The first step for many people seeking to recover from substance abuse is to enrol in a rehab program. The rehab offers the best chance to recover and improve the quality of life. The reality, however, is that far too many people who are battling addiction prefer to deal with the challenge alone.
In many cases, this proves to be difficult. An individual can determine the point at which a rehab program is needed by identifying some specific indicators. This article will highlight these factors.
Table of Contents
- 1. Dependence & addiction
- 2. Signs of addiction
- 3. Opposition from friends
- 4. Support at rehab
- 5. Benefits of rehab
- 6. Is there a right time?
- 7. Why don’t people want help?
- 8. Choosing the right programme
- 9. Motivations to go to rehab
- 10. Dealing with questions
- 11. Dealing with temptation
- 12. Duration of treatment
- 13. Common myths about rehab
- 14. References
Understanding the Difference Between Dependence and Addiction
Addiction and dependence are closely related and so can be very confusing. The ability to distinguish between addiction and substance dependence is useful in understanding the nature of addiction and starting the journey to recovery.
In general terms, addiction describes a compulsion to take a drug or substance or engage in harmful behaviour related to substance abuse. In most cases, addiction is characterized by mental and physical reliance on a given substance.
Individuals can develop addictions to drugs, prescription medicine, and activities such as gambling. Addictions are so persistent that individuals can relapse into drug use even after recovery. Addiction leads to a lack of control over substance use even in cases where the substance poses harmful consequences.
Addiction causes uncontrollable and compulsive cravings that compel a person to continuously use the substance. It is important to realize that addiction is a psychological chronic disease that requires treatment.
Other common characteristics of addiction are failure to meet society, employment, and family obligations. It is common for addiction to cause withdrawal if the use of the drug is ceased.
Dependence, on the other hand, is associated with the physical symptoms of withdrawal and tolerance. Dependence may be present without addiction, but it often accompanies addiction. Physical dependence can occur with the use of drugs including prescription drugs.
Dependence is caused by changes in the body due to prolonged exposure to a drug. Drug dependence can be treated. A doctor can slowly decrease the dose of the drug over time and minimize the dependence.
It is prudent to identify and deal with substance dependence since this can lead to addiction.
Common Signs of Addiction
While the experience of addiction is unique for different individuals, some signs that are common to most people who have an addiction. These signs may be classified under physical, social, and, behavioural signs.
- Unusual increase or loss of appetite. Addiction can disrupt the normal appetite cycle leading to diminished nutrition and unhealthy weight loss. For example, cocaine and Methamphetamine can reduce the appetite thereby causing individuals to forget to eat regularly. They eventually begin to lose weight
- Loss of sleep. Many addictive substances cause sleep disturbances. Research has shown that there is a bi-directional relationship between insomnia and addiction. Failing to treat insomnia can increase the likelihood of relapse
- Change in physical looks. Addiction can change a person’s physical appearance for the worse. The person may neglect hygiene and appearance. The decrease in appetite causes the individual to have a thin, skeletal, and frail look. Addiction can also lead to a dry mouth and poor dental hygiene resulting in bad breath, rotten teeth, and gum disease
- Tolerance. Individuals who use drugs for a prolonged time can build up a tolerance to them. Tolerance is caused by the body adapting to the effects of the substance leading to reduced effectiveness over time. They increasingly need more of the drug to achieve the desired effects
- Withdrawal. Drugs can cause withdrawal symptoms when an individual stops using them abruptly or attempts to reduce their usage. The withdrawal symptoms include trembling, mood swings, and other abnormal behavior
- Reduced involvement in hobbies. Addiction wholly pre-occupies an individual and it is common for the person to abandon previously enjoyed hobbies in favor of the substance use. Previous hobbies increasingly fail to provide enjoyment and pleasure any more
- Poor relationships. Addiction can take a toll on a person’s valuable relationships. The changes in mood and temperament become repulsive to everyone. The addiction unapologetically destroys relationships with loved ones and also the simple everyday encounters with other people and friends
- Legal troubles. Most drugs that cause addiction are legally prohibited and the addiction can lead to costly legal problems and imprisonment. The addiction also leads to dangerous, reckless, or desperate behavior that can also get one into trouble with the law
- Denial. Denial is a very common sign of addiction. This is because addiction normally causes feelings of shame, self-hatred, and low self-worth. Admitting that one is struggling with addiction requires deliberate effort to end the behavior. But the process is painful and unpleasant. Denial is therefore is triggered to protect an individual against this process
