DO I REALLY HAVE A PROBLEM?
In the early stages of identifying if you have a drug or alcohol problem, there is a constant debate in the mind; rationalizing, justifying, and then doubting yourself and your justifications.
Some questions to ask yourself:
1. Do you feel guilty about your drug or alcohol use?
2. Have you ever thought you should cut down your drug or alcohol use?
3. Have you ever felt annoyed when people have commented on your use?
4. Have you ever used to avoid withdrawal symptoms or to avoid feeling low after using?
WHAT DOES AN ALCOHOLIC OR ADDICT LOOK LIKE?
An alcoholic or addict looks like everyone. They look like me and you. They look like your next story neighbor. They look like your doctor or dentist. Addiction does not discriminate and affects everyone and anyone regardless of race, culture, socioeconomic status, gender, education, profession, sexual orientation, etc.
The reality is that people are dying from this disease every day. According to NIDA, more than 1700 young adults died in 2014 alone due to prescription drug overdoses, that’s 5 deaths per day. Like other chronic diseases, addiction is fatal if left untreated. The good news is that addiction is very treatable.
The problem is that not enough people are getting treatment. Stigma is still a huge problem in our culture when it comes to addiction and prevents people from wanting to come forward and admit they have a problem. Addiction is NOT a moral defect. Addiction is NOT a defect in willpower. Addiction is a chronic brain disease.
If you feel that you may have a problem, or simply want to talk to a professional about your drug or alcohol use, pick up the phone and ask for help. Fortunately there are many licensed professionals that specialize in addiction treatment that will help you develop a treatment plan for achieving sobriety. A good place to start is the SAMHSA treatment locater: https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/
Another place to start is with your health insurance company. Call the member phone number and ask for a referral to an addiction specialist. If you live in the greater Charlotte area, Silver Lining Counseling can help. Call 704-237-7037 for a free consultation and to schedule an appointment. Visit www.silverliningcharlotte.com
Many people are nervous about meeting with a professional to discuss their drug or alcohol use. Those of us who are licensed as addiction specialists understand that addiction is a chronic medical disease and that those struggling with the disease deserve to be treated with compassion, professionalism, and respect. In your first meeting with an addiction specialist, the professional should inform you upfront of their business practices, typically done through their intake paperwork. A thorough assessment follows which includes substance use and mental health history, medical and family history, relationship history, work and education history, legal history, and then the goals and needs of the client. Following the assessment, the professional should be able to make a recommendation for the best treatment plan to help you achieve sobriety.
Remember, addiction is a treatable disease. All you have to do is ask for help.
National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.