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Understanding the Severity of Your Addiction

Table of Content

Table of Content

Reaching out to a treatment center is the first step in recovery. Yet, many Americans do not reach out for help because they haven’t fully realized how severe their addiction is.

A 2016 study published revealed that approximately 19.9 million American adults needed substance use treatment over the previous year. Of this group, only 10.8% received help at a facility designed to treat addiction.

Determining whether you need substance use disorder treatment and taking the necessary actions can help you prevent potential long-term negative health, financial and family damage. Below, we’ve outlined some signs it’s time to get help for your addiction, what to do if your friends don’t acknowledge your dependence and why honesty and treatment will be crucial to your recovery.


The right friends can improve our outlook on life, lend support and make everything better. If your friends won’t acknowledge your addiction, there could be several reasons. It’s essential to gain perspective on what these may be to prepare for your next steps in seeking help.

Here are a few reasons your friends may bypass your truth about substance use:

  • They are ashamed.
  • They are in denial of their own addiction.
  • They’re hurt.
  • They’re simply unaware.
  • They’re enabling for personal gain

Ultimately, only you have the power and the strength to seek treatment. While it’s important to have a strong support system, we cannot always count on the people we call friends to accompany us through hard times.

The good news is that addiction treatment will help you salvage healthy relationships while ending friendships that only brought negativity to your life. In the end, having the right people by your side will only augment your vitality, happiness and overall well-being.


If you think you need help recovering from substance use disorder, know you’re not alone. More than that, you don’t need to feel ashamed or embarrassed. It takes considerable courage to ask for help for addiction.

When we isolate ourselves to keep our addictions under wraps, it can cause feelings of isolation, shame and worthlessness to amplify. Trying to hide addiction can also cause our relationships to weaken and make it harder for us to see the truth of who we are.

Acknowledging the truth of our addiction to ourselves and others is the first step to a successful recovery.


So you’ve acknowledged to yourself — and maybe even your friends — that you’re struggling with addiction. But when do you know it’s the right time to quit?

Determining if you need substance use disorder treatment depends on the severity of the addiction symptoms you exhibit. There are certain social, mental and physical signs to look out for if you think you are suffering from a substance use disorder.

Physical Signs You May Have an Addiction

Physical signs of dependence may manifest first and include:

  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Changes in appetite
  • Increased tolerance
  • Changes to appearance
  • Insomnia
  • Alcohol- or drug-related injury

Mental Signs You May Have an Addiction

To determine if you need rehab, be on the lookout for the following mental signs:

  • Continued use despite health consequences
  • Engaging in risky behavior to facilitate substance abuse
  • Stressing or obsessing over your next dose
  • Taking larger doses to overcome tolerance
  • Using substances to handle difficult emotions
  • Being unable to stop substance use


When you stop taking any chemical substance, your body will react by expelling all of the remaining chemicals and toxins. This detoxification process involves intense cravings and can be challenging to overcome alone. However, by enrolling in a treatment center or a rehab facility, you will receive the support you need. In some cases, you may also be given medication to help alleviate some of the withdrawal symptoms.

In a facility designed to treat addiction, you will be continuously monitored to ensure your safety and comfort. Many people agree that entering a rehab facility or treatment center is the safest and most effective way to start the recovery journey.


For over five decades, Gateway Foundation has offered services including acceptance and commitment therapy, trauma therapy, mindfulness-based sobriety, cognitive behavioral therapy, relapse prevention therapy, and 12-step addiction treatment throughout the Illinois area.

When you step foot on one of our multi-site campuses, you can rest assured that every member of our team is committed to your long-term success. We’re with you for life. Our compassionate, experienced professionals are ready to help you or a loved one recover from substance use disorder. Reach out to a representative today to learn more.

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