- The nature of friends. As addiction increases, the nature of friends begins to change. The new circle of friends is often a result of shared addiction. The new friends may be a part of the company that caused and encouraged the addiction in the first place. Increasingly, it becomes more difficult to create new and more meaningful relationships
- Secrecy. People in active addiction are very secretive. They go to great lengths to hide their behavior from those around them
- Difficulty in quitting. Quitting an addiction is difficult because addiction is a brain disease. When someone tries to stop using an addictive substance, they feel very sick for a while. They experience a very strong urge to use the substance again. It can be really difficult to stop taking the substance when feeling that bad
- Escapism. The genesis of substance abuse can normally be traced to personal problems. The individual starts using the substance as a solution to those problems. Unfortunately this solution ultimately becomes the problem. As the problems persist, the substance use worsens
- Self-isolation. The substance user may withdraw and isolate themselves due to perceived stigma, depression, or paranoia
- Drug-seeking. The substance user may spend excessive amounts of time, effort, and resources on finding the substance
- Taking risks. Addiction can lead to risks such as fatal overdoses and other risks. Increased substance use normally leads to impaired judgment. The user ends up taking risks that they would otherwise not have taken when sober
Dealing with Opposition from Friends About Going to Rehab
Friendship is the most important thing any person struggling with addiction can have. The right friends can make us better people. They can help us to improve our moral character by encouraging and giving us more opportunities to practice virtue.
The opposite is also true; those wrong friends can also bring us down. People struggling with addiction crave friendship and acceptance even more due to increased insecurities. It, therefore, becomes problematic when such friends do not support the idea of going to rehab. 
The decision on whether to go to a rehab centre ultimately lies with the individual. It would be prudent to evaluate the advice given by friends based on rational and objective criteria.
Such criteria could be as follows:
- Are those friends struggling with substance abuse? If they are active in their addictions, they are likely incapable to offer the best form of moral advice. It is also likely that the advice will be selfish in very real ways. They may want to retain companionship for their habits
- Do those friends know about addiction and the rehab process? Unless a friend is qualified to give a diagnosis, it is better to have a health professional analyse the situation objectively
- Were the friendships formed in a period of soberness? True and reliable friends would be the ones made during a period of soberness. They are likely to be aware of the vulnerability of the substance user. They are likely to have the best interests at heart
- Do those friends help justify bad behaviour? The friends should call out on the individual when the addiction seems to get worse
- Do those friends perform normal activities sober? If the friends cannot partake normal activities without using the substance, they are most likely enabling your addictive patterns and will not encourage rehabilitation
- Will they put you down for seeking help? It is important to consider how those friends react when the individual seeking help proposes to go to rehab. Is their reaction filled with negativity and sarcasm?
- Do those friends have a life beyond drugs? The friends should have a life beyond drugs such as engaging in hobbies and spending quality time with their families. If their social life revolves around using or procuring drugs, they are likely to discourage a person from going to rehab making the addiction worse
Types of Support Offered by Rehab
- Influence: When a person is addicted to drugs, they must maintain and control the influence of these drugs to obtain a feeling of normalcy. A rehab gets the addict off the substance and its influence. They provide therapies and counselling to counteract the cravings
- Detoxification: The rehab uses medically assisted detoxification to manage and reduce any withdrawal symptoms and ensure safety
- Education: Rehabs educate the patient and the family members to accept and understand the diagnosis. This also improves their view of the causes and effects of the illness, which broadens the client’s view. This way, a relapse risk is lowered and recovery improved
- Psychological support: Addiction normally causes stress and other negative emotions which puts a patient under further risk. Rehabs offer therapies that improve a patient’s ability to conquer stress and harness the power of mindfulness. This is useful both during and after rehab
- Medication: Rehabs offer medication to deal with related symptoms such as insomnia
- Follow-up: Recovery from substance addiction does not end at rehab. Many rehab facilities have quality follow-up programs and this helps patients to return to their daily lives 
Benefits of Going to Rehab
Rehabs provide professional and medical support available around-the-clock. This is useful in preventing relapse. Patients also benefit from peer support from colleagues in the same program. Peer support is a critical aspect of treatment and is necessary to maintain long-term sobriety. Peer groups formed during the program form strong bonds that extend beyond the program.
