Ten Signs It’s Time for Rehab

Addict going downstairs

Chances are, if you are reading this, then either you or someone you love is struggling with addiction. One of the saddest things about addiction is that it impacts everyone connected to the struggling person. Addiction is a condition that does not discriminate and can destroy someone’s life regardless of their age, gender, or economic status.

Addiction is something that can be very difficult to overcome without the assistance of professional help. Getting sober can be problematic in the early days of recovery, and at times withdrawal symptoms can even be life-threatening. Because addiction is such a severe condition, many treatment centers are available to assist in the recovery process.

To a large number of people, treatment may seem like a last-ditch effort to get sober, but in my opinion, the sooner a person can get help for their addiction, the better. People are often worried that they will have to spend a lot of money on something they fear may not work. If you wonder whether or not rehab is a good option for you or someone you love, several signs may indicate that the issue at hand would greatly benefit from some form of professional help. Below are ten red flags to look out for that may show it is time for rehab.

Overdosed young woman at the hospital

1. There has been an overdose.

Having a drug overdose is a pretty scary situation for everyone involved. With all of the fentanyl being mixed in with illicit drugs these days, people never really know what they are getting when purchasing drugs off the street. People are overdosing at alarming rates, and many people aren’t lucky enough to survive it. If you or your loved one have survived an overdose, please use this as a wake-up call to get some help; you might not be as lucky the next time.

2. Physical health is declining.

Chronic drug and alcohol use take a severe toll on a person’s overall health and well-being. A long list of serious health problems can occur from drinking and using drugs, including such things as catching Hepatitis C, HIV, developing cirrhosis of the liver or losing your teeth. A person experiencing negative health consequences yet continuing to drink or use is a major red flag that some professional help would be a beneficial step towards getting better.

3. The person has been unsuccessful at getting sober on their own.

Sometimes people can get sober on their own without having to go to treatment. Many times people will need some form of assistance to kick their drug habit for good. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. If a person has been unable to get sober on their own in the past, it may be time to consider residential rehab.

4. Legal, family or work problems.

The longer an addiction continues, the more likely it will be to start causing problems. Many people begin to experience strained relationships and decreased job performance due to their drinking or drug use. People frequently begin to develop legal issues due to drugs and alcohol. If these sorts of problems are beginning to occur, it is better to go to treatment sooner than later. Often the longer a person waits to get sober, the worse off their problems will become.

Police arresting addict woman

5. Experiencing blackouts or gaps in memory.

When someone is experiencing blackouts and gaps in memories from drinking or drug use, it is a serious sign that they are drinking too much. Many times people will say or do things they usually wouldn’t while they are experiencing a blackout. Blackouts lead to dangerous situations and cause serious problems. If you or someone you know is experiencing this sort of occurrence, then it is a good sign you need to get sober.

6. Continuing to use despite negative consequences.

The telltale sign of an addiction is when someone continues to drink or use drugs despite experiencing negative consequences in their life from drugs or alcohol. Most people who do not have an addiction would be able to step back and logically realize they need to stop drinking or using drugs and then do so. Often a person that is addicted to drugs is unable to discontinue their drug use on their own. Sometimes a person is so hooked that the thought of not using is scarier than the possibility of negative consequences. Either way, if this is the case, it is a sign that there is a severe addiction problem that needs attention.

7. Hiding the amount of drinking or using.

When someone is hiding their drinking or drug use, it is because deep down, on some level, they know it is a problem and don’t want to talk about it. Someone who does not have a problem with alcohol will not feel the need to lie about drinking. It is also important to note that someone dealing with an addiction will often be in denial about having a problem, or not think it is an issue, and therefore will be less receptive to feedback.

8. Uncontrollable emotional outbursts.

Drugs and alcohol cause people to become emotionally unstable. If someone is having bouts of anger while under the influence, this can quickly turn into a dangerous situation. Know that if you or someone you love is having uncontrollable outbursts of rage while under the influence, it is a definite sign that there is a substance abuse problem at hand.

Sad teen rejecting help from her sister at home

9. Increased feelings of depression, anxiety, and hopelessness.

Let’s face it, living a life of addiction is depressing. Drug use, withdrawal symptoms, and hangovers cause a person to feel unwell mentally, emotionally and physically. The longer this continues, the more hopeless a person begins to feel. Constantly feeling depressed, anxious, or desperate is a sign that something needs to change.

10. They are ready, or you feel it is time.

Sometimes a person will know that he or she needs help and will be willing to get treatment. If this happens, it is best to get the person into a program right away before they change their mind. Most addicts don’t want to continue living a life of addiction, but they often don’t know how to get better without help. If someone has reached the point they are willing and ready to get help, this is the best time to get them into a quality addiction rehabilitation program as soon as possible.

It is important to remember that a person does not necessarily need to exhibit all or even any of these signs for treatment to be beneficial. The sooner that a person can get help for their addiction, the better off they will be. Someone doesn’t need to hit “rock bottom” to get better. Rock bottom can be different for everyone, and one person’s low may seem not so bad to someone else. What’s most important is how addiction impacts a person and the people they love and what they can do to get better. In my opinion, addiction rehab is always a beneficial option, and addiction is always a serious issue regardless of how long it has been occurring.

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.