3 Signs You Can Benefit from Substance Abuse Treatment

Woman alone and thinking

There is no alarm bell that sounds when substance use crosses over to dependence and you require substance abuse treatment in Easton PA. In fact, there’s still a common misconception that you have to wait to seek care until you reach rock bottom. However, this isn’t the case, as there are various levels of care that will meet you where you are. Whether you are experiencing a severe substance use disorder or the beginning stages of one, you can access help that is right for you. 

Below are the three main warning signs that you can benefit from an addiction treatment program. 

1. You meet 2+ criteria for substance use on the DSM-5. 

The DSM-5 is the gold-standard text for mental illness. The criteria for diagnosing substance use disorders are based on decades of research and clinical knowledge. When diagnosing a substance use disorder, medical professionals look at 11 different criteria. Two to three symptoms indicate a mild disorder, 4-5 indicate a moderate disorder and 6+ indicate a severe disorder

The 11 criteria are: 

  1. Taking the substance in larger quantities or for longer than intended
  2. Wanting to cut down or stop using but can’t 
  3. Spending a lot of time engaging in substance use
  4. Strong cravings and urges 
  5. Not managing your responsibilities at home, work or school 
  6. Continuing to use despite negative consequences 
  7. Giving up previously enjoyed activities because of substance use 
  8. Continuing to use even with the presence of other physical or psychological problems
  9. Needing more of the substance to get the effects you want 
  10. Developing withdrawal symptoms 

2. Your friends and family are expressing concern. 

Once you develop an addiction, it means that changes have already happened in your brain. And, if you try to quit or cut back, you’re likely to experience painful withdrawal symptoms that make you want to use again. This is why the cycle of substance use continues, even though you may be experiencing negative consequences like job loss or divorce. 

The people closest to you are the ones who are most likely to notice your change in behavior. They may be expressing concern, or even feeling like you’re choosing drugs or alcohol over them. If you’re spending most of your time obtaining, using and recovering from substances, and your loved ones are concerned, it’s time to start thinking about treatment. 

3. Health problems are becoming more frequent. 

Over time, substance use damages the mind and body by taking a toll on the organs, increasing the risk for heart disease and stroke, raising the risk for certain cancers and depleting the brain of neurotransmitters. This can make existing mental health disorders worse or even cause mental health problems of its own. 

If you notice that health problems are becoming the norm, you can likely benefit from detoxification. Detox removes drugs, alcohol and toxins from the body and prepares you for recovery. You’ll feel better physically and get on the track to better health, with improved eating, sleeping and exercise habits. 

Once you are thinking clearly and no longer experiencing such strong cravings, you can put your energy into therapy. Therapy helps you understand your motivations for using substances, how to identify unhelpful thoughts and behaviors and how to better cope with stress. Your brain will also heal over time and restore the levels of neurotransmitters. 

Your Road to Recovery Starts Here 

Recovery Cove in Easton PA is an outpatient treatment program with various levels of care—partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient and outpatient. We maintain a positive environment where clients get to work on their recoveries without fear of judgment. To learn more about our outpatient services and how to get started, contact us today 484-549-COVE