2. Conducive, safe, and supportive environment
One of the pillars of addiction recovery is staying in an environment that supports recovery. Rehabs provide a safe environment conducive to positive influence and recovery efforts. This environment offers privacy and restricts external influence. This enables individuals to have a better focus on healing and recovery.
3. Structured program
Rehabs have well-defined structures that prevent the patient from seeking access to drugs and addictive substances. The structure also provides activities that keep individuals busy such that they have less time patient to think about the drugs.
4. New friendships and alumni
Rehabs offer patients an opportunity to develop strong friendships. Most rehabs also offer alumni programs. The new friendships at the rehab make the whole stay more enjoyable. The friends are also likely to understand what the individual is going through. Sober friends from rehab are more likely to provide support when needed even after the rehab program is over.
5. Medical support
People in rehab normally experience unpleasant symptoms caused by decreased use of the drug. This causes stress to the body and mind and can cause illness. With close access to doctors at the rehab, these symptoms can be managed with drugs.
Rehabs offer various alternative therapy options that will help people throughout recovery. Theses may include yoga, meditation, and physical exercises. Therapies manage stress, improve mental concentration, and boost the overall physical and mental health of a person.
7. Customized learning
Rehabs often personalize and customize the program for each individual depending on their unique treatment needs. The learning is also changed with time to adapt to the healing and recovery process of the individual. Every addiction is different and personalized programs get to the heart of these personal specific struggles.
8. Aftercare services
This is the follow-up treatment for a patient after the initial rehab program is over. Aftercare programs help clients ease back into their daily lives without falling back into addiction. Aftercare programs also empower patients to be able to work by themselves on what that may be left unfinished from their primary treatment
9. Individual wellness
Wellness programs are included in the addiction treatment plan. Health and wellness activities promote a positive outlook and confidence. Wellness incorporates exercise, nutrition, and other activities deemed necessary. Continuous improvement in health and wellness contributes to progress towards recovery from substance abuse .
10. Relapse prevention
Rehabs equip their clients with relapse prevention techniques to help them maintain recovery and achieve short- and long-term goals. With time the patient learns to implement these coping skills, which help to prevent relapse and allow the individual to live a more fulfilling life.
Is There a Right Time to go to Rehab?
When is the right time to go to rehab? The simple answer is now and there are several reasons for this.
Treatment is expensive but addiction can cost more. These costs include the direct costs of the drugs and the cost of broken homes and relationships. Any delay in going for rehab leads to greater costs and losses.
Addiction is controlling and this worsens with time. It is likely that if rehab treatment is not taken up immediately, it gets harder as the addiction progresses.
The cost of treatment may change with time and it is better to deal with current known cost than future uncertain costs.
Addiction can be deadly and there is no guarantee that there will be a second chance to go for rehab. It is better to take the treatment immediately with no unreasonable delay.
Why many people do not seek treatment for alcohol addiction
A survey was carried out by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The following reasons that cause many people not to seek treatment for addiction were identified.
- Not placing value on the need for treatment: Many people did not seek treatment because they did not see the need for it. Despite the damage that addiction often causes, these people do not see the value in seeking treatment
- Unwillingness to stop: This may be due to denial about addiction and the individual may also feel helpless and incapable of stopping the addiction. Low self-esteem can also cause individuals to believe that they do not deserve any improvement or change. Other obstacles are bad company and influence from friends, a fear of change, and previous treatment failures.
