Do I Need Rehab? Can I Do it Alone?
Accepting that you have a problem with substances takes a lot of courage, and it’s often the most challenging aspect of recovery. If you’ve gotten to this point, you should be proud of yourself for making brave choices about your health and your future. The next important step is choosing your recovery path.
You may have lots of questions, and the coming weeks, months, and years may feel daunting. In this blog, we look at the question: Do I need rehab? Can I do it alone?
Recovery from substance use is not an easy process, and there are many challenges ahead, but nobody regrets getting sober. A life without substance use can give you a life of hope, opportunity, health, and happiness.
We look at the benefits of engaging in different forms of treatment and give you a guide to making the right choices for you.
Everybody comes to recovery in different ways. You may be aware that you have a problem with your drug or alcohol use but are unsure how to proceed. Or, you may be living in denial that you have a problem, comparing yourself to ‘worse cases’ of addiction. Or, maybe you have already stopped using and are at the start of treatment but are looking for advice on the best options.
Whichever situation resonates with you, the most important first step is acceptance. Sometimes this can be a complex process, as substance misuse comes in many shapes and forms. In the United States, we use criteria defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which helps professionals to diagnose cases of substance misuse.
- Using substances in a way that is damaging to you or others around you
- Relationships damaged by substance use
- Failing to fulfill responsibilities due to using, being high or hungover
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms
- Trying to quit but being unable to do so
- Being preoccupied with using or obtaining the drug
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using
Although these are the main indicators of a substance use disorder, there are other features that may exist. If you are concerned that you, or someone in your life, is struggling with substance misuse, perhaps the best option is to seek help from a medical professional or mental health services. Reaching out can feel scary, but it’s the best thing you can do for your body and mind.
What Are the Dangers of Substance Abuse?
We all have a reference point for addiction or substance misuse, sometimes these come from films or books, and sometimes we know somebody who struggles with substance abuse issues. In fact, every addiction is unique, and there is no ‘standard form’. Regardless of what substance is used, and to what intensity, abusing drugs or alcohol can have severe impacts on mental and physical well-being.
Some short-term health risks of abusing substances include:
- Accidents while under the influence, such as when driving
- Risky or unprotected sex
- Hangover or comedown resulting in severe physical and psychological symptoms
- Accidents resulting from drunk driving
- Violence and aggression
- Loss of ability to judge situations appropriately
Some long-term health risks of abusing substances include:
- Organ disease
- Organ failure
- Mental health disorders
The good news is, regardless of what substance you are addicted to and regardless of the extent – help is available.
There are a number of ways you can begin to engage with recovery. Depending on your personal circumstances, mental and physical health history, and support systems, you may start by confiding in a trusted friend or family member. Having a support system around you who have your best interests at heart is one of the most beneficial ways to remain sober.
In the early days of recovery, it’s especially important to surround yourself with supportive people who make healthy lifestyle choices. If those around you cause stress, upset, or are triggering due to their own drug or alcohol use, this can cause you to relapse. Additionally, some friends may have your best interests at heart but may engage in ‘enabling behavior’ which will not support your recovery. Enabling behavior can manifest in many ways, some common examples are denial of the person’s problem, justifying their drinking or drug abuse, or avoiding confrontation.
Other than social support, reaching out to professional support from the beginning is the most effective way of achieving a sober life. Whether this is your local family doctor or an addiction treatment service, or a licensed mental health counselor, they can all advise you on the best way to proceed with your treatment.
Crucially, professionals can offer an official diagnosis of substance use disorders, including addiction and abuse, as well as co-occurring disorders which may be contributing to the issue.
Specialist help can advise people on the most effective treatment for their specific case, which is more likely to result in the person getting sober and staying that way longer.
Can I Recover Alone?
It’s common for people to consider going alone at the beginning of recovery. Although for some people, this may work, it’s not common to succeed in this way. Accessing professional care brings many benefits, including ensuring your safety during detox, teaching you about the roots of your addiction, helping you establish healthy coping mechanisms for triggers, and encouraging healthy lifestyle choices.
Depending on the substance you are recovering from, the risks of recovering without medical supervision can be severe. For example, withdrawing from substances such as opioids, painkillers, alcohol, and benzodiazepines can be dangerous if done without medical supervision. Professionals can help to manage the dangerous and distressing symptoms associated with the withdrawal period.
The Dangers of Detoxing Alone
Addiction to drugs or alcohol can be both physical and psychological. Physical addiction is when the body becomes used to the presence of the substance and cannot function properly without it. Psychological addiction is related to the emotional and cognitive aspects of addiction, such as strong cravings or overwhelming thoughts about using.
