If you’re unsure whether or not you are among the 23.2 million people in the United States who would benefit from addiction treatment, you’re not alone.

You know that things have gotten bad, but are they actually bad enough to warrant checking into rehab?

Here’s the truth: In America, some 22.7 million individuals need treatment for drug or alcohol abuse. But every year, less than 1% receive the help they need.

You don’t need to be physically addicted to a substance to need rehab. If substance abuse is causing negative effects in your life, it’s time to take a closer look. Here are 10 signs that you can’t afford to wait any longer:

1) You have driven a car while intoxicated or high.

It might not seem like a big deal at the time. It never does. But driving while drunk, buzzed, or high is a very real danger to everyone in your car and on the road with you, regardless of how experienced a driver you are. In fact, according to DrugAbuse.gov, in 2010, more than one-quarter of drugged drivers in fatal accidents were 50 years old or older. If you are unable to manage your behavior under the influence, it’s time to get help.

2) Your doctor tells you that you have health problems caused by your drug or alcohol use.

Drugs of all kinds will be harmful to the body over an extended time period. For example, alcoholism causes severe damage to the heart, brain, and liver. Opiate abuse can slow down your breathing to the point of permanent brain damage. Repeated use of some stimulants can cause cardiovascular failure and psychosis. If you inject drugs, the needles you use can increase your risk of contracting deadly diseases like HIV or hepatitis C.

If your drug or alcohol use is causing tangible effects on your health, your body is telling you loud and clear that it’s not doing well. Don’t ignore those signs.

3) Your friends and family have asked you to stop drinking or using drugs.

The people who know you best may be asking you to stop using – and likely with good reason. It’s easier to see the changes in your life from the outside. If those close to you are concerned, you should be too.

4) You experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking your drug of choice.

If you get headaches, nausea, cramps, insomnia, paranoia, irritability, or any other ills within a few hours after your last hit or drink, it’s only going to get worse. These withdrawal symptoms are how addiction strengthens its hold.

You can let it get stronger, or you can fight back. A drug and alcohol detox program can help you get through the withdrawal period while offering medication to ease the worst of it. Then, a treatment program will help you stay sober long-term.

5) Your freedom has been threatened due to choices you’ve made under the influence.

Maybe you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence, being drunk in public, violence, or possession of a controlled substance. If you are already on probation or parole, police contact due to being under the influence is often enough to put you back behind bars. Is avoiding a 30-day treatment program worth doing jail time for a few years or more?

6) You have harmed yourself or others while under the influence.

Certain drugs can cause or increase depression and other mental illnesses. If you’ve had suicidal thoughts, harmed yourself while using or as a result of using, or harmed someone else, you need to get help now. No matter how hopeless it feels, depression and other mental illnesses can be treated. You can escape the cycle and learn to live a fulfilling life again.

It might have started without major consequences—a missed class, a late assignment at work, arriving tardy once or twice. But over time, the offenses grew. If you’re afraid of losing your job, or if you already have, take a step back and reevaluate your drug or alcohol use. Getting help now may be your best chance of holding onto a job you love or getting one you want.

8) You have tried to quit but were unable to do so for any meaningful length of time.

Maybe you’ve tried to cut down your using but found that you couldn’t. This means your body is physically addicted to the substance, and you need to get help right now. Treatment works. Don’t wait for the addiction to get worse.

9) You’ve lied about your drinking or drug use.

Maybe you think it’s none of their business, and that you’ve got it under control on your own. But people don’t lie unless they have something to hide.

You don’t have to keep building the walls around yourself. You don’t need to lie anymore. When you accept that you need help kicking this thing, the walls come down and your freedom is on the other side.

10) You want to stop drinking or using drugs, but don’t know how.

You’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. Hangovers, withdrawals, constantly thinking about where to get the next hit or when you’ll be able to drink. It’s exhausting. But you can’t figure out how to actually get out of it.

The thing is, addiction is a medical disorder, which means getting clean on your own is ridiculously hard. Needing professional treatment doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It only means you have an addiction. And luckily, addictions are entirely treatable.

Stop The Cycle

If you or someone you care about needs treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction, reach out. Our qualified team is ready to answer your questions and find a treatment plan that’s right for your situation.

Nothing is more important than health and well being. If you or someone you care for needs treatment for drug addiction, please contact us. We’re here to help!


DrugFacts: Nationwide Trends.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, June 2015. Accessed August 2, 2019.

DrugFacts: Drugged Driving.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, March 2019. Accessed August 2, 2019.


Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.