When you are abusing drugs or alcohol, asking for help with addiction is a scary thought. When you are considering this, you are usually at a point of desperation where all other ideas have been tried and failed. In truth, asking for help is one of the bravest and smartest things you can do. If you get help in time, you can save your life. Also, you will most likely be bringing a giant sense of relief to your friends and family members.

When should you ask for help with addiction?

If you ever think you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, it is a good idea to ask for help as soon as possible. The earlier you seek treatment, the better chance you will have at returning to a healthy and sober lifestyle. Here are some signs you might need help with addiction to a substance:

  1. You always make sure you have access to your drug of choice and know where to get more. This might mean knowing which liquor stores are open on Sunday, or having a backup drug dealer, or a secret stash for emergencies.
  2. You feel the effects of withdrawal if you stop ingesting the drug or alcohol. Withdrawal can be mild with symptoms like anxiety and shakiness and range to severe vomiting, convulsions, and even coma. Detox should always be done in a medically supervised environment to make sure you are comfortable and safe.
  3. You have done things you regret because of the drug or alcohol. Examples might include unprotected sex, stealing from your family and friends, lying to and conniving people, driving under the influence, or getting into verbal or physical fights.
  4. You are having personal or professional problems because of your addiction. You might find that you are always late to school, or keep calling in sick to work because you are under the influence, or suffering from the night before. It is only a matter of time until people will catch on, and getting fired or kicked out of school can have lifelong consequences.
  5. Your health is suffering. You may suffer from blackouts, tremors, and a poor memory. Additionally, you are probably not eating well and may be malnourished. All of these are side effects of drug or alcohol abuse.

These are just a few examples of when you should absolutely seek help for addiction. This list is not all-inclusive. In a nutshell, you should get help with addiction when you feel that you need it, no matter what makes you feel that way.

How to Ask for Help with Addiction

Asking for help isn’t easy. That is true no matter who you are. It is a humbling experience that puts you at other people’s mercy, and you are no longer in control. But if you think about it, you are already at the mercy of drugs or alcohol and certainly not in control, so the alternative is better. Continuing with drugs or alcohol will ultimately lead to your death. If you get help, you will have a shot at recovery.

When asking for help, make sure to go to someone you trust and someone that you know has your best interest in mind. Also, make sure that this person is sober and doesn’t suffer from addiction themselves. Examples may include a parent, sibling, best friend, or coworker. Whoever it is, make sure it is someone you trust will take good care of you and assist you in the journey of getting help. Chances are whoever you ask for help will be so relieved that you want the help that they will go out of their way to assist you.

Once you ask for help with addiction, follow through with it and work hard to get the help that you asked for. There’s nothing more discouraging than asking for help and then refusing to use it. If you are requesting help, you need it, even though at another time you may feel stronger, or your urge to get high or drunk will overrule the rational part of you that wants help. Don’t let that happen! Talk to someone you trust and together work on getting the help you need.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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