- Not affordable: The cost of alcohol rehab programs varies depending on the scale of rehabilitation required. Some facilities offer free services or flexible fees. These facilities however may have long waiting lists and patients may be required to provide proof of economic need
- Possible negative effects on the job and career: Many people avoid getting treatment for alcohol addiction because they fear that this could hurt their job and jeopardize future employment prospects. A possible remedy would be to talk to the employer about addiction and possible treatment
- Concern about the negative opinion of others: Many people struggling with substance use have an overwhelming feeling of shame and fear that people will mock them and judge them. Addiction has an insidious way of creating shame and fear and seeking help and treatment can increase feelings of embarrassment. For many people seeking help, there is a fear that their condition might become public knowledge
- Lack of information about where to go for treatment: When a person is caught up in the addiction cycle, it can be difficult to identify the place to go for help. This can be worsened by feelings of hopelessness and guilt. They may not have the energy to carry out research. Not knowing where to go for treatment should not be allowed to stand in the way of getting help
- Lack of a program offering the type of treatment required: Many people do not have confidence that rehab programs work. They base their conclusions on case examples of known people who relapsed into addiction again after leaving rehab. So far, rehab is the best-known treatment for alcohol addictions
Many people get reformed after leaving rehab but their stories are not featured as often as those who do not attain their objectives. Individual effort is needed to have a positive outcome. Individuals battling addiction can have a positive outlook and enrol for rehab.
Choosing the Right Rehab Program
Choosing the right rehab program is one of the most important choices that can be made. There are many programs to choose from. Factors to consider when choosing a program include the following:
- Whether to go for inpatient or outpatient program
- The variety of treatments and therapies offered
- Amenities provided in the program
- Location of the facility
- The length and cost of the program
Some of the rehab programs and therapies normally offered include medication-assisted treatment, dual diagnosis treatment, trauma-informed care, cognitive behavioural therapy, and 12-step concepts.
With so many options available, it might be a difficult choice to make. There are dedicated treatment professionals available to help in selecting a suitable program in an atmosphere of compassion and respect. They can be found on the internet and the local directories.
Kinds of Motivations for Entering Rehab
People struggling with addiction can seek treatment from a variety of motivations. Here are some examples of common motivations:
The risk of harm arises from a person's potential to cause harm to themselves or others due to the addiction. This can be due to suicidal thoughts and intentions. Other risk factors include the risk of an overdose or getting involved in an accident.
- Potential harm can be mitigated.
- Fear is a powerful force that can lead to motivation to achieve total recovery.
- Waiting for a risk incident for motivation can occur after the risk has occurred. For example, reforming o avoid an accident after an accident has already taken place.
- It is possible to develop immunity to fear and hence the motivation may not be effective anymore. Substance abuse causes individuals to take high risks.
This motivation draws its strength from the fear of losing something important such as financial support and other benefits. This is a forceful form of motivation. It can be used when other gentler methods fail.
- The method can be effective since the consequences of non-compliance are significant.
- This motivation can be utilized at any time when needed
- The individual learns that there are consequences in life for all choices that are made
- This method of motivation can strain relationships. The individual might hold a grudge for being denied support which might be perceived as an infringement of some basic rights.
- The threat of discipline does not empower an individual to take positive deliberate steps and may not work when the deprivation factor is no longer available.
This motivation can occur when an individual is compelled by the courts to go to rehab. Courts can grant this order if sufficient justification is presented.
- The method is very effective since legal consequences are serious. Compliance may not be an option.
- Legal options have strict monitoring procedures that can ensure the individual strictly follows the reform path.
- Legal measures can strain relationships leading to resentment
- The individual can rebel by deliberately engaging in substance abuse to punish the family and society.
This is the best option and can work where there is an environment of trust between a parent and a child.
- This motivation can endure for long due to the personal commitment of the individual.
- It preserves family relationships due to the atmosphere of trust and encouragement
- It takes time and effort to cultivate this motivation.
- Addiction desires may be too strong even to a well-meaning individual. Recovery may not be easy.
How to Deal with Questions after Rehab
A lot of people in recovery take the program based on total honesty. When people ask questions about rehab, it becomes a difficult choice to balance between honesty and personal information disclosure. It is important to note that honesty does not mean telling the whole story.
What should someone do with curious people? One option is to give information on a need basis. To share the kind of information that will serve a useful purpose and not necessarily satisfy curiosity for the sake of it. In most cases if people need to know, they probably already know.
The relationship with the person will normally determine the response to the questions about rehab. Close people including family are likely to be genuinely concerned and having the best interests at heart. They may deserve honest and detailed answers.
