What Is The First Step In Treating Addiction?

DCSD Detox Center of San Diego
Treating Addiction

What is the first step in addiction treatment? Is it seeking assistance or admitting you have a problem in the first place?

Is this the point at which you realize you no longer require the substance you abused?

Recovery looks different for everyone, and the journey is never the same. The first step in addiction treatment, on the other hand, is a little more common.

The team at the Detox Center of San Diego sees it all the time: the first step. The most important aspect of treating addiction is even taking small steps toward recovery.

What Really is the First Step in Treating Addiction?

Many people wonder what the first step is in treating addiction, and they begin to consider what the individual goes through once they are in a rehabilitation facility. That, however, is far from the first step in addiction treatment. 

They may go as far back as the intervention or personal discussions with the individual about how they’ve developed an addiction. The individual is in a pre-contemplative stage at this point and may not fully admit that they have a problem.

The individual admitting that they have a problem and agreeing to seek treatment for the addiction is the true first step in treatment. To achieve this, they must recognize a motivation for getting sober, recognize that they have an addiction, and be willing to work for sobriety.

This necessitates a safe and supportive environment in which they can express their feelings without being judged by others; for many people, this is where therapy and counseling come in handy, but for others, it can begin with friends and family members.

Signs of Healthy Progress

Better decision-making skills, a willingness to engage more in social situations, hopefulness, and consistently longer periods without substance abuse until the individual achieves full sobriety are all healthy signs of progress in addiction treatment.

Small changes in one’s mind, body, and spirit are another step toward sobriety.

Relapse Isn’t Failure

It is critical to remember during treatment that relapse does not equal failure. Relapse is a sign of progress; in order to relapse, the individual must be working toward sobriety.

While a complete victory is often thought to be maintaining full sobriety, relapse indicates that they are working towards that goal and that progress should be celebrated.

Why Admitting There is a Problem is So Important

Admitting there is a  problem is a huge step toward recovery from addiction. It is the most difficult step prior to detoxification. Not only does admitting there is a problem require a great deal of courage and vulnerability, but it also carries a lot of fear about social rejection that may occur as a result of the admission.

Individuals can recognize that they need help and begin seeking treatment now that they are open to the idea of getting help for their substance abuse by admitting there is a problem.

What Loved Ones Can Do to Make the Process Easier

Above all else, loved ones should avoid assigning blame to the individual for falling into the addiction. 

Provide the individual with love and support that does not encourage their addiction but allows them to express how they feel about it and learn that talking to you or a group of loved ones is a safe experience in which they can find comfort. Individuals must understand that it is okay to ask for help and that they are supported and loved throughout their struggle.

What Are the Early Signs of Addiction?

For some people, identifying the early signs of addiction or substance abuse can be difficult. You might not even realize you are seeing these warning signs.

If you or a loved one exhibits any of these symptoms, it is critical that you seek help as soon as possible. The earlier it is addressed, the higher the chance of successful and fast recovery.

Using alcohol or drugs to relax is one of the first signs of addiction. Recurrent mood swings, depressive episodes, or irritability can occur, especially during substance withdrawal.

Inability to recall actions or experiences while drinking, as well as repeated conflicts with people around them, are important warning signs to look for.

There Are Different Levels of Severity

When it comes to addiction, there are different levels of severity, and depending on the severity level, an individual may be enrolled in a more or less intensive treatment program.

The DSM-5, or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (fifth edition), is a scale used by practices across the United States to assess the severity of substance abuse and to help patients understand the level of dependency they have acquired through use.

Impaired Control

The first level of addiction that can be identified is impaired control. In this stage, the individual consumes more of the substance than intended and exceeds normal controlled levels; for substances, this can be any use.

They may want to reduce their intake but are unable to do so, or they may be unaware of the problem and refuse to quit.

Social Problems

In this stage of addiction, the individual may begin to have relationship problems with a loved one, give up activities that they once enjoyed and were passionate about, or begin to neglect work or school responsibilities. 

Many people identify this as depression; in many cases, substance abuse can cause depressive feelings and actions.

Risky Behavior

When an individual becomes aware of the problem, they continue to use the substance and may even begin to use it in risky settings and situations that endanger their health or safety. A lack of safe access to resources may aggravate and make this stage more dangerous. For heroin users, for example, this may lead to needle sharing, which can result in potentially fatal infections.

