March 7, 2023

How to Ask for Help With Addiction

A man pushing a rock up a hill alone, showing the need to ask for help during addiction

Asking for Help with Addiction

One of the most challenging parts of addiction recovery is admitting that you have a problem with substance abuse.

Whether it is the first time you have required intervention for substance abuse or you have already engaged with treatment then relapsed, you may feel guilt or shame that prevents you from connecting with the care you need. Addiction is surrounded by stigma and data from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) show that fewer than 10% of those requiring addiction treatment receive any treatment.

This guide highlights the progressive and incurable nature of addiction to show why it is always best to seek prompt treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. Discover how to ask for help with addiction and what to expect from detox and rehab.

How to Seek Help for Addiction

Seeking help for addiction may be a demanding process, but it is the first crucial step in overcoming substance use disorder – the clinical term for addiction – and achieving a healthier, sober life.

Here are some ways to get help for drug addiction or alcoholism:

  • Acknowledge the problem: The first step in asking for help in recovery is to acknowledge that you have a problem and that you require assistance.
  • Reach out for support: If you need to get help with drugs or alcohol abuse, reach out to a trusted loved one who is able to provide emotional support, accountability, and ongoing encouragement during your recovery journey.
  • Addict help: Seek out someone who has lived experience of drug or alcohol addiction. They may offer advice on the most effective pathway to recovery, and they may be able to form part of your new sober support system.
  • Getting help for addiction from a healthcare provider: Consult your primary healthcare provider. They can assess your situation and refer you for substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder diagnosis. They may also recommend suitable treatment options.
  • How to get help for addiction from peers: Consider attending a support group like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), NA (Narcotics Anonymous), or SMART Recovery. Connect with others who are going through similar experiences and receive guidance and support from peers as you move from active addiction into ongoing recovery.
  • Consider engaging with professional treatment: You can connect with inpatient, outpatient, or virtual addiction treatment in line with your needs and the severity of your addiction. All methods of delivery involve personalized and evidence-based treatment that typically combines counseling, psychotherapy, and MAT (medication-assisted treatment).
  • Take care of yourself: Prioritize self-care during the recovery process by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising, and engaging in enjoyable and fulfilling activities.

What Is Considered Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic medical disease that is uncurable but treatable. Addiction involves complex interactions between genetics, brain circuits, the surrounding environment, and life experiences. Those with addictions use substances compulsively and often continue regardless of adverse outcomes.

Like all chronic conditions, addiction has high relapse rates. Prevention services and treatment approaches for substance use disorder are equally successful as those directed at other chronic conditions.

National Institute on Drug Abuse defines substance use disorder as a chronic brain disorder that involves functional brain changes that often persist long after substance use is discontinued.

Substance use disorder is diagnosed according to the criteria set out in DSM-5-TR (the latest revised edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by American Psychiatric Association.

The eleven symptoms can be grouped as follows:

Impaired Control

  • Using more of the substance than intended or for a longer period than planned.
  • Trying and failing to moderate or discontinue use of the substance.
  • Spending lots of time obtaining, using, and recovering from the effects of the substance.

Pharmacological criteria

  • Developing tolerance so that the effects of the substance are diminished and more is required to achieve the same effects.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms in the absence of the substance.

Cravings

  • Experiencing intense cravings for the substance.

Risky use

  • Using the substance in dangerous situations like driving.
  • Ongoing substance use despite this causing or inflaming physical or mental health problems.

Social impairment

  • Giving up important activities because of substance use.
  • Failing to meet personal and professional commitments due to substance abuse.
  • Continuing to use addictive substances even though it is causing problems in your relationships.

Substance use disorder is diagnosed according to the number of criteria that present as mild (2 to 3), moderate (4 to 5), or severe (6).

What Will Happen When You Get Help?

Now you know how to ask for help with alcoholism or drug addiction, here’s what to expect when an addict needs help:

  • Assessment and evaluation: The first step in the treatment process is usually an assessment and evaluation. A treatment team will evaluate your physical and mental health, substance use history, and other factors that may impact your recovery.
  • Treatment plan: Based on the assessment, a healthcare professional will work with you to create a treatment plan tailored to your needs and goals.
  • Detoxification: Those dependent on drugs or alcohol will benefit from a supervised medical detox. Clinical detox minimizes the likelihood of complications or relapse derailing your early recovery. While detox addresses the issue of physical drug or alcohol dependence, you will require ongoing treatment to deal with the psychological component of substance use disorder.
  • Inpatient, outpatient, or virtual addiction treatment: ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine) categorizes addiction treatment by five levels of care from early intervention and outpatient services through to intensive outpatient treatment and inpatient treatment, also known as residential rehab. Increasingly, drug and alcohol rehabs also offer remote rehab programs that provide access to online therapy and counseling sessions.
  • Support groups: Joining a support group like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous), may provide you with valuable additional support and guidance throughout your recovery journey.
  • Aftercare: As you progress through treatment, a healthcare professional will work with you to develop an aftercare plan to help you maintain your sobriety and prevent relapse. This may involve stepping down to a less intense form of treatment before transitioning back into daily living.

