Don’t Let Years Pass Before You Finally Get Sober

A recent study found that it takes men much longer than women to finally get the sober help they need. However, statistics show that for both genders, the time is takes to finally get sober is not months – but years!

A recent article in HealthDay news reviewed the results of a study on addiction treatment. Apparently, researchers surveyed 669,000 adults who were admitted to addiction treatment for the first time. The results revealed that the average length of time that passed since participants of their study started using substances before treatment was 15.6 years.  Furthermore, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the average length for men to get treatment is 16.5 years and for women it’s 13.8 years.

Looking at certain drugs and the length of time to get treatment also revealed interesting information. For instance, the average length of time between using alcohol for the first time and getting treatment for alcohol addiction was 20.2 years. And the average length of time between using prescription painkillers for the first time and then entering addiction treatment was 7.8 years.

Certainly, there is a long journey between trying a drug for the first time and then realizing that you need treatment for addiction. The first time you use a drug you might not even like it. However, pressure from peers, discovering a means for escape, finding that it lifts your mood, or any other benefit can keep you returning to drugs or alcohol again and again. It’s the habit of using substances time and again that can eventually lead to addiction.

However, a habit alone does not mean addiction. If a person continues to use a drug and develops a strong psychological and/or physical addiction, then it’s quite possible that an addiction can develop. When a person cannot stop using a particular substance even if he or she wanted to – this indicates an addiction might be present.

Yet, a person still might not get treatment. Even if he or she realizes that there is a problem, there are often many obstacles that can get in the way of getting sober. For instance, a lack of money, time, energy, or willingness can prevent someone from getting sober. They might continue to use drugs for years – as the research suggests – before they finally get the help they need. It might take hitting rock bottom. It might take a requirement from the courts. It might take losing a marriage before one realizes that it’s time.

Getting sober is a hard decision to make. And following through on getting sober is even harder. No wonder it can take years before someone finally gets help. However, if you already know that substance use is a problem in your life, why wait?

Why not get the help you need now? No matter the obstacles that are preventing you from getting treatment, find a way. Getting sober and participating in treatment can indeed save your life!

 

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