or partner also helps immensely during the post-treatment phase. Weekly or bi-weekly attendance of AA or another support group is highly recommended as well.

Developing healthy habits will also help individuals ward off relapse. Many take up new sports and exercise regimens, while others practice yoga, mindful meditation, etc. Eating a nutrient-rich diet and getting sufficient sleep are crucial to this practice, as well.

More Relapse Prevention Techniques

Our Team Can Answer Other Addiction FAQs

Have more questions about addiction that need answers? At Reflections Recovery Center, our rehab experts want to offer all the help they can. Explore our site to find out more information about addiction and how we might be able to assist you with treatment.

Want to ask us a question directly? You can get your answer quickly by giving us a call or sending us a message via our contact page.

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