Physical Dependence

At this stage, the individual cannot stop using the substance without experiencing withdrawal symptoms, and they begin developing a tolerance to the substance, requiring more of the substance to achieve the same effects, which can quickly become dangerous as the effects on the body, both internally and externally, become more pronounced.

These severity levels are not fixed but rather exist on a scale. Choosing a rehab facility that understands this spectrum, such as the Detox Center of San Diego, increases the likelihood of matched treatment and a faster recovery.

The Impact of Substance Abuse and Advanced Signs of Addiction

Substance abuse can have a wide range of consequences, not only for the individual but also for their family and friends.

Individually, it can cause a slew of health issues and diseases, as well as emotional turmoil. Addiction is characterized by aggressive, depressive, and irrational behavior, as cravings can cause them to hyperfocus on accessing the substance, and they can become erratic and unpredictable if anything blocks that access, whether it is a loved one or situational circumstances.

Substance abuse also has a negative impact on how well the body functions, increasing the likelihood of heart failure and causing the liver and kidneys to have difficulty processing the substance, resulting in vitamin deficiencies and difficulty urinating.

The immune system is also weakened, which leads to more frequent colds and an increased risk of infection.

Addicts frequently struggle in their relationships with loved ones as a result of these effects. Unknowingly, their actions drive these valuable relationships away, resulting in an even deeper cycle of aggressive or depressive, erratic behavior. Loneliness and self-loathing, as well as a lack of support, can often lead to them drinking and using more, causing them to fall deeper into addiction without assistance. 

If you or a loved one is suffering through substance abuse, it’s important to get help as soon as possible. To learn more about rehabilitation programs or to schedule a drug and alcohol counseling session, contact the Detox Center of San Diego today. You deserve a second chance.

Seeking Treatment is the Right Thing to Do

For many people, seeking treatment is more difficult than it appears. It is difficult not only to admit that you have an addiction, but it is also difficult to seek help for it because the individual is aware of how visible the treatment is to friends and family.

It can be difficult to see that their loved ones want the best for them and are often proud of the individual for seeking treatment and assistance.

Furthermore, the prospect of quitting their substance abuse can be frightening. For many people, the substance serves as an emotional crutch that they have grown accustomed to having in their lives.

It is like removing the training wheels from a child’s bicycle who is afraid of falling. Few people remember how good and liberating it feels to ride full speed into sobriety, so it will take time to undo many of the emotions associated with the substance.

What Are the Five Stages of Treatment?

Treatment is divided into stages that correspond to the classic stages of change, which are pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance.

It may be difficult to persuade the individual to commit to a full rehabilitation treatment program during the pre-contemplation phase because they are not yet convinced that they have a problem.

During this stage, it is critical to ease the patient into treatment by asking how they are feeling and tailoring a milder form of treatment that allows them to dip their toes into the water and seek help. This could be as simple as yoga, breathing exercises, or a single session with a drug and alcohol counselor.

They are beginning to recognize that they have an addiction and that they can get help during the contemplation phase. The goal of this phase is to assist them in discovering their motivation for sobriety and assisting them in working toward it with the promise that things can change with a little effort.

Treatment begins during the action stage. They could be on medication, seeing a counselor, enrolled in a rehabilitation facility, attending a support group, or all of the above.

The action stage is an important step in recovery, and it is critical that their feelings are validated, and their efforts to become sober are recognized. It’s unlikely that the patient will quit cold turkey, so a reduction in usage is to be celebrated nonetheless as it recognizes the effort in working towards their goals.

The patient is in recovery during the maintenance stage, and it is critical that they continue to have access to support and therapy to avoid relapsing into their old habits. It is critical to provide them with coping tools to help them navigate a sober life.

What Treatment Program is Best?

Depending on the stage of addiction the individual is in, as well as whether or not they have accepted the fact that they have an addiction, different treatment programs will work best.

Many have turned to substance abuse to escape emotional turmoil in their lives or to gain acceptance from their peers. If this is the primary motivator and the addiction is not severe, an outpatient treatment program may be the best option.