Getting help for drug addiction or alcoholism can be a life-changing experience, and can lead to improved physical and mental health, stronger relationships, and a greater sense of purpose and fulfillment. The journey requires commitment, hard work, and ongoing support, though. With the right treatment and ongoing assistance, it is perfectly possible to overcome addiction and achieve lasting sobriety. We can help you every step of the journey at Gratitude Lodge in Southern California.

Who To Talk to About Getting Help For Addiction

Getting help for addiction can be a difficult and often overwhelming process, but it’s the precursor to recovery. If you are considering talking to your family, friends, or professionals about your addiction, here’s what you need to know:

Family

Talking to your family members about your addiction can be tough, but your loved ones can provide emotional support and encouragement, as well as help you identify appropriate treatment options.

When talking to your family, be honest and open about your struggles, and remember to express your willingness to change and to emphasize your commitment to recovery.

Remember: it may take time for your family to fully understand and support your decision to get help, but with patience and persistence, you can work together towards a healthier future. As you start making positive behavioral changes and unchaining yourself from addiction, your family relationships should start improving.

Friends

Your friends can also be a valuable source of support during your recovery journey. They can offer encouragement, help you find resources, and provide a safe and non-judgmental space to talk about your struggles.

That said, not all friends will be supportive, and some might even enable your addiction. Surround yourself with friends who are committed to your recovery and who will support your decision to seek help to maximize your chances of recovery without relapse. 

Professionals

Healthcare professionals like doctors, addiction counselors, and therapists are trained to help those struggling with addictions. Medical professionals can assess your situation and recommend appropriate treatment options. These may include counseling, medication-assisted treatment, and psychotherapy delivered in an inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation center.

Professionals can also provide support and guidance throughout your recovery journey, helping you develop coping strategies and build a robust sober support network. When talking to a professional, be honest about your substance use history and any other factors that may impact your recovery.

Finding Help for Addiction at Gratitude Lodge

If you need rehab for addiction to alcohol, illicit narcotics, or prescription drugs, kickstart your recovery at Gratitude Lodge. We have luxury pet-friendly treatment centers located in San Diego, Newport Beach, and Long Beach dedicated to your recovery.

Begin with a supervised medical detox to streamline the intensity of withdrawal and minimized the chance of relapse derailing your recovery before it gets traction. Transition from detox into one of the following programs:

  • 30-day inpatient rehab
  • IOP (intensive outpatient program)
  • Dual diagnosis treatment program (for co-occurring disorders)

All treatment programs at Gratitude Lodge combine science-backed and holistic treatments that may include:

  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment)
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Individual counseling
  • Holistic therapies
  • Aftercare

When you are ready to take the first vital step on your recovery journey, shortcut the process by calling Gratitude Lodge at 888-861-1658.

Asking for help with addiction FAQs

To ask for help when you are an addict, it’s essential to be honest and open about your struggles with someone you trust, such as a close friend, family member, or a healthcare professional. Express your desire for support and be willing to accept assistance and guidance in seeking treatment or counseling to overcome your addiction.

To ask for help in recovery, reach out to a support system that may include friends, family, or support groups. Be honest about your challenges, express your willingness to seek guidance, and be open to accepting assistance and encouragement on your journey to recovery.

To seek help if you are a drug addict, start by reaching out to a healthcare professional or addiction specialist who can provide guidance and treatment options. Additionally, consider joining support groups or contacting organizations like Narcotics Anonymous for additional support and understanding from individuals who have gone through similar experiences.

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Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
Jenni Bussi

Jenni Busse MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

Holistic Therapy

Our holistic therapy treatments offer a full-scope approach to recovery, addressing your mind, body, and emotions as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. This therapy is designed to help address underlying issues and integrate alternative therapies to promote overall health and well-being.
people sit in treatment session representing 90 day alcohol rehab

Psychotherapy

An essential part of your treatment experience, we offer individual (CBT and DBT talk therapy) and group addiction treatment counseling to help you explore and address the emotional component of addiction, providing you with the tools, self-awareness, and empowerment you need to maintain recovery.

Dual Diagnosis

Dual Diagnosis is a highly effective addiction treatment that addresses substance use and mental health disorders simultaneously. Often co-occurring, these disorders are best managed when treated together with specific and targeted therapy.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-Assisted Treatment provides you with FDA-approved medications to help ease the symptoms of withdrawal while you’re in treatment. This makes the detox process easier and safer, as well as increasing the chances of a successful recovery.

Sober Living

Sober living provides a supportive and substance-free living environment for your ongoing recovery. We partner with a number of upscale and carefully vetted sober living homes that are available to our clients after inpatient alcohol and drug addiction treatment.

Outpatient Treatment

Once detox and inpatient are complete, we provide an easy transition to outpatient care through our hand-selected partners. This program offers a more flexible approach, allowing you to ease back in to daily life while still receiving frequent & effective care.

Inpatient
Treatment

Inpatient treatment provides an intensive and comprehensive addiction treatment program in a structured environment. You will receive 24/7 expert care, therapy, and support as you build your foundation for long-term recovery.

Drug & Alcohol Detox

A crucial first step in the recovery process, our detox program provides a comfortable, medically supervised environment that addresses the physical aspect of addiction and eliminates substances from your body.

Use Our 24 Hour text line. You can ask questions about our program, the admissions process, and more.