By LYLE R. FRIED, CAP, ICADC, CHC In Addiction Recovery, Tools for Recovery
Posted June 10, 2018
In 2016, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 19 million adults aged 18 or older met the criteria for a substance use disorder, representing 7.8 percent of the adult population of the United States.
Of these 19 million individuals, only 2 million received treatment. This suggests an alarming statistic: Only 1 in 9 adults with a substance abuse disorder actually gets the help they need. With fatal overdoses rising to record numbers, this must change.
There are several reasons addicts don’t get help. Many don’t believe rehab is needed, some are concerned about cost, and others are afraid of addiction stigma or missing work/school.
Fortunately, entering rehab over the summer can solve some of these potential problems, and it offers additional benefits as well.
Before we get into the benefits of entering rehab over the summer, we’ll address one of the main factors keeping addicts out of treatment: They don’t believe they need it.
When Is Rehab Necessary?
Often, people with substance abuse disorder feel that they can still control their addiction, or that they could stop on their own if they really wanted.
But the longer you wait to seek help, the more your addiction may spiral out of control. It can negatively impact your health, relationships, family, finances, and career. In severe cases, it can cost you your life.
The following signs of addiction can indicate that rehab is needed for you or a loved one:
- Developing a dependence or tolerance to a substance
- Experiencing difficulties at work or school
- Engaging in risky behavior
- Struggling financially as a result of addiction
- Experiencing health problems or legal issues
- Finding less time for family and other responsibilities
- Abandoning previously enjoyed hobbies, interests, or friendships
- Feeling the need for secrecy
If other areas of your life are suffering because of your addiction, you’re acting uncharacteristically, and you’re feeling anxious, depressed, or out of control, you should seek treatment. A stay in rehab can give you the tools you need to gain and maintain your sobriety.
In the end, you’ll feel better physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You’ll be able to lead a happy, fulfilling, and positive life once more.
Now that you understand when it’s time to seek treatment, we’ll examine the benefits of entering rehab over the summer in particular.
Time Off From Work or School
A common concern is that checking into rehab means taking time off from school or work. During the summer months, however, this is more practical.
If you’re a student, summer is the perfect time to enter rehab between semesters. This allows you to return for the following school year with your sobriety, renewed energy, and the ability to truly focus on your studies.
If you have kids who are in school, it can be easier to take a break from your parenting duties during the summer. Your kids won’t need rides to school, homework help, or field trip chaperones. And if you go to rehab during the summer, you’ll be ready to step up and assist with all of these responsibilities when the next school year rolls around.
And if you’re employed, cashing in vacation time during the summer is common. Of course, you’ll need more than a week or two away from work to complete a treatment program. The National Institute on Drug Abuse(NIDA) recommends at least 90 days in treatment. But depending on your job, the workload often lightens substantially during the summer months, which could make it easier for you to take some time off.
It may also comfort you to know that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, substance addiction is considered a valid disability. You can’t be fired for entering rehab, and your employer must make accommodations for you and hold your position. (If you don’t seek treatment and it affects your performance, however, you can be fired.)
So your job is protected at any time under the ADA, but it often makes the most sense to take time off during the summer, when people are on vacation and the workload is typically lighter.
Additionally, you might be worried about the stigma associated with addiction. You might feel anxious about what your boss, coworkers, or other acquaintances will think or say about you entering rehab.
This stigma is unfair and unfounded, and it certainly shouldn’t stop you from getting help, but it’s a legitimate fear for many addicts. Addiction is commonly associated with feelings of guilt, shame, and fear of discovery. It’s also deeply misunderstood by many people.
If this is a concern for you, you may feel more comfortable checking into rehab during the summer. Summer is a time when many people travel, visit relatives, and go on family vacations. Your absence at this time of year may be much less noticeable, and your coworkers will likely be in and out of the office as well.
It’s also important to note that your employer is legally required to maintain confidentiality regarding any information you share about addiction or substance abuse treatment. Your privacy is protected by the law, but if you’re still concerned about how others will react, going to rehab during the summer can help.
Avoid Summer Partying
Summer is typically a time of parties, barbecues, and copious consumption of alcohol or other substances. Naturally, this is a dangerous season for people who struggle with substance use disorder. Factor in the heat and time spent around water, and it becomes clear that substance abuse and summer don’t mix well.
You can avoid this time of increased temptation and increased risk by entering rehab over the summer. Rehab provides you with a safe, structured, and supportive environment that is free of drugs and alcohol. It also equips you with the tools you need to avoid triggers and find healthier means of coping with your emotions. You’ll leave rehab with a plan to help you maintain sobriety in the real world.
Prepare for Holiday Temptation
This can be especially helpful as you approach the holiday season. November through January is another dangerous time for people struggling with addiction for several reasons. Most obviously, the holidays are another time of celebration and consuming alcohol or substances to excess.
Additionally, the “holiday blues” sometimes cause feelings of depression, anxiety, and loneliness, especially for addicts who may have strained relationships with loved ones. The pressure to purchase gifts, attend gatherings, and organize events with family and friends can also be stressful. These uncomfortable emotions only intensify the urge to use drugs or alcohol, and frequent holiday parties present the opportunity to do so.
For these reasons, it’s a great idea to spend the summer away from temptation, then return ready to build a positive new lifestyle and make healthy choices (even as the holiday season approaches).
Skip the Wait List
For some addicts seeking treatment, long waiting lists can be a major obstacle. Generally, the longer a substance user must wait to be admitted to treatment, the more likely they are not to follow through.
Depending on the state and facility, waiting lists are possible at any time. However, these lists fill up most quickly just after the holidays, when people are looking to make positive changes for the new year.
Entering rehab over the summer can help you avoid long wait times and get treatment as soon as possible.
If you’ve decided that help is needed, entering rehab over the summer is a good choice. It’s a practical season to take time off from work, and you’ll avoid summer partying while preparing to navigate holiday temptation. You may also be able to reduce or eliminate your waiting time during the summer months.
Remember that if your addiction is negatively impacting your life, if you’re feeling depressed or anxious, and/or if you’re not acting like yourself, you should reach out for help. And if you feel treatment is needed, the best time to enter rehab is always now.
For more information about our treatment programs contact one of our addiction specialists at 1-888-249-2590 or click here.