Many effective treatment options are now available that can help individuals break free of addiction. The problem is getting those who need this type of help to access it; there is no real way to force anybody to deal with their addiction problems. It is wonderful that there are now so many paths away from addiction; however, more needs to be done to encourage people to seek treatment. One way of doing this is to help those caught up in addiction to understand the dangers of delaying addiction treatment.
Part of the denial of addiction is not appreciating the perceived danger one may be in. It could feel as if there is all the time in the world to deal with an addiction problem, but this is certainly not the case. Individuals die due to addiction every day of the week, and there is no telling when will happen. This means that by continuing to drink or use drugs, the person is taking a huge gamble.
Those who are addicted are said to be caught up in a downward spiral. This means that the longer they remain addicted, the worse things are likely to get for them. There is no benefit in prolonging this suffering, so it make sense to get help to end the addiction sooner rather than later. If the person continues with the downward spiral, they will eventually cross a line where a full recovery will no longer be possible (for example, alcoholic dementia).
It is usually not only the person caught up in addiction that suffers because of this problem, the family can be under enormous pressure as well, often kids suffering the most. It is not fair for these other people to continue to endure this type of damage. Individuals may not be responsible for becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs (it is not as if it is something that was planned), but they are responsible for ending the addiction. In fact, there can be no improvement until the individual decides to quit.
One of the effects of prolonged substance abuse is that it reduces a person’s self-efficacy. This is their own self-belief in their ability to change; the lower a person’s self-efficacy, the harder it can be for them to make positive changes to their life. The other problem is that addiction also damages self-esteem, which means that the person can reach a stage where they actually begin to believe that the pain of addiction is all they really deserve in life. When low self-efficacy is combined with low self-esteem, it can make it incredibly hard for the person to develop the motivation to break free.
Those caught up in addiction can create a huge amount of wreckage in their life – they can lose jobs, damage their reputation, destroy friendships, and lose the respect of their family. The longer this destruction is allowed to continue, the more wreckage there will be to deal with once the person becomes sober. It will therefore always be better to stop as soon as possible so there will be less to deal with in recovery. Those individuals who have a high rock bottom are usually able to get their life back on track very quickly.