Do I need rehab?
Signs you need to go to rehab

If you are wondering whether you may need rehab, you have come to the right place. You might feel as though your drug or alcohol use has started to become a problem but find yourself confused when you ask the question: do I need rehab? And understandably so.
After all, rehab is a commitment. But it is one that can change your life for the better and get you on the path towards sobriety so you can live the life you deserve. So whether you use alcohol, prescription drugs or street drugs such as amphetamines, cocaine and heroin, this article will help you decide whether rehab should be your next step.

How do you know if you need rehab?

Whether you need rehab depends on the number of symptoms you have as well as the severity of the addiction. One indicator that you may have an addiction is that your uncontrollable cravings have led to destructive behaviours. These cravings are a result of brain changes, which can only be corrected through continued treatment. That is why addiction is labelled as a chronic disease.
There are some signs that you may be suffering from a substance use problem and need rehab sooner than you think. Note that symptoms of addiction depend on the substance of choice and can vary from person to person.

Physical signs of addiction

Since addiction usually starts as dependence, physical signs are often the first ones to be noticeable. Some signs that you may need rehab include:
  • Increased tolerance
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Changes to your appetite
  • Substance-related injury
  • Insomnia
  • Changes to your appearance

Psychological signs of addiction

Psychological or mental signs of addiction that could indicate you need rehab include:
  • Inability to stop substance use
  • Continued use regardless of health consequences
  • Obsessing about your next dose
  • Using substances to deal with emotions or problems 
  • Increasing quantity to overcome tolerance 
  • Engaging in risky behaviour

Social signs of addiction

Your personal and professional life could be affected by social signs of addiction, such as:
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Relationship problems
  • Giving up on hobbies
  • Lying about or hiding substance use
  • Legal consequences
  • Denying you have a problem
  • Avoiding friends who could disapprove 
  • Keeping a secret stash

Do you need inpatient or outpatient rehab?

Alcohol and drug addiction treatment programmes tend to fall under two categories: inpatient or outpatient rehab. What is the difference between these treatment programmes?
Even though there are benefits to both types of programmes, the type of treatment you will need depends on your unique requirements at the time. In some cases, a combination of the two can be used for successful recovery. However, inpatient rehab is usually recommended for anyone who is battling moderate to severe addiction.
For most people dealing with addiction, detox at inpatient rehab starts sobriety off on the right foot. This type of rehab is a crucial step in treatment that makes it possible for you to focus completely on your recovery. During an inpatient rehab programme, you will stay at the facility for the entire duration (which is typically a minimum of 30 days).
While some people like the fact that outpatient rehab allows you to stay home during treatment, the reality is that immersing yourself in the experience, and removing yourself from your daily environment and triggers, leads to higher success rates.

How does rehab work?

Unhappy young man sitting with other people during addiction therapy
Knowing what you can expect before going to rehab can help ease some of your fears or concerns about the rehab process. Inpatient rehab programmes generally include the following features:


Intake usually starts with a quick phone consultation with a counsellor who will assess your suitability to the treatment programme. This is a good time for you to ask any questions you may have and find out more about the programme. If you and the programme are a good match, then the next step is an in-person intake, which involves a detailed assessment of your:
  • Past alcohol and drug use
  • Past treatments
  • Mental and medical health history
  • Social and family life
You will also receive information on the treatment programme and fill out any legal forms and documents. The counsellor will also come up with a treatment plan and goals during this stage.


Detox is typically the first stage in the rehab process. Supervised medical detox is available in most rehab programmes for safe withdrawal from substances such as alcohol, opioids and stimulants. Detox is designed to minimise discomfort throughout withdrawal and prevent serious, and potentially lethal, side effects. Once detox is complete, you will progress to the daily treatment programme.

A typical day at rehab

A standard rehab day includes therapy sessions (both individual and group) and recovery meetings (e.g. 12 Step). Doctors appointments also take place periodically throughout your stay. Meals are provided and short breaks give you time to unwind between sessions. There will also be time allocated to completing assignments, journaling, reflecting on your journey, exercising and other programme activities.

When and why you need rehab

You do not just wake up one morning with an addiction. While substance abuse problems can appear to develop rather quickly, that is often not the case. There are usually stages that you go through as your substance dependency increases.

Stage 1: Experimentation

Some people can experiment with alcohol and drugs and leave it at that. For others, this phase marks the beginning of substance dependency. You may have needed to take drugs to alleviate pain or turned to drugs and alcohol because you were curious. Whatever the reason for starting, the experimentation stage is unique from the following stages because this is where you still have control and can stop drinking or using without obsessive thoughts or withdrawals.

Stage 2: Regular or social use

Drugs and alcohol become a normal part of your life in this stage. That means you may seek substances when you are in pain or not feeling well. Whatever the reason, you have developed a pattern of regular use and the mind is becoming familiar with the rewards that come with it. You still have control over your use in this stage and could likely stop if you wanted to.

Stage 3: Risky use and abuse

In this stage, drug and alcohol use becomes a problem that is getting out of your control. Life as you know it has become affected by your use, which could be reflected in relationship struggles, problems at work, financial issues and so on. Risk-taking also becomes a cause for concern at this stage, such as if you drive under the influence or make reckless decisions. As cravings come when substances are not in your system, it becomes increasingly difficult to stop using.
Most people who reach this stage will likely continue to the next stage if they do not seek treatment. If you are in this stage, rehab can help you uncover what drives you to use in the first place. Remember that you do not need to wait until you hit rock bottom to get help.

Stage 4: Addiction and dependency

In the most advanced stage, drug and alcohol use has turned into a dependency and an addiction. It is almost impossible to stop using substances on your own at this point. In fact, stopping use or quitting cold turkey can even be dangerous and cause hallucinations, heart failure and seizures. Medical detoxification, which typically takes place at a rehab centre, is designed to help manage withdrawal symptoms and ease the detox process.
If you have reached stage four of addiction, you will likely need help with detoxification and recovery. The good news is that these steps can get you on the path to sobriety.

Do you need rehab: Quiz

Maybe you are still wondering: Do I need rehab?
Although a medical professional is the best person to answer that for you, there are some red flags you need to look out for. Whether alcohol or drugs are your substance of choice, the following questions could indicate the need for rehab.
  • Have you tried to stop drinking or using drugs, but found that you cannot do it?
  • Have you experienced anxiety, depression, sweating, shaking, sleeplessness, nausea or other withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to stop using?
  • Do you continue to drink or use drugs even though there are negative consequences?
  • Do you use drugs or drink to avoid withdrawal?
  • Have drug or alcohol-related incidents led to losing things or people you love?
  • Have you tried to limit the quantity of drugs/drinks or only use/drink at specific times?
If you answered yes to one or all of these questions, then addiction treatment may be the right next move for you and your health. There is help available, all you have to do is take the first step.

Looking for the right rehab centre for your needs? With affordable treatments, luxury accommodations, comprehensive treatment programmes and more, Thailand is a leading destination for rehab. Thailand Rehab Guide covers everything you need