Cutting out a substance rapidly can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms in both physical and psychological addictions. Symptoms vary between drugs, but typical withdrawal includes:
- Very low mood
- Anxiety or paranoia
- Hallucinations and delusions
- Suicidal ideation
- Shakes or tremors
- Heart failure
- Delirium tremens
Some of these symptoms can cause severe distress, while others can be life-threatening. The only safe way to recover from such drug or alcohol abuse is under the care of trained professionals who understand the detoxification process and know how to perform it safely.
Benefits of Rehab for Drug or Alcohol Addiction
In addition to reducing the risks of withdrawal, rehab can bring a number of additional benefits. Through structured treatment and recovery programs, you can begin to understand the roots of your addiction and address the psychological elements of your substance use disorder. Substance abuse and mental illness often co-exist, and you cannot heal from one without healing from the other.
Recovering in a treatment facility provides you with the safety and security of round-the-clock care. This can include accessing medication to ease symptoms of withdrawal. Qualified nurses and doctors are on hand to ensure your safety throughout the treatment process.
Recovery programs that are run through a center can provide you with a sense of community and support which can be difficult to find outside. Social support is a crucial element in avoiding relapse and is proven to increase the chances of sustained recovery.
A quality treatment provider will create a customized treatment plan to suit your recovery needs. They will consider the following factors when tailoring a program:
- The intensity of your alcohol or drug addiction
- The substance you used
- Any co-existing mental health conditions
- Social support
- Family members with physical or mental illness
What Form of Treatment Can I Expect?
Accepting that you need help and rehab is a crucial step. Following this, you need to consider your treatment options. No two cases of addiction are the same, and this means treatment should reflect this and be specific to your needs. Below we look at some of the options available.
Detox is the first step for the majority of people in recovery. Most rehab centers offer a detox program that can last between five and ten days. This is an opportunity to rid your body of the substance and any toxins. Without detoxing, it is very difficult to move through to the psychological aspects of recovery.
Some people will benefit from a thirty-day treatment program. This is usually an appropriate amount of time to move through the detox process and then begin to work on understanding your substance use, developing coping strategies, and caring for your physical health. Thirty-day programs are often covered by health insurance, and they strike a balance of being comprehensive without taking you away from work and other responsibilities for too long.
Sixty Days Plus
Some people will benefit from a longer period of treatment. Depending on the center, this could be anywhere between up to three months. This is especially beneficial for those who have co-existing mental health conditions or poly-substance abuse disorders. These programs allow time for establishing healthy routines such as meal and sleep schedules, physical exercise, and mindfulness practice.
This can feel like a long time to be away from home, but for some people it’s better in the long run as it reduces chances of relapse and further need for treatment.
Aftercare is crucial for many coming out of rehab. Regardless of how successful your time in treatment was, readjusting to everyday life can be daunting. Even if you have the best intentions, stressors and triggers can upset your recovery work. Aftercare provides you with the security, support, and care you need in the early days of transitioning. These programs can continue for months or even years after you leave treatment, and they will commonly offer flexible plans where you can increase and decrease the level of engagement as it’s needed.
Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment
Another important aspect to consider is whether you will choose inpatient rehab or outpatient. An inpatient treatment program will see you engaging in treatment at the facility, as well as eating and sleeping on the premises. This ensures the management of your withdrawal symptoms with round-the-clock care.
Some people will choose outpatient rehab instead. This is where you take part in treatment and therapy sessions in the treatment center, but you return home to sleep. The number of hours and sessions will depend on your circumstances, but you will return home to fulfill family and work responsibilities.
If you are seeking treatment for alcohol or drug addiction, reach out to a treatment provider to learn about the different options.
Addiction Treatment for Substance Misuse
Evidence-based therapy treatments are increasing, and there are now a wide variety of options for people in recovery. Alongside traditional talk therapy, many treatment facilities offer alternative and holistic therapies to increase your chances of sustained well-being and long-term recovery.
Treatments could include the following:
- Individual therapy sessions such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- 12-step group programs
- Addiction education
- Sports facilities
- Sauna and pools
- Yoga and meditation
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Life skills development
- Experiential therapies
- Dual diagnosis
- Support groups
- Family members and couples therapy
Effective treatment usually combines a number of these, ensuring both your mind and body are being cared for.
Executive Addiction Recovery At Brookdale
If you, or someone you know, is seeking addiction treatment, Brookdale Recovery Center could be your answer. Situated in Pennsylvania, Brookdale offers exclusive treatment in a tranquil environment situated in the Pocono Mountains. It offers premier programs that emphasize privacy and luxury, ensuring clients feel comfortable and safe to embark on their journey to sobriety.
Our diverse team of experts has extensive experience in supporting people through their recovery in a way that respects your responsibilities and everyday life. We carefully balance the importance of comprehensive treatment with your other priorities working towards a lasting recovery.
If you or a loved one is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, get in touch with us today. You can access information on our website or by calling us at 855-575-1292.