Admitting to a drug problem is the first step in the right direction. Many times, addicts fail to see how their addiction has negatively affected not only their own personal life but also those they love most. Finally admitting this can open their eyes to the destruction their addiction caused and help them understand that they no longer want to live that lifestyle.
Next comes the step of admitting to others that you have an addiction and asking for help. Most addicts are scared to tell their doctors about their addiction, especially if their addiction is to the medications the doctor is prescribing. However, informing doctors about your addiction can help in numerous ways and ultimately give you your life back.
Reasons to Discuss Your Addiction With Your Doctor
People experiment with drugs for a variety of different reasons. People try drugs for many reasons, including to relax or have a good time, peer pressure, to help improve their athletic ability, or to relieve other issues such as stress, anxiety, depression, or pain. As with many other conditions and diseases, vulnerability to addiction differs from person to person. An individual’s genes, mental health, family, and social environment all play a role in addiction. Common risk factors that increase one’s vulnerability include:
- Family history of addiction
- Abuse, neglect, or other form of trauma
- Mental disorders
- Early use of drugs
- Method of use and/or administering
Many who experiment with drugs often continue to do so because the substance of choice either makes them feel good or stops them from feeling bad. In many cases, there is an extremely fine line between regular use and drug abuse. A limited amount of addicts are able to recognize when they have in fact crossed that fine line. While frequency and amount of drug use doesn’t alone constitute addiction, they can be indicators of drug-related problems.
Consulting a doctor about the addiction or presumed addiction can make an addict uncomfortable or fear that he will no longer be able to use the drug he has come to rely on, especially if it is being prescribed by that same doctor. Included in the following are four examples of how discussing one’s addiction with a doctor can help him both achieve and maintain sobriety:
- Help with referrals into treatment or help with resources
- Limit medications prescribed or offer alternatives
- Integrate healthy diet into the addict’s life
- Educate the addict about addiction
Some treatment programs require a referral from a doctor in order for an individual to be accepted to receive treatment there. Unfortunately, if the addict does not inform his doctor about his addiction he may not be able to get a referral. Although not all rehabs need a doctor’s referral for the addict to be able to get help, what if the facility that best fits the addict’s needs requires it?
If the addict has become addicted to medication, the doctor may try alternatives before helping the addict enter a treatment facility. These alternatives can include placing a limit on the medications prescribed or even offering non-addictive, possibly herbal medications, which can treat the addict’s condition without placing him at risk for developing another addiction. Along with these alternatives, the doctor may be able to medicate some of the addict’s health conditions with more holistic medications, making his body healthier and repairing the possible damage caused by addiction.
The doctor can also help the addict set up a healthy schedule, such as healthy eating habits and an exercise regimen so that he can improve his overall health, both internally and externally. With this comes education not only about how addiction impacted his life, mentally, physically, and psychologically, but also how he can move past this and find treatment. Local doctors may know of community resources that others are unaware of, which may help the addict feel more comfortable to seek treatment.