Outpatient treatment programs allow the individual to return home at the end of the day, but they must attend mandatory activities and counseling sessions, and their progress will be evaluated on a regular basis to determine whether the treatment program is working for them.

For others, regardless of their initial motivation for using their substance, the addiction has become crippling. Perhaps they have lost their job, or their relationships have suffered as a result of their addiction. They may behave erratically and become secretive about their level of substance abuse.

These individuals frequently achieve the best results with an inpatient treatment program, in which they visit the facility for an extended period of time, residing there for the duration of their treatment until they have successfully detoxified, and treatment has been shown to assist them on their path to sobriety.

What Is an Intervention?

For many people, staging an intervention for a loved one is an important part of seeking treatment for addiction.

The individual may be unaware of how severe their addiction has become because they are engulfed in a world of insatiable cravings and unspoken emotions that drive them to the substance.

When loved ones gather to express their concern for the individual, they may initially react negatively. It is critical that no one uses blame language during the intervention, as this can make them feel defensive. It is preferable if the language used during the intervention comes from a place of concern and addresses the underlying issues as much as possible. 

For example, if the individual turned to alcohol following a divorce, you could express your empathy for the pain they are experiencing and that you understand that alcohol can help numb the feelings, but you are concerned that they have lost themselves in alcohol.

It is critical that the intervention has a clear end goal with an ask, as well as a hidden alternative ask.  

You can’t, for example, simply leave the intervention after bringing it to their attention because that leaves them with thoughts to mull over on their own, and they may begin to believe that they can not talk to you about their addiction or that something is wrong with them.

What is Detoxification?

When you ask a rehabilitation center, “What is the first step in treating addiction?” Many of them will start talking about detoxification as their primary goal with a new patient. Patients frequently arrive at the facility with drugs or alcohol still in their systems, making it difficult to treat their addiction because their brain and body chemistry are not at their baseline.

Many patients find the withdrawal process difficult, which leads them to seek out their addicted substance again in order to avoid the ‘crash,’ as many describe it.

Withdrawal from the substance may cause cravings, cold sweats, anger, or other symptoms that vary depending on the substance to which they are addicted. Detoxification is an important step in the rehabilitation process.

Detoxification is safe in a rehab setting because the patient can be monitored to ensure their safety and has access to medical staff if necessary, allowing the individual to take what many describe as one of the most difficult steps toward sobriety.

The Importance of Aftercare

Aftercare is an essential component of the recovery process. Individuals who have successfully achieved sobriety and are confident in their ability to return to life without further addiction treatment do not simply leave the facility or cease seeing their counselor because they have made the decision.  It would be difficult to navigate sober life alone after receiving so much help along the way. Aftercare essentially gives patients the ability to take small steps into the next chapter of their lives, which is completely self-managed sobriety with confidence.

By offering aftercare services to patients, the risk of relapse from their progress or a rebound into a different addiction is reduced. 

Patients are given a tapered treatment schedule to ensure that they are ready to leave rehab, as well as services that may be beneficial to them as they transition out of the facility, such as skill-building activities that are beneficial for potential jobs.

Because therapy is such a valuable asset to people in and out of rehab, the number of appointments may be reduced based on the patient’s preferences during aftercare. It is usually advised that they continue to see their therapist to discuss their transition to a sober lifestyle. This gives them a safe space to talk about their sobriety journey.

Seeking Care at the Detox Center of San Diego

The Detox Center of San Diego is the best rehabilitation facility in San Diego County, offering high-quality care and treatment to people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol of any kind.

Our team of psychiatrists, counselors, and support staff can assist you in breaking free from opioids, street drugs, or alcoholism.

We offer inpatient residential rehabilitation as well as intensive outpatient care, allowing patients to recover in the most effective way for them, in conjunction with medication, therapy, counseling, or other mental health services.

Are you ready to take a second chance? Give us a call today and learn more about our new patient process.

More To Explore

Help Is Here

Don’t wait for tomorrow to start the journey of recovery. Make that call today and take back control of your life!

Your Path to Recovery Begins Here

Call now to start your journey to freedom from addiction. Our compassionate care, tailored to your needs, offers hope and success. Verify insurance today.

All calls are 100% free and confidential

Detox Center of San Diego Header Logo