There’s No Shame in Asking for Help with Addiction Recovery

There’s No Shame in Asking for Help with Addiction Recovery

If either you or someone close to you has started to notice signs of addiction in your behaviors, choices or lifestyle, it’s crucial to understand, there is no shame in asking for help. In fact, this courageous first step will point you in the direction of invaluable resources or treatment options to aid in your healing process. As vulnerable and intimidating as it can feel, the decision to ask for help in this area might just set you on a course to reclaiming your life.

According to new research from the Current Opinion in Psychiatry Journal, rates of substance abuse have increased these last couple years due to social isolation, economic stress, and an overall urge to self-medicate in uncertain times. Addiction is a common mental health issue that many people across all demographics can fall prey to, but the realization that you’re not alone—and interventions are out there—can be so meaningful on the road to recovery. However, this often starts with releasing yourself from the shame and asking for help.

Why Is It So Important to Seek Out Help with Addiction Recovery?

You might believe that you are in control of this addiction and, therefore, can stop at any time. But the truth is, addictive substances or behaviors alter the chemical wiring in your brain over time to create a psychological reward system that’s activated by consuming more of the substance in question. As a result, the brain will start to become reliant on whatever external stimuli is fueling this reward system, which causes the addictive patterns to escalate. Once that cycle takes root, it’s not always possible to quit on your own.

In most cases, you will need the help of someone on the outside who cares enough about you to call attention to the destructive or harmful choices you’re making. Their honest concern might be difficult to receive initially, or could even cause some feelings of defensiveness to surface. But sometimes your thoughts, behaviors and emotions are just too intertwined with the addiction to see it as a danger until another person intervenes and offers to help.

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So keep in mind, if you cannot break the cycle of addiction alone, that is normal—it’s not an indication or weakness, laziness or incompetence. Most people who suffer from substance abuse or other forms of addiction will benefit from reaching out for help, and it’s important to realize there is absolutely no shame in doing so. When you ask for help from someone you trust who wants nothing more than to see you recover, this can open a door to the right therapeutic resources, interventions or treatments you’ll need to start the healing process.

Which Treatment Resources Are Available for Addiction Recovery?

While there is no shame in asking for help, this is only the first step in addiction recovery, so please do not be alarmed if the person you seek out recommends a formal treatment program. This can be terrifying, but it’s also beneficial in order to ultimately reach a place of sustainable healing. When it comes to addiction, there are three main tiers of treatment—and just as with asking for help, there is no shame in taking any of these routes to recovery.

  • Residential Treatment Facilities: This level of treatment requires you to live inpatient at a rehabilitation center on either a short-term (four to six weeks) or long-term (several months) basis. Residential treatment is usually most helpful in the earliest addiction recovery stages in order to facilitate a controlled, safe environment while you detox from the substances or behaviors. This is also an option to consider if you have other co-occurring mental health issues such as anxiety, depression or PTSD.
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs: This level of treatment offers you more freedom and flexibility than a residential center because you are not required to live onsite. While the care regimen does take considerable time and commitment, you can structure it around the existing routines of daily life. In some cases, you can even find online intensive outpatient programs, which allow you to take part in virtual sessions, classes and other therapeutic modalities in between work, school or family obligations.
  • Telehealth or In-Person Therapy: This level of treatment is ideal for later stages of recovery after the initial steps of medical stabilizing, detoxification and intensive care have already taken place. Once you feel stronger, healthier and more balanced in your healing process, weekly sessions with a trained counselor who specializes in addiction treatment will provide both accountability and support as learn how to navigate life in real time without self-medication. As with the second tier, many therapists offer telehealth services if you want an alternative to traditional in-person counseling.
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Remember: There’s No Shame in Asking for Help with Addiction Recovery

No matter how anxious, uncertain, skeptical or afraid you feel at first, there is never any shame in asking for help to overcome an addiction. Resources are available to direct you on the path to healing, but you might not know these treatment options exists—or how to access them—if you don’t summon the courage to ask for help. So reach out to someone you trust or even call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) hotline number, which is free to contact 24–7 from anywhere in the United States.


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