Drugs and alcohol are a serious problem right across the UK and England’s home counties are no exception. A 2015 study found that alcohol, while legal, caused great harm to both drinkers and society as a whole. Alcohol was identified as an aggravating factor in more than a quarter (27.4%) of domestic abuse cases in Hertfordshire for example. It found that harmful drinking was rising in over-40s and alcohol-related hospitalisations were on the rise for all age groups.
Illegal drugs also pose a serious problem in the county, with the number of people seeking help for cocaine addiction having doubled over the past decade. If you have an addiction problem you’re certainly not alone, and rehab in Bishops Stortford could help you to get back on track.
Do you need help for addiction?
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary definition for addiction is: “A compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence.”
Those are the basic facts but addiction is a very complex condition. It affects the way the addict’s brain works, essentially rewiring vital functions and distorting the way they think and behave. The compulsive element is what makes it so very difficult to give up without the right kind of help and this need to continue using applies even in the face of extremely negative consequences. If left untreated, addiction can become a downward spiral, causing harm to the user’s health, relationships, work and quality of life. Drug and alcohol treatment centres can provide a lifeline if you decide that enough is enough and you want to take back control.
The signs of drug or alcohol addiction
It’s an old adage but one that is true – you must really want to change before you are able to do so. Unfortunately, dishonesty is another behaviour that is often linked to addiction problems – and that includes self-denial. Many addicts are either unable or simply unwilling to admit that they have a problem and it is often friends, family and loved ones who flag it up.
We can offer confidential help and advice if you believe someone you know is struggling with addiction. It is usually better to speak to the person about your concerns but the way you approach and communicate with them is important. Some addicts might react better to one person than another and some might respond to a full intervention. Angry, spontaneous confrontations can be counter-productive so it is generally best to think carefully before speaking up.
If you think your drinking or drug use might be a problem, you might want to ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your drinking exceed the Chief Medical Officer’s Low Risk Drinking Guidelines?
- Do you drink or use drugs daily or on most days?
- Do you binge?
- Has your use of the substance increased?
- Do you need to take more to feel the same way, or even to feel normal?
- Do you feel bad, either physically or mentally, when you do not take the substance?
- Do you have cravings for the substance?
- Is your social circle and leisure activities largely based on drinking/drug use?
- Do you make excuses not to go to activities or places where you cannot drink/use drugs?
- Is your physical and mental health suffering?
- Do you neglect to look after yourself – washing, eating properly etc?
- Do you drink or use drugs in secret?
- Do you get defensive when your consumption is raised?
- Do you make excuses like celebrating to drink or use drugs?
- Have your work life and relationships suffered?
This is not an exhaustive list of questions and does not represent a diagnosis, but if a number of your answers were ‘Yes’ then you might need to seek further help in the form of drug abuse treatment rehabilitation or alcohol rehab.
The damage that addiction can do
Addiction to alcohol or drugs can have serious consequences and these are more likely to have an impact the longer the addiction is left untreated. The physical and psychological damage can vary depending on the substance involved and the duration and heaviness of use. Alcohol and drug use is also linked to criminal, reckless and violent behaviour. Death from overdose (drug or alcohol-related poisoning) is always a danger but substance misuse can also shorten lives through illness. Some physical conditions could include heart disease, some forms of cancer, HIV, high blood pressure, infections and many more.
Addiction is also often linked to mental illness – although there are generally complex interactions at play and it is often not clear how much of the mental illness is actually caused by addiction and vice versa. There is no doubt that people who misuse drugs and alcohol tend to be more prone to conditions like depression and anxiety however. For those already suffering from mental illness, ‘self-medicating’ with drugs and alcohol is never a good idea.
It isn’t all about the addict themselves though. Addiction can tear families and relationships apart. It ruins careers and invades every part of the addict’s life and also has an effect on society as a whole. Addiction fuels crime and ant-social behaviour
How drug and alcohol rehabilitation can help
There are a number of treatment options available for addiction but the most effective way of dealing with a serious, chronic addiction problem has been shown to be a residential stay in alcohol and drug rehab clinics. This can help the patient or client to get sober or clean by undergoing a safe, supervised detox. This is only stage one however, as it is all too easy to begin using again once you have left the detox clinic behind. A well-designed addiction treatment programme will also use a range of therapies and other treatments to explore the root cause of the addiction and provide the individual with the tools they need to make and maintain a long term recovery.