“Rehab is like college for your head.”
– James Hetfield, American musician/songwriter
for the heavy metal band Metallica
Talking of rehab and music, do you remember the Amy Winehouse song “Rehab”? Where she sings the line “They tried to make me go to rehab. I said, No, no, no! ”?
In real life, and as much as she clearly needed professional help, Amy refused – she never did actually attend a rehab facility, just like the song. On the release of the song “Rehab,” Amy Winehouse became a famous star and a global brand. With just that one song. Sadly, within 5 years, and her disorder left untreated, she was dead.
As dramatic as that is in itself, the premise is clear – unless drug addicts and alcoholics, or those who regularly heavily abuse drugs or alcohol (or both) for an extended period of time, receive the professional addiction treatment they need, their future is not a promising one.
If their disease – a medically-recognized chronic and relapsing brain disorder – is left untreated, it will only get worse, until one day, it’s simply too late. Sometimes, they will die prematurely because of the extensive damage their addiction has inflicted upon their physical body – heart disease, liver disease, like cirrosis, or some other chronic medical condition.
However, some do go on to live reasonably normal lives, although, to varying degrees, blighted by their addiction.
And sometimes, for many, hitting their “rock-bottom” really is the end.
Makes you think, doesn’t it? You may even feel prompted to open up your device’s search engine and type the following… “drug rehab near me.” If that’s the case, do it.
This article isn’t intended to frighten or shock you unduly. It’s written for one simple purpose. It’s to finally persuade you that if you, like around one-eighth of the U.S. population, are struggling with a substance abuse problem, and certainly if that has now become an actual addiction, the very best course of action you can take is to seek professional advice, and if that results in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program at a recognized medical facility, then so be it.
You need help, and that help is available to you right now.
Here are 3 clear warning signs that you may need help, and you may need rehab.
Substance Misuse is Your Main Priority
Our first clear warning sign requires a sense of honesty from yourself. In fact, the whole process of seeking help and recovering from substance misuse, or Substance Use Disorder (SUD), to give its correct medical term, needs complete honesty – with yourself, and with your loved ones. That admittance that you are now no longer in control of your substance use is a vital first step that you need to be taking.
If your desire to use drugs or drink alcohol as you wish, foregoing all other things, has now become your main concern, then that is what it is now – a concern, and a serious one, at that. Choosing substances over things that used to matter to you or that you need to do, eg. work, seeing your friends, or studying, is one of your first warning signs that all is certainly not as it should be. So, be honest with yourself, and ask yourself that question. Answer truthfully.
Regardless of what you may be thinking, a SUD never, ever gets better on its own.
Substance Misuse is Affecting Your Health
One of the issues with having a SUD is that it will affect you both physically and mentally. The physical damage may be clear or not; however, it is there. You may even choose to gloss over your seemingly endless state of irritability, your lack of decent sleep, or that constant stomach upset. Here’s why…
Mentally, your substance misuse is affecting you on a quite fundamental level – it’s changing the way you think, and that is a fact. That’s the power of an addiction – medically described as a chronic relapsing brain disorder. Your brain under the influence of drugs or alcohol is one that is physically altering – neurotransmitters are getting redirected – permanently, and your cognitive ability is getting worse. In layman’s terms, you ain’t thinking straight. You may even experience increased anxiety or even bouts of depression – for no real reason.
Only by understanding both the physical and mental damage being inflicted upon you while suffering from a SUD will you begin to understand that such a disorder will not heal itself – it will get worse, too. For many, significantly worse.
Substance Misuse Doesn’t Affect You Like It Used To:
You Need More
Your first proper “full-on” high from whatever substance you used at that time will be the best ever high you experience. That, too, is a fact. You will spend the rest of your life chasing that same experience, that same pure effect. Your search, however, will be in vain.
Oh, you may move from beer to whiskey, or from weed to coke, changing the substance, but the same applies. It’s one of the reasons that those addicted to their opioid pain medication when that is no longer available or too expensive to get on the black market, move on to heroin. Yes – heroin. It’s sad, but it’s true.
As a regular abuser of substances, you will build up a tolerance to that drug. During your first time, you are unaccustomed to a drug’s effects, so you will feel them intensely. As your tolerance increases, those effects decrease. It’s not called “chasing the dragon” for no reason whatsoever.
Because of this constant desire to experience that same high once again, people use more of their substance of choice. And that is the simple reason that overdoses happen, causing severe physical distress to your body – inducing coma, and even death.
“Like College For Your Head…”
In many ways, Mr. Hetfield of Metallica is right – rehab is quite a lot like college for your head. It’s also an A&E room for your body. Substance Use Disorders have a direct effect on both your mental and physical health, and rehab will treat both of these.
By getting you away from the use (and abuse) of substances, your brain will get the chance to begin its own recovery, assisted greatly by psychological therapy, support groups, and education about addiction itself. Many rehabs offer additional services, such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and other therapies, as well as yoga, mindfulness and meditation classes.
Physically, if the level of your substance abuse requires it, you’ll be detoxified from the substance and its associated toxins – detox, in other words. Withdrawal symptoms will be medicated for, and so reduced, and your cravings throughout the process will be lessened. After that, you will be given a healthy and nutritious diet, as well as regular exercise, for the duration of your rehab program.
Hopefully, you’ll be well on your way to recovery when you leave and equipped with the tools you need to stay sober. Godspeed.