The motive of the question is also important. Someone may ask the question to use the information to assist someone else in a similar situation. The mental state of the individual after leaving rehab should determine the response given. It is better to politely ask for time before answering the question until a later time.
How to Deal with Temptations
For many people in recovery, temptations often cause a relapse. At the heart of relapse is temptation. Without adequate guidance, knowledge, and discipline, it can be extremely hard to resist temptations outside of rehab.
Temptation could be a bar across the road or the sight of a preferred drug dealer. It could be an emotional state of depression or low self-esteem. The good news is that there are ways to control and avoid temptation.
Understanding that addiction is a disease of the brain enables an individual to have a state of mind to deal with the temptations. It is important to gather and understand all the facts about addiction.
Another way to deal with temptations is to substitute the cravings with something else. A plan can be made for these moments by making a list of things to do when temptations arise.
It is helpful to stay around supportive people both at the rehab and in society. Most people who relapse do not have supportive people around them. Such supportive people can either keep the mind off the cravings or remove the person from the tempting situation.
Other ways to deal with temptation include therapy, lectures and seminars, proper nutrition, exercises, and regular medical care.
What is The Duration of Rehab Treatment?
It is important to recognize that rehab is a very personal journey and recovery from addiction will be different from one person to another. The type of addictive substance is also a key determinant of the duration of treatment. There is no single universal formula for treatment because every form of addiction is different and unique.
Rehab treatment periods usually last from 30 days to a year. The best program is the one that brings the highest chance of long-term success. Most addicted individuals need at least three months in treatment to get sober and initiate a plan for continued recovery. Better outcomes occur with longer treatments.
Common Myths and Misconceptions about Rehabs
There is a persistent negative social stigma attached to rehab. Many of these myths and misconceptions are caused by inaccurate media portrayal. Rehab is an experience that very few people will ever go through, and the unknown’ is received with a sense of trepidation and mystery. This is the major reason why many people struggling with addictions do not and seek help.
Below are some common misconceptions.
- Rehab is only for rich and famous people. Many cases of rehabilitation reported by the media are linked to rich people and celebrities. This creates the impression that rehabs are not intended for common people. The reality is that most people who enrol in rehab programs are average people
- Rehab is only for heavy drug users. Rehabs deal with different kinds of addictions with different severities. Most of the addiction cases in rehabs are alcohol-related and not hard-drugs
- Rehab is not expensive. The majority of rehab centres are affordable. Rehab centres are not similar and they charge different rates depending on amenities offered, just like any other services like hotels. Premium rehab facilities may offer premium room service, but these are not very necessary. The bigger focus should be on the treatment and service offered
- Rehab is only for convicts and the mentally ill. This myth is not true. Rehabs are meant for people who need help to stop substance abuse before the progression deteriorates. Many of these cases are not extreme in nature. Addiction is a mental illness irrespective of the severity. In the UK, criminal rehabilitation is not a common occurrence. The best way to see rehab is to view it as a place of rest and recovery, designed to tackle the physical, psychological and psychological aspects of any addiction
- Rehab is boring and unbearable. Often, rehab clinics will make an effort to ensure that the mind of the client stays active during your program. Many rehab clinics also offer helpful therapies such as massage, reflexology, and other healing Techniques
- Rehabs are about religion. Most Rehabs do not focus on religion and those that do would normally make this clear from the start. Many rehabs focus on the 12 Step method 
- Rooms are shared with many people. Most rehab clinics have shared rooms that can accommodate 3-4 people. However, staying in these types of rooms is not mandatory. The rehabs may offer private rooms at a higher cost
- Forced cold turkey treatment works. This is not true. Detox undertakings in rehab are medically assisted. It is not medically recommended to go cold turkey
Addiction is a brain disease and should get the same attention and urgency as other chronic diseases. Rehab treatment should be sort at the point of initial diagnosis before the addiction gets out of hand. It is never too early to get help.
Thinking about your options?
We offer high-quality rehabilitation & detoxification services tailored to your individual needs.
To discover your road to recovery away from alcohol, call us today on 0800 088 66 86.
Keith stopped using drugs and drinking alcohol more than 10 years ago. He now spends a lot of time writing and editing content for this website. His mission is to assist people who are also looking to embrace addiction recovery. Keith believes a key way to accomplish this goal is through his writing.