In the USA, most people will have access to drug treatment centers in their local community. These centers have been established to provide professional counseling and therapy to people who have problems with alcohol or drug addiction. Most will provide programs and facilities to help addicts and alcoholics through withdrawal.
Many people with drug or alcohol addictions want to quit taking the substance. They realize just how damaging their addiction is to their health and well-being, and they want to get their normal lives back. However, it is not a matter of simply not taking any more of the problem substance.
The physical and chemical properties of an addict's body will have been altered by the continual exposure to the addictive drug or to alcohol. An addict's body has to have a regular supply of the addictive substance to function normally. The addict experiences this physical need as a powerful urge to take regular doses of drugs or alcohol.
It can be virtually impossible for an addict to resist those urges, especially in the early stages of quitting, when the body will display the traumatic symptoms of withdrawal. Unassisted withdrawal is often an excruciatingly painful process for addicts or alcoholics, and most will be unable to see it through without relapsing.
Apart from the chances of relapse during withdrawal, there is a very real medical risk for addicts and alcoholics. The physical chaos brought about by cutting off the supply of the addictive substance is sometimes enough to bring on serious medical problems, some of which may be life threatening. Drug treatment centers provide safe and secure environments to bring addicts and alcoholics safely through withdrawal.
Addicts and alcoholics who want to quit can find that drug treatment centers provide them with the best chances of success. These centers can also cater for people who realize their drug taking or alcohol intake has reached problem levels, even though they are not yet addicted.
Addiction is rarely something that happens suddenly, although some drugs like heroin can be addictive almost immediately. In most cases, it takes months or years of persistent drug taking or drinking before a person becomes addicted. During the buildup to addiction, the person will begin to place more and more importance on getting the addictive substance.
Usually, a person's addiction is well established before other people become aware of it. People build up tolerances to addictive drugs or alcohol. As a result, they need to keep increasing the dosage or intake to get to a level of intoxication that satisfies their urges to partake of the substance.
There comes a point when the amount of time an addict needs to dedicate to satisfying his or her cravings interferes with work or social relationships. Addicts and alcoholics become withdrawn. There may be other behavioral changes. People with addictions often neglect their personal hygiene, grooming, and the way they dress. They become unkempt and disheveled. They also neglect their health, and may become ill because of poor dietary management.
Any of these signs could be due to other issues. However, if somebody you care about displays any of these symptoms, you should try to broach the possibility of addiction with the person.
If a person seeks treatment before a fully-fledged addiction has developed, the chances of a successful outcome are considerably improved. Even addicts who have spent years abusing drugs or alcohol can successfully complete treatment and go on to live sober lives. The important thing is seeking help as soon as possible.