do I really need an inpatient drug and alcohol rehab program?

If you’re reading this wondering, “Do I really need an inpatient drug and alcohol rehab program,” it’s worth noting: Those who don’t, don’t spend their time reading blog posts by a drug and alcohol treatment center.

No judgment. In fact, we’re glad you’re asking that question, and we’re glad you’ve found yourself here, because all of us who are now in recovery from alcoholism and addiction — meaning about 75 percent of the 250 employees at Cornerstone of Recovery — were once exactly where you are now, asking ourselves that exact same question. Ultimately, you’re the only person who can answer that question, but we can help you take stock of what’s going on with your alcohol and drug use that has led you to ponder it in the first place.

Do you have a problem with drugs and/or alcohol?

Let’s start with an easy one. Chances are, you suspect that you do, or else you wouldn’t be here. That said, the National Institute on Drug Abuse [1] has a list of questions you can ask yourself to determine the extent of the problem:

  1. Do you think about drugs a lot?
  2. Did you ever try to stop or cut down on your drug usage but couldn't?
  3. Have you ever thought you couldn't fit in or have a good time without the use of drugs?
  4. Do you ever use drugs because you are upset or angry at other people?
  5. Have you ever used a drug without knowing what it was or what it would do to you?
  6. Have you ever taken one drug to get over the effects of another?
  7. Have you ever made mistakes at a job or at school because you were using drugs?
  8. Does the thought of running out of drugs really scare you?
  9. Have you ever stolen drugs or stolen to pay for drugs?
  10. Have you ever been arrested or in the hospital because of your drug use?
  11. Have you ever overdosed on drugs?
  12. Has using drugs hurt your relationships with other people?

According to the NIDA, “if the answer to some or all of these questions is yes, you might have an addiction.” That’s not a reason to panic, but it is cause for alarm, because “drug addiction is a chronic disease characterized by compulsive, or uncontrollable, drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences and changes in the brain, which can be long lasting,” the NIDA points out [2].

Now, let’s break some of these questions down.

Have you tried to quit on your own but couldn’t?

For many addicts and alcoholics, the idea of being controlled by a substance seems to defy logic. Why, we often wonder, can’t we just stop? Why can’t we put it down and walk away? Perhaps you’ve tried in the past, only to return to drinking and/or using in spite of negative consequences.

That doesn’t mean that you’re weak or that your willpower is lacking, however: It simply means you’re sick, and you need some help, as the American Psychiatric Association states [3]: “People with a substance use disorder have distorted thinking, behavior and body functions. Changes in the brain’s wiring are what cause people to have intense cravings for the drug and make it hard to stop using the drug. Brain imaging studies show changes in the areas of the brain that relate to judgment, decision making, learning, memory and behavior control.”

But there is hope, and it starts with effective drug and alcohol treatment. In fact, scientists funded by the National Institute of Health have “shown that addiction is a long-lasting and complex brain disease, and that current treatments can help people control their addictions.” [4]

Is your drug use interfering with your life?

do I really need an inpatient drug and alcohol rehab program?The aforementioned questions talk about problems with work, with school, with family, with the law — those are all telltale signs that drug or alcohol use has spiraled beyond the “I’m just having fun” stage. Addicts and alcoholics like to think, even at their worst, that they’re not hurting anyone but themselves, but that’s not necessarily true.

As Dan Mager, a social worker writing in a 2016 article for Psychology Today, notes, “The addiction of a loved one brings up many difficult questions that may leave you unable to understand what is happening and why, and feeling like you are riding an emotional rollercoaster you can’t get off.” In other words, addicts and alcoholics make everyone around us sick — with worry, with frustration, with fear, with resentment, with anger. And those are just family members and close friends.

What about our employers, who deal with our constant tardiness or inebriation on the job? Our professors or teachers, who wonder why we’re wasting our time and their time when we’re always late for class and never turn in assignments? The police officers who pull us over, perhaps saving the lives of other drivers on the road?

They may not be personally affected, but the consequences they have to hand out because of our addiction or alcoholism has a ripple effect. If we lose our jobs or get kicked out of school or go to jail, our families are affected as well. In other words, our lives have become unmanageable … and the longer we languish in addiction and alcoholism, the more that unmanageability infects those we care about.

So how does treatment help?

For starters, it’s important to understand, as the NIDA states [5], “no single treatment is right for everyone.” At Cornerstone of Recovery, we believe in that wholeheartedly, which is why we subscribe to a whole-person approach to drug and alcohol treatment. There are some across-the-board aspects of therapy that apply to all, such as Medical Detox to help you safely and slowly come off of drugs and alcohol, but the treatment path that comes afterward is tailored to each patient’s needs.

What does that entail? Web MD, the medical clearinghouse website, sums it up pretty succinctly: “Counseling is a mainstay of drug abuse treatment for many people. Cognitive behavioral therapy, family counseling, and other types of therapy can help you stay clean. Psychotherapy can also treat the other mental health conditions that often play a role in prescription drug abuse.” Combine that with other treatment processes like our Fitness Program, Activity Therapy and group activities, and you have a formula for recovery that’s been effective for 30 years.

In that regard, Cornerstone can work for anyone, because of the individual nature of our programs. We combine traditional 12 Step recovery models with evidence-based therapeutic tools to help you do more than just put down the drugs and alcohol — we’ll help you develop a manner of living in which they’re no longer the default coping mechanism for life’s challenges.

So do I really need inpatient drug/alcohol rehab, or what?

That’s entirely up to you. Again … it’s pretty safe to assume that those who don’t have a problem with drugs or alcohol aren’t perusing the websites of rehabs and treatment centers. But even if you’re not fully ready to commit, know this: Cornerstone of Recovery isn’t a lockdown facility. You won’t be held here against your will. You can, in fact, leave at any time.

But if you think you have a problem, and you have a little willingness to do something about it, we think you’ll find, once you get here, that you could, in fact, benefit from the treatment we provide. If you’re on the fence, do yourself a favor and at least give our trained and compassionate Admissions staff a call. Let’s see what your insurance benefits will cover, and you can ask any questions you might have about our facility or programs. You can even schedule a tour, if you’d like, or get a professional assessment of how serious your problem might be.

Either way, we want to help, and we believe that you won’t find any better drug and alcohol treatment. And that’s something you should keep in mind, even if you decide it’s not for you: Because if you’re anything like us, you’ll probably get there eventually, and we’ll be here waiting when you’re ready.

SOURCES

[1]: https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/treatment/what-to-do-if-you-have-problem-drugs-adults

[2]: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction

[3]: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction/what-is-addiction

[4]: https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2015/10/biology-addiction

[5]: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction