If you are considering addiction treatment for the first time, for a repeat time or for a loved one, you undoubtedly have many questions. Consider the answers to the following frequently asked questions, and talk with treatment professionals about any other concerns you may have. Your concerns about treatment can most likely be easily resolves to ensure you can begin your recovery and your new life as soon as possible.
You started using drugs on your own so it may seem you should be able to stop on your own as well. If you have already tried to quit on your own and slipped back into old habits and actions, you understand recovery involves more than willpower and that you do need treatment. If you haven’t tried recovery on your own, you may have saved yourself much frustration and have certainly saved yourself the discomfort and potential risks of withdrawal. Treatment is necessary because addiction is a disease. Like any chronic disease, it has to be addressed by professionals and recovery must be monitored and maintained. Opiate drugs like morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl do more than produce a high and physical dependence. They change how the brain and body work. As the National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, “Addiction is a brain disease that affects multiple brain circuits, including those involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and inhibitory control over behavior.” Addiction creates brain changes that support further addiction. If you have ever caught yourself denying your addiction despite obvious indicators or taking more drugs to stave off withdrawal symptoms, you understand how this works and how addiction is a self-perpetuating disease. Your drug use is no longer a matter of willpower, so ending use requires more than that as well.
Concerns about confidentiality and stigma around drug use may stop individuals from getting treatment. Unfortunately stigma surrounding drug use and even addiction treatment is real and present, but the more people speak up, the more this changes. Attitudes towards drug use, addicts and those in recovery have already come a long way in a short time thanks to the efforts of individuals, scientists and supporters of those in recovery. While talking about the truth behind addiction and the realities of treatment is often seen as an essential step in long-term recovery, you do not have to share anything about your current status, your treatment or your recovery. Confidentiality laws protect your medical records, and you can request medical leave from work without specifying the reasons why. Treatment can be arranged around school schedules, vacation time and more to ensure further privacy, and there is no reason you have to immediately share the truth, or ever share the whole truth, about your treatment. However when addiction is not treated, it cannot remain a secret indefinitely. No matter how under-the-radar you believe your use to be, you will eventually be found out through a drug screen at work, because of legal troubles or because close family and friends will always know when a loved one is no longer entirely him or herself. When your addiction is unearthed through one of these routes, it cannot remain secret, and you cannot control how, when or why it is shared. When you attend treatment, you are given the power to decide who learns about your past, how much they learn and when and why they learn it.
Treatment is more affordable and accessible than ever. New laws expand insurance coverage requirements, and insurance is becoming easier to acquire. HealthCare.gov explains, “The Affordable Care Act ensures health plans offered in the individual and small group markets, both inside and outside of the Health Insurance Marketplace, offer a comprehensive package of items and services, known as essential health benefits. Essential health benefits must include…mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment.” If you have insurance, it is likely that you can find affordable treatment, even specific treatment that addresses your unique addiction recovery needs. If you do not have insurance, sliding-scale fees, payment plans and discounts for paying up front make treatment a financial possibility for anyone. No matter the price, treatment will always be cheaper than a lifetime of addiction.
There are stories about the positive, life-changing experiences individuals have had in treatment. There are also horror stories about untrained staff, unhelpful therapy and wasted time and money. You want your recovery to involve the former, not the latter. If you yourself have lapsed back into drug use after one, two or more previous recovery attempts, this does not mean you received “bad” treatment or that no treatment will work. You took a step towards a healthier life, and while it did not bring the immediate results you wanted, recovery is not immediate. As the New York Times explains, “people with serious substance abuse disorders commonly require care for months or even years…The short-term fix mentality partially explains why so many people go back to their old habits.” If you received inadequate or insufficient treatment, the treatment itself was not a failure. You learned more about what you need this time around. No matter what your past involves, it has brought you to this present where you are now ready to learn more about the right treatment for you as an individual, to try again and to move forward toward a healthy, drug-free life. So how do you find good treatment? You ask professionals. Call a reputable, confidential helpline such as ours and talk with real people, real admissions coordinators who understand the ins and outs of treatment. They are available 24 hours a day, and a phone call will connect you directly to one of these caring and knowledge people.