Many people believe that drug and alcohol addicts must hit “rock bottom” before seeking help to detox. You can’t get any lower than death, so why is it so many family members and friends wait to intervene? The truth is, every person addicted to alcohol, street drugs or prescribed opiates is already a step away from death. The ultimate bottom for addicts is always within reach. Whether it’s intentional overdose, accidental death, an allergic reaction or a result of risky behavior, addictions are by nature destructive and often lead to tragedy.
The concept of a “bottom” is subjective at best. To one person, the bottom could be overdose. To another, it could be arrest. No one ever knows what someone else’s bottom is, oftentimes until it is too late. Once they establish a pattern of abuse, loved ones should intervene. An addict who is forced to acknowledge the consequences of his or her actions early on is more likely to seek help. Too often, loved ones step in to save the day but do so in the wrong way.
ADDICTS NEED HELP, NOT ENABLING
Helping addicts cover bills or giving them a place to stay while actively using is enabling them to stay sick. While it is often done out of love, it helps to keep them in denial about their addiction. This can cause them to delay treatment. Drug and alcohol addiction is a progressive disease and can be fatal. Addiction can ruin lives, derail careers and destroy relationships. It can lead to homelessness, arrest, legal trouble, divorce, estrangement among family members, depression, physical problems and death.
Abuse and addiction are soaring among prescription drug users. Whether obtained legally or not, many drugs such as opiates are highly addictive and easily lead to tolerance and dependence. An opiate addict can have unpredictable mood swings, neglect responsibilities and relationships, lie and be manipulative and unreliable. Caught in a cycle of highs and lows, opiate addicts often try to recapture the euphoria they experienced when first using. This leads to tolerance, which cause them to take more to feel normal, and for many, ends in addiction.
EARLY INTERVENTION MAY GIVE ADDICTS A BETTER CHANCE
The fear of experiencing withdrawal from opiates may keep some addicts using. Defense mechanisms they employ include denial and rationalization of their use and its resulting behavior. When it comes to going “cold turkey,” for many addicts, the success rates aren’t encouraging. But no one is ever too far gone. Many addiction experts say there is a better chance at long-term recovery if treatment is sought early. It makes for an easier transition into sober living, they say. For those addicted to alcohol, street drugs and opiates like Percocet, OxyContin and Vicodin, medically supervised detox may be necessary.