Rehabilitation for drug abuse: When should you get help?

You might consider rehabilitation for drug abuse anytime you want to quit using drugs. In fact, drug rehabilitation is most helpful for those who are willing and motivated to change. More here on when to seek help for drug abuse and what to expect during rehabilitation.

minute read

Taking the first step toward drug rehab is often the most difficult. For many, it can be difficult to determine if or when they need rehabilitation for drug abuse.

So how do you know you’re ready for drug rehab? We explore here, and invite your questions about the rehabilitation process for drug abuse at the end.

Rehabilitation for drugs and getting help

Drug addiction can be incredibly hard to overcome, with or without rehabilitation. The main goal of rehabilitation for drug abuse is to help drug addicts learn to live without taking drugs. Who provides this guidance and where can you go to get help?

If you’re considering rehabilitation for a drug problem, it’s usually a good idea to consult with an experienced addiction counselor, also known as a licensed clinical psychologist. Psychologists can be found working in:

  • hospitals
  • rehabilitation centers
  • mental health centers
  • private practice

You can also seek help by asking for a referral from your family doctor, general physician, a social worker, family, or friends. Wherever you are, if you’re ready to quit abusing drugs, help is out there for you.

Do I need rehabilitation for drug abuse?

Chances are, if you truly need rehabilitation for drug abuse, you’ll recognize some of these symptoms of drug addiction in yourself.

1. Intention

Drug abuse occurs when you take drugs to get high. Period. They can be prescription drugs or street drugs. You can snort, inject, or smoke the drug. If you’re taking drugs for euphoric effect rather than therapeutic effect, you’re abusing drugs.

2. Physical dependence

Drug dependency occurs when your body becomes accustomed to functioning while under the influence of a particular drug. If you’re physically dependent on a drug, you’ll likely experience withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use it. While this symptom alone does not characterize addiction, it definitely signals a problem.

3. Psychological dependence

Using a drug to make it through the day is not normal. If you cannot live normally without your drug-of-choice, you’ll probably need help to stop using it. Treatment will help you understand why you started using drugs n the first place, and will help you develop coping mechanism for living life drug-free.

4. Preoccupation

Preoccupation is a characteristic of psychological dependence on a drug. Addicts will often become preoccupied with their drug of choice. When this happens, they will spend the majority of their time using, trying to obtain, or thinking about their drug of choice.

5. Tolerance

Once you become addicted to a drug, you’ll also most likely develop a tolerance to it. This means that you need more and more of the drug to achieve the same effects.

Signs you need rehabilitation for drug abuse

Typically, a drug addiction will negatively impact several areas of your life. The following list contains some common signs you need rehabilitation for drug abuse.

  • lone drug use
  • health problems
  • inability to quit using a drug, despite all of the problems it causes
  • shattered relationships
  • mental fog
  • mood swings
  • neglected appearance
  • problems at school or work

First steps for drug abuse rehabilitation

Intake and assessment are the first step in rehab for drug abuse. When you first start a drug rehabilitation program, you will undergo an initial assessment. This usually includes a psychological examination, medical history, and urinalysis or blood testing. You will probably be required to answer several questions regarding your drug use. Some of the questions you will be asked will include how often you use drugs, whether you’ve missed work due to your drug habit, and what your family thinks about it.

Intake and assessment are only the beginning of rehabilitation. What else can you expect during drug rehab? Rehabilitation for drug abuse usually occurs in a few steps, or stages:

1. Assessment
2. Detox, if necessary
3. Main treatments: psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy
4. Support services
5. Aftercare

When you need rehabilitation for drug abuse

Many addicted individuals only realize that they need rehabilitation for drug abuse once they’ve hit rock bottom. This occurs when a drug addict has nothing left to lose. Relationships have been broken, bank accounts have been emptied, health problems are rampant, and your mental health is fragile. Legal troubles are also a sign that you may have hit rock bottom and need rehabilitation for drug abuse.

However, it’s never too early to seek rehabilitation for drug abuse. Early addiction treatment is often more successful for a number of reasons. Individuals who seek treatment early have experienced less problems and can usually concentrated . So, to answer the question, you need rehabilitation for drug abuse any time you want to quit using drugs and can’t do it on your own.

Rehabilitation for drug abuse questions

Still have questions about what to expect during drug rehab? Please let us know in the comments section below. We do our best to respond to all comments personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: NIDA Signs and symptoms of addiction
Medline Plus: Substance abuse disorder
NIDA: The science of drug abuse and addiction
NIDA: Treatment approaches to drug addiction
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I have read and agree to the conditions outlined in the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

  1. I appreciate how you said that shattered relationships can be a sign that you need rehabilitation for drug use. My brother-in-law recently went through a tough divorce, and has started using drugs to comfort himself and handle the emotional toll the separation has taken on him. I’m sure he”d benefit from a substance abuse treatment program that can teach him alternative coping methods for ended relationships and learn to free himself from the drugs. Thank you.

  2. This article was really helpful. I really appreciate what you said about how you are abusing drugs if you’re taking them for a euphoric effect instead of a therapeutic effect. My sister doesn’t want to change her depression medication because she likes the way they make her feel, but I think it’s abuse. I’ll let her know that she’s taking them for a euphoric effect, and maybe she’ll be more open to going to addiction rehab.

  3. I have done meth off and on for over 27 yrs. Have stopped for up 2 to 3 yrs at a time. But then at times of high stress relapse easlly. Most of my family has no clue the few that due also use. Using has been a steady thing the last 3 to 4 yrs or so I try not to let it run my life but know better. I don’t smoke it or shoot up I snort it or pill it. I have never gotten in trouble with the law but have friends who have. I have had a few close calls I know I have just been lucky. I know I should get some help. Any suggestions? Where to start. Part of my family will disown me if they even find out and knew how long I have had this problem

    1. Hi Patrick. I suggest that you call the helpline you see on the website to get in touch with a trusted treatment consultant.

    1. Hi Jaya. Costs vary depending on many factors. Please read more about it here:

      If you cannot get any time off from work to go to a residential facility, you can still go to rehab. You may need to take a week or two off to detox and go through withdrawal. Then, you can choose an outpatient clinic that is near your living area, go to work during the day and go to treatment and meetings several times a week in the evenings. The average price of addiction outpatient treatment is $2,325 per treatment episode, on average.

      You can search for licensed treatment clinics near you here:

I am ready to call
i Who Answers?