Life Corner

How do I know if I have a chemical dependency?

Alcohol and drug addiction are often diagnosed best by the user. If you feel that your use of drugs or alcohol has harmed important parts of your life like your job and your family, you may have a problem. Working with a behavioral health navigator can be the best first step in deciding how you should seek help.

Alcohol or drug addiction can be both physical and mental. Physically, the body can become addicted to a particular drug or on alcohol. However, there may be an emotional urge to continue using the substance as well.

What types of drug use can lead to addiction?

There are many different types of drugs that have physically or mentally addictive qualities:

  • Alcohol, including beer and wine as well as hard liquor
  • Cocaine and crack cocaine
  • Heroin and addiction to other opiates such as prescription painkillers
  • Methamphetamines

Additionally, many people seek treatment for help with drug use not normally thought of as addictive, such as marijuana. Prescription drugs can also lead to addiction, often in those with chronic health conditions that need to be treated with those prescriptions.

Are all drug addictions treated the same way?

Although treatments for any type of addiction share some similarities, the reasons that people turn toward heavy drug or alcohol use can vary widely. Because of this, it’s essential to create a treatment plan that is tailored to the needs of each patient. This can mean treating mental illness at the same time as treating chemical dependency, or looking at other factors that play a role in alcohol or drug addiction.

I think a friend or loved one has a problem with drug or alcohol. How can I help?

It’s easy to feel helpless when you see someone you care about struggling with alcohol or drug addiction but there are ways you can help loved ones. You can offer a listening ear and encourage them to seek the professional support they need to become well. At the same time, remember to keep healthy boundaries, and don’t be afraid to seek out your own extra support. In many cases, it can be best to ask for help from a trained substance abuse counselor rather than trying to handle addiction issues alone.

Does getting clean mean staying at a drug and alcohol treatment center?

Inpatient alcohol and chemical dependency detox programs can be very effective. This is especially true when a strong physical addiction needs close monitoring during the detox process. However, outpatient alcohol and drug addiction programs can provide much-needed ongoing support. This can help patients better understand their own addiction, recognize likely triggers, and develop healthy coping skills. Again, the question of which treatment option is best comes down to your needs.

How do I know if my problems stem from a health disorder rather than a true drug addiction?

Sometimes, addiction arises out of the need to self-medicate due to underlying mental health issues, so Seton Behavioral Health offers dual recovery programs. Dual recovery helps ensure proper treatment of addiction along with treating mental health concerns that could be a root cause of that addiction.

What steps are involved in overcoming chemical dependency?

Accepting that you have a problem and seeking help are the first and most important steps in recovery. From there, many different treatments may be helpful. These can include medically supervised detox as well as treatment for mental illness. Individual and group therapy with substance abuse counselors can teach coping skills and give ongoing support. Education is one of the most powerful tools in winning the battle against alcohol or drug addiction.

Is recovery permanent?

There are many who say that relapse is a part of recovery. Certainly, many men and women battling addiction face successes as well as setbacks on their recovery journey. With the right support, guidance and commitment to a fresh start, we believe you can achieve recovery and enjoy a full, rich life.