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The United States healthcare system has undergone a wide variety of changes over the past few years. As the overall health of its citizens continues to deteriorate and people live longer, certain aspects of healthcare are costing an increasingly large portion of the healthcare budget. Problems such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, and substance abuse have become the most pressing issues facing healthcare providers today.
For those dealing with substance abuse problems, many questions fill the head. Am I truly an addict? Can I stop whenever I want to? Does my problem merit treatment? How did I get here? For people wondering if their problem merits treatment, the short answer is "yes." In fact, according to SAMHSA's 2012 National Survey on Drug use and Health, only 10% of people struggling with substance abuse or dependence received treatment.
The first step towards deciding if treatment is necessary is to decide if a problem exists. The most common substance of abuse in the world is alcohol. This is because it is legal and readily accessible. Most mental health professionals will use the CAGE questionnaire. This asks 4 questions. The first is, "do people complain about my drinking?" The second is, "do I get annoyed when people complain about my drinking?" The third is, "do I feel guilty about my drinking?" The last is, "Do I ever need an eye-opener?" An eye-opener is a drink in the morning. This is usually consumed to relieve a hangover. If the answer is "yes" to 2 or more of these questions, there is a high likelihood the individual is struggling with addiction. Positive responses are signs that a serious problem exists and needs to be addressed.
Once someone has admitted that a problem exists, the next step is to decide if the problem warrants treatment. The easy answer is that all addiction problems need and deserve help. The harder part is convincing people that treatment is necessary. First, asking for help is not a sign of weakness. This is a sign of a desire to get better. Once someone has acquiesced to treatment, the next step is to decide what kind of treatment is best? There is an individual therapy, which can help people find the root of the problem. This is helpful for people who need the focus on the causes of their addiction before getting better. There are also group therapy options. This is helpful for people who need to see the impact that abuse has had on other people. The last type of therapy is inpatient hospitalization. This is the last resort for people whose addictions have caused significant damage to those around them and are incapable of stopping their addiction. For people who are a danger to themselves or others, this is the appropriate option.
Ultimately, all addictions are bad enough to warrant treatment. It can be tempting to try to overcome without help. Many people also believe that addiction treatment is only reserved for people who hit rock bottom. In reality, waiting for a problem to get worse before asking for help will only prolong the recovery time, damage those around the patient, and cause increased harm to oneself. Admitting a problem is the first step. Asking for help is the next. Deciding the appropriate treatment option follows. These are all important steps on the path to recovery. All addictions require treatment. Ask for help today.
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