8 Popular Excuses for Avoiding Addiction Treatment
The list of reasons why you avoid addiction treatment is probably very long, and also very sincere. Most of the time, people with substance use disorders genuinely believe in the excuses that block them from getting the addiction treatment they need. The reality, however, is that even the most popular of these excuses can be dismissed quite easily with a little investigation and information. Understanding addiction and addiction treatment options can break down the barriers that are keeping you from living the healthy, happy life you deserve.
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Signs You Need Addiction Treatment Now
- An inability to control when, how much, or how often you use
- Drug or alcohol cravings
- Suffering withdrawal symptoms when you cut down or stop using
- Changes in sleep patterns (insomnia, sleeping too much or too little)
- Impaired coordination or speech
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sudden weight changes
- Unexplained mood swings
- Unusual or risky behavior
- Relationship difficulties
- Legal problems
- Financial problems
- Hostility or defensiveness when someone brings up your substance use
Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap in America
Over 20 million Americans need addiction treatment, but only 10% of these people receive it.
This treatment gap contributes to an epidemic that led to more people dying from drug overdoses than from car crashes in 2015. In that same year, alcohol led to the deaths of almost 88,000 people. Drug overdose is currently the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50, and this is made all the more tragic by the fact that overdose fatalities are preventable with effective substance use education and addiction treatment.
Getting more people into addiction treatment should be a national priority if we are to stem this tide of needless death. Raising awareness about addiction and addiction treatment can help, as can reducing the stigma associated with substance use disorder. People need to understand that addiction is a chronic disease that requires professional treatment, and in no way reflects a weakness or moral flaw in the individual. We need to learn to separate the person from their disease.
Increasing access to treatment is also important, and educating people about addiction can help with this in many ways. For example, some people believe that allowing a methadone clinic to open in their neighborhood will increase crime rates, when actually, studies have shown that methadone programs actually reduce crime rates in communities. Even nurses and physicians can benefit from more education about substance use disorders. A better understanding of the disease and of the addiction treatment options available will not only help healthcare providers more effectively identify addicted patients, it will help these providers appropriately advise their patients and refer them to the best types of addiction treatment available.
In addition, because 76% of people with substance use disorders are also employed, and because addiction issues cost Americans an estimated $276 billion year in additional healthcare spending and lost work productivity, it makes sense for employers to also try and help by doing whatever they can to connect employees to the addiction treatment they need. Workplaces that facilitate addiction treatment benefit from improved performance, profits, and morale. One of the best ways to make sure that employees take advantage of any resources available in the company is to create a culture of openness and respect, which allows employees to feel comfortable seeking treatment or helping coworkers with substance use problems to seek treatment.
All of these efforts can and will make a real difference when it comes to closing the treatment gap in our country, but for many Americans, the biggest obstacle to getting help is their inner monologue listing excuse after excuse for why they should avoid addiction treatment.
Addiction treatment can save your life. Get the help you need today!
8 Popular Excuses for Avoiding Addiction Treatment (and why they shouldn’t be believed)
1. I can’t afford it.
Considering the image that some people have of rehab facilities being luxury, spa-like resorts filled with celebrities, it’s understandable that you might believe you can’t afford addiction treatment. However, the reality is that many wonderful treatment options, including drug detox, are covered or mostly covered by insurance, or can be found at low or no cost. If you have insurance, find out if your provider has a list of addiction treatment centers that they want you to choose from, or directly contact a facility that you are interested in—the staff at addiction treatment centers are trained to answer questions about cost and insurance coverage.
As for free drug detox or other forms of addiction treatment, they are available in every state in the nation. You just have to officially qualify for it by providing proof of residency, income, and indigence through financial statements, tax records, government assistance forms, and other kinds of documents. There is usually quite a lot of paperwork involved, but it will be worth the effort, and there are resources like government agencies and addiction hotlines that can help you navigate along the way.
2. I can handle treatment on my own.
Although there are self-help organizations and groups for addiction treatment, these kinds of community resources are the most helpful to people who have already successfully completed a drug detox and addiction treatment program and simply need support to maintain their recovery. DIY, at-home addiction treatment has not only been proven to fail in most cases, it can also be quite dangerous.
There are potentially fatal withdrawal syndromes caused by certain substances or particularly heavy use or long-term addictions, and withdrawal symptoms that may not be dangerous on their own can become deadly under certain conditions for some individuals. For example, most people in detox will experience stomach symptoms like nausea and vomiting, which can lead to dehydration, malnutrition, and electrolyte imbalances that can cause heart irregularities, kidney failure, and more. Checking into a facility for a professional drug detox will ensure that you have the proper medical care and attention to prevent these kinds of problems.
