When is it Time to get into Treatment

Ways to Know it's Time to Go to Rehab

Family and friends are the people who are likely to see the first negative changes in an addict’s behavior. If you are worried about a loved one's safety and health when they are under the influence and your pleas to them to stop have fallen on deaf ears, the time to get help is now. Any of the following signs is a sure indication that your loved one's drug or alcohol use has crossed the line to abuse and that rehab treatment needs to be the very next step.

Being Violent

Violence for any reason is never excusable, but it’s completely unacceptable when the victim or perpetrator is under the influence. Domestic violence, date rape, assault or even self-harm while under the influence is a big red flag that your loved one needs professional help right away.

Health Problems Caused by Substance Abuse

There are a number of chronic ailments that are exacerbated by ongoing drug use, such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other medical disorders. If your loved one uses needles to inject drugs, they may be at increased risk of contracting HIV or hepatitis C. Those who drink regularly are at greater risk of developing diseases like heart and liver disease, and certain cancers. Both alcohol and acetaminophen – found in most prescription painkillers – can cause liver damage and or failure. Ongoing substance abuse will inevitably compromise an addict's health problems, so it can never be too soon to get clean.

Problems at Work or School

Poor performance at work or school can begin early on with substance abuse. When that escalates, or your loved one is using so heavily that they are unable to function well or even show up at work or school, then it's just a matter of time before they are fired or expelled. Any such behavior is a sign that immediate treatment is necessary.

Doesn't Know How to Stop

Your loved one may be well beyond “being sick and tired of being sick and tired,” but have no idea about how to begin getting sober. An addict is unlikely to ask for help, but may be receptive to an offer of help if it is delivered in the right way.


In general, people don’t lie about things for which they are proud, but they do lie when they have something to hide. If your loved one is hiding, or lying about, their use of drugs and/or alcohol, then on some level they know that they are not making the best choices. If your loved one continues to use despite the realization that it's harmful to their health and well being, next steps are needed.

Withdrawal Symptoms When Trying To Stop

If your loved one gets headaches, nausea, cramps, insomnia, paranoia, irritability, or any number of other withdrawal symptoms within a few hours of their last drink or hit of their drug of choice, it is clearly time for help with professional detox methods and subsequent rehab.

The Addict Can't Quit

If your loved one, like most addicts, has tried to quit drinking or using drugs, even for a finite period, but has been unsuccessful, then it's time to consider rehab. The inability to stop is one of the defining characteristics of addiction.

Trouble with the Law

Any arrest for driving under the influence, being drunk in public, violence, or possession of a controlled substance – among many other drug and alcohol-related charges -- can result in jail time. If your loved one is already on probation or parole and still not able to stay clean, it’s time for rehab.

Driving While Intoxicated

There are stiff legal penalties for driving while intoxicated because it not only poses a danger to the driver, but also everyone else in the car and on or near the road. If your loved one can't moderate their drug or alcohol use before getting behind the wheel, it’s a big red flag that it’s time to get help.