How do you know if your addiction is bad enough to go to rehab? Here’s everything you need to know before you make the life-changing decision.

Drinking alcohol and even recreational drug use is so commonplace in America that people who don’t indulge in a beer or a cocktail every once in a while are sometimes seen as suspect and antisocial. But if your use of mind-altering substances – be it booze, narcotics, or prescription painkillers – has become a problem, you might be addicted.

How do you know when that addiction should be treated by professionals? At what point in your downward spiral should you go to rehab? A lot of recovering addicts and addiction experts talk about “hitting bottom” but how can you know when you have done so? Read on to learn more.

What Are the Signs of Addiction?

The most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders offers 11 diagnostic criteria that may help determine the extent of your addiction.

  • Hazardous use. You have put yourself and others in danger while using, or engage in risk-taking behavior. Driving under the influence, overdosing, violent behavior, and even slips and falls are all examples of hazards related to drug use.
  • Social or interpersonal problems. The substance use has led to problems in your relationships.
  • Neglected major roles. You have lost a job, experienced difficulties at school, or otherwise fail to fulfill your responsibilities.
  • Withdrawal. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you have not used for a while.
  • Tolerance. You need more of the substance to achieve intoxication. In many cases, addicts must use simply to feel “normal” again.
  • Using more or more frequently. Often because of this increased tolerance, you use greater quantities of the drug or use it more often.
  • Failure to control use or quit. You want to cut back or quit altogether, but it’s been too difficult.
  • Significant time spent using. Most, if not all, of your time is devoted to acquiring and using your drug of choice.
  • Physical or psychological problems. Depression, anxiety, dental issues, liver damage, certain forms of cancer, skin issues, brain damage are just some of the physiological results of addiction.
  • Giving up everyday activities. Using has taken the place of previously enjoyable hobbies or activities. You would rather use than doing anything else.
  • Cravings. You experience regular, strong, hard-to-resist cravings for the drug and its effects.

It is not necessary to meet all of these criteria in order to be addicted.

If You Have to Ask

Have you ever heard the expression “If you have to ask what the price is, you probably can’t afford it?” Similarly, if you are questioning your own behavior with regard to drug or alcohol use, it’s likely that you do have a problem. That means it is time to learn how rehab works, and choose one that is right for you.

People who drink casually or use drugs socially (or, in the case of prescription drugs, in a medically responsible manner) don’t generally give the subject much thought. Experiencing doubts or having concerns about your use, particularly if you have tried but failed to stop using, is a good indicator that you should seek treatment.

In Closing: Should You Go to Rehab?

Making the decision to stop using drugs or drinking alcohol can be a life-changing one. Studies show that addicts who complete a rehab program have a much greater chance of staying clean. When they do relapse, it’s usually shorter-lived and easier to achieve sobriety again.

Of course, an addict who doesn’t genuinely want to quit likely isn’t a good candidate for rehab. In order to succeed, the individual must be committed to change and willing to do whatever it takes to live a clean life.

Do you have any experience with detox or rehab facilities? Have you ever attempted to quit an addictive substance or behavior “cold turkey”? We invite you to share your experience in the comment section.