3. I don’t want my friends/family/neighbors to find out.
Sadly, even in this day and age, when science has been able to prove through brain scans that addiction is a disease which alters the chemical and structural makeup of the brain in a manner that takes time and professional treatment to heal, there is still a stigma associated with addiction and addiction treatment. You may be concerned that your reputation will be damaged when people find out about your substance use disorder, or your loved ones won’t look at you the same.
Addiction is a progressive disease, and if you don’t get help, almost everyone who knows you will be able to tell that you have a problem without you having to say a word. And in the meantime, your life, your health, and the wellbeing of your loved ones will have greatly suffered. Getting addiction treatment as soon as possible will allow you to heal and improve your life and the lives of those around you in ways that you can be proud of.
4. I don’t want to lose my job.
As long as you are qualified for the job, the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act will protect you from being fired or discriminated against regarding the terms or conditions of your employment based on your decision to seek addiction treatment. In addition, your employer probably understands that in most cases, the cost of hiring and training someone new is actually much higher than keeping an experienced employee in the position during treatment, especially knowing that recovery will make you healthier and able to perform your responsibilities more capably than before.
In addition, some companies have Employee Assistance Programs that can provide and/or refer you to addiction treatment options. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of any assistance that is available to you. Even if you have to deal with some uncomfortable reactions in the short term, ending the destructive cycle of addiction will greatly improve your professional life in the long run.
5. I don’t have the time
Whether you have a busy job, a degree you’re working towards, a family to care for, or all of the above, you think you’re way too busy for addiction treatment. Most Americans feel busy, overworked, and overwhelmed. You are not alone. And while it is true that recovery requires a considerable investment of time and energy, it is also true that there are flexible treatment options that can help you integrate counseling and other forms of therapy into your life.
There are part-time programs, evening and weekend programs, teletherapy or video therapy, and more. You should also be aware of how much of your time and energy is being currently drained by substance use and all the behaviors related to it. Getting healthy will give that time and energy back to you, while also helping you have better focus and clearer thinking, which will make you more efficient in everything you do.
6. I’m afraid of getting treatment.
Maybe you’ve been frightened by a negative depiction of rehab you saw in a movie or read in a book. Maybe you hate talking about yourself in front of other people, or you’re scared of the kind of people you think you will meet in addiction treatment. Maybe you’re afraid that life just won’t be fun anymore after treatment. These fears are all natural, but you can let them all go, because recovery isn’t going to be like that.
There are many different kinds of addiction treatment programs out there, and within these programs, clinicians will work with you to create a recovery plan tailored to your individual needs. Yes, the process of recovery will be challenging in some ways, but it will also be very rewarding, opening up a new world of experience, fulfillment, and even fun, that you’ve never experienced before. You’ll strengthen the relationships you already have and create new, sober friendships with people who truly understand and accept you. Active addiction can be a fearful state of existence, but recovery will allow you to overcome your fears and breathe easier than you have in a long time.
7. I don’t have a problem, or my problem isn’t bad enough to need treatment.
Denial is very common among people with substance use disorders, and it’s easy to understand why. Your brain has been conditioned to pursue your substance of addiction at the cost of your health and wellbeing. Pretending that there is no problem or minimizing the problem justifies avoiding addiction treatment and continuing to use. It can also be quite easy to minimize your substance misuse when you know lots of people who also misuse substances. There is bound to be someone, somewhere, who appears to be much worse off than you—and maybe they are in worse shape. Does that really matter? Think of it in terms of another chronic disease—diabetes. Just because you know someone who has lost their legs to diabetes, or who is in a diabetic coma, it doesn’t mean that your own diabetes should go untreated.
8. I don’t know how or where to get help.
Maybe you want to get addiction treatment, but you don’t know how to start the process or where to begin. Luckily there are drug detox centers available in many locations across every state, and we can help you find the right one for you.
Choose your state from this map, and follow the links to discover the many excellent addiction treatment options near you. You can also consult with one of our treatment advisors by email, live chat, or phone. Just click on a link or call 866-351-3840(Who Answers?) to start transforming your life right now. No matter what issues or concerns you may have, our 24/7 confidential helpline can inform you about the drug detox and addiction treatment facilities that are best able to facilitate your recovery. Let us help you take the first steps of the most important journey of your life.