Over 23 million Americans are currently struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol – but according to data collected from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), only one in 10 are receiving the treatment they need to overcome their addictions and lead healthy, sober lives.

The consequences of forgoing addiction treatment are dire. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over 70,000 Americans died last year from a drug overdose, while the number of alcohol-induced deaths, including those from alcoholic liver disease, exceeded 56,000. So while there may be many obstacles to finding the help you need, getting proper treatment for your addiction is a matter of life and death.

Dealing with the stigma of addiction

The stigma surrounding addiction causes many people to struggle in secrecy. Worried about losing their jobs or being judged by their family and friends, they may try to hide their problems and keep their issues with substance abuse to themselves. Unfortunately, isolation can often deepen addiction; the less connected you feel to the people around you, the more likely you are to descend into shame and self-loathing – and the more likely you are to use drugs or alcohol to cope with those feelings.

Stigma exists because historically addiction was seen as either a moral failing or an active choice. The truth is, it’s a chronic, pervasive disease, one that impacts a person’s physical and mental health. And like any other health condition, it requires professional medical treatment. You need help to overcome your addiction, and there’s no shame in that.

Conquering the fear of living without drugs or alcohol

Another common reason people fail to seek addiction treatment is that they feel they aren’t “ready” to stop using drugs or alcohol – but this is really just another way of saying they’re afraid. For those struggling with addiction, drugs and alcohol have become such a cornerstone of their lives, they don’t know how they could possibly live without it.

Substance abuse covers up pain and suffering, and is often used as a way to self-medicate underlying mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression. While it’s logical to be afraid of facing those feelings without the drugs or alcohol to mute them, addiction treatment (and dual diagnosis treatment, if necessary) provides support and teaches healthy coping skills that can help you face them and live a fulfilling sober life.

Accepting that you have a problem with addiction

One of the biggest barriers to receiving proper addiction treatment is denial. Rather than confronting the problem, people in denial will minimize their actions, blame others for bad things that happen, or ignore the advice of friends and loved ones. They may also accuse those who express concern of overreacting or being too judgmental, and claim they are in complete control of their actions, even when all evidence points to the contrary.

People in denial often can’t see themselves or their behaviors clearly. Sometimes, loved ones can help them to see the consequences of their drug or alcohol abuse through organized interventions held by professional therapists. But treatment is only effective when people acknowledge their addictions. Overcoming denial can be challenging, but once that acceptance happens, true and lasting healing can begin.

Get the addiction treatment you need at Alvarado Parkway Institute

If you’ve decided it’s time to get the help you need to overcome your struggle with addiction, Alvarado Parkway Institute is here. Our addiction treatment center in San Diego offers detox, therapy, and continuous support to help you get clean and stay sober. For those who are suffering from an underlying mental illness, we specialize in dual diagnosis treatment as well, and our aftercare team will work with you to design a plan to help you manage your symptoms and live a healthy life.

Call our 24-hour crisis line at (619) 667-6125 and start your journey to a sober life today.