Ten Signs It’s Time to Get Addiction Help Right Away

Depressed man is thinking to get sober

Growing up, nobody plans to develop an addiction and then go to rehab. Addiction is something that can happen to anyone and is very common. Despite the social stigma surrounding this condition, addiction should not be swept under the rug and forgotten about with the hope that it will go away on its own. Most people who suffer from an addiction will find great benefit from attending a quality residential treatment program that will help them address the root causes of their substance use. While this may not be an easy step to take, it is often the first step towards living a life of recovery.

It can be challenging to know when it is suitable for a person to go to treatment. Sometimes people are thrown off by the cost of treatment, the length of the stay, or being away from home. While these are all valid concerns, they aren’t strong enough reasons for a person to avoid getting help for their condition. If you are unsure whether you or someone you love needs help for their addiction, here are some common signs that it is time to get professional help as soon as possible.

1. You have had an overdose

When a person experiences a drug overdose, they must consider seeking treatment for their drug or alcohol use. Drug overdoses kill people daily in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average of 38 people die from an opioid overdose every day in the United States. Every time a person uses drugs on the streets, they risk an overdose. A person’s willingness to accept treatment will often increase after they have experienced an overdose; when this happens, it is best to get that person into a treatment facility right away.

2. You are experiencing legal problems

Legal problems are a common side effect of addiction. The longer a person has an addiction, the more likely it will be that they develop legal problems. When a person begins to catch multiple drug charges, theft charges, driving under the influence charges, etc., it is a sign that they are in serious need of help. While this shouldn’t be the only reason for going to treatment, attending a long-term addiction program will often positively impact a person’s court case. If you face drug-related legal charges seeking professional help is often considered a proactive step by the court system.

Clean your room – note on the door

3. Maintaining your addiction has become the main priority for your life.

If the primary purpose of a person’s life has become to maintain their addiction, then it is time for them to go to rehab. Unfortunately, this happens to people all the time when they are caught up in their addiction. When someone no longer prioritizes the things in life that should matter, it is a major red flag. It is a sad day when a person begins to prioritize their addiction over their family and other responsibilities, but it is an all too common occurrence. If this is the case for you or someone you love, then it is time to get help right away.

4. You can’t stop on your own.

Sometimes people can get sober all on their own without any help. While this does happen from time to time, most people will benefit from going to some form of addiction treatment. Getting professional addiction help doesn’t mean that a person is weak or has low willpower, but rather that they are serious about turning their lives around. While the idea of going to rehab doesn’t sound very fun, it can be the turning point that many people need to get their lives back on track.

5. Your tolerance is increasing.

A common symptom of addiction is an increased tolerance to drugs or alcohol. When a person needs to use more and more drugs to experience the same effect, they are putting themselves at risk for overdose. In addition, risky behavior is prevalent when using illicit street drugs. Because a person can never know for sure the potency of drugs off the street, it becomes all too easy for a person to unknowingly overdose. The best way to avoid the risk of overdose is for a person to get sober right away.

6. You are experiencing negative consequences due to your addiction but continue to use.

A significant sign that person has an addiction to drugs or alcohol is when they continue to use despite the negative consequences of their drug use. The downward spiral that occurs can be tricky for people related to the addict to witness because, for most people, losing everything from their life would be enough to make them want to stop using drugs. However, for someone who is addicted, things aren’t that simple. Once a person has reached this level of addiction, they will most likely need a treatment program to help them get sober and sort their lives out.

upset family

7. Your loved one has mentioned they think you have a problem.

Often, a person with an addiction will either be blind to the fact that they have a problem or unwilling to admit it to anyone else. A person who is in denial is an example of a situation where intervention is usually needed. When other people start to notice that a person has a problem, then the chances are that person will need some form of professional help to get better. No one wants to admit that they have a drug problem, but the sooner they can do so, the better off they will be.

8. You have lost interest in things that used to matter.

A sad thing that often happens when it comes to addiction is losing interest in things that were once important. When the only enjoyable thing is drinking or getting high, a severe problem is at hand. Too many dreams have been lost to addiction, but recovery makes it possible to go after those dreams again.

9. Your relationships are strained due to your addiction.

Addiction harms relationships because it causes people to say and do things they usually wouldn’t. Often, people with an addiction will lie to their loved ones about the extent of their problem to try and minimize things. The more a person lies to another person, the more damage will be done. Many bridges have been burned due to addiction, but that doesn’t mean that people cannot mend things with time when a person decides to live a life of recovery.

10. You feel it in your heart.

Most people with an addiction will know deep down that they have a problem, even if they are not yet ready to admit this problem to anyone else. If you or someone you know feels it down in your heart that there is a problem and it is time to seek help, then listen to that voice and reach out for help as soon as possible before it is too late.


Reviewed by Matt Hawk, BS, CADC-II, ICADC



After overcoming her own addiction in 2012 Julie went on to become certified as an addiction counselor in order to help others achieve a life of recovery. She worked in the addiction field for 8 years and now uses both her personal and professional experiences with addiction as an influence for her writing.