The first step of asking for help is often, but not always, the most difficult step to take. Feelings of guilt and shame amongst other negative emotions continue to fuel the behaviors associated with the misuse of substances, in conjunction with ongoing active use. It’s during these times that continuing down the destructive path of addiction may seem like the easier option; however, it is important to remember and be aware of the negative impacts that choosing to not receive care could have on your life.
Let’s take a moment to examine some of these elements:
Family Concerns: Relationships are often strained when a loved one is struggling with active addiction. Family members may choose to distance themselves or discontinue communication as a result of stress and anxiety levels being heightened as they fear for the well being of their loved one. Choosing to engage in care for your addiction is the beginning to repairing these strained relationships. Treatment offers a platform to better understand yourself, the dynamics of your family and/or other interpersonal relationships, and how to better manage yourself and communicate. In the absence of engaging in treatment, these family concerns will only continue to worsen and become increasingly difficult to mend as time goes on.
Emotional Concerns: The misuse of substances often leads to increased symptoms of, most commonly, depression and anxiety. The co-occurrence of substance use and mental health disorders is highly prevalent. During active use, medications prescribed for mental health concerns may be taken inconsistently or completely forgotten. The re-emergence of psychiatric symptoms can increase the chance of ongoing substance use due to individuals attempting to manage their symptoms through the use of substances. In the absence of treatment, unmanaged mental health symptoms can continue to worsen and potentially result in the need for stabilization in a hospital or inpatient setting. In extreme cases, individuals may experience psychosis or thoughts to harm themselves or others.
Medical Concerns: The potential for medical complications as a result of substance use can be significant. If engaging in the practice of sharing needles occurs as a part of your substance use, this increases the possibility of contracting HIV/AIDS, or Hepatitis C. Some individuals may wind up with an infection at the injection site which would require medical attention. There is also risk associated with detoxification from alcohol or benzodiazepines, as unmanaged withdrawal can result in seizures. Engaging in a medical detox will allow you to detox from substances comfortably and safely with the oversight of a full medical team, reducing the risk of complications. The largest concern with regards to health is the probability of overdose and death. Treatment is the best option to reduce the risk of any medical complications associated with addiction.
Financial Concerns: Active use of alcohol or illicit substances can have major implications on financial stability. There is a risk of bills being unpaid, increase in debt, damaging your personal credit history, defaulting on a mortgage or car loan, and/or even losing everything. Sometimes the need for money to continue the use of drugs can lead to dangerous behaviors, for example; burglary or prostitution.
Legal Concerns: Individuals that engage in the continued use of alcohol or drugs run the risk of arrest. Whether it is a possession charge, driving under the influence, or a theft/burlglary related charge; the implications and consequences are significant. Incarceration, fines, probation, etc. are all possible results of arrest.
Choosing to receive care for your substance use disorder mitigates all the identified risks mentioned above. There is NO negatives to engaging in treatment. While it can be difficult and emotionally challenging to venture down the road of recovery, the possibilities of happiness and a positive quality of life are endless.
Find the reason, and remember you are worth it.
Author: Caitlin Simpson DSW, LCSW, LCADC – Footprints to Recovery – Director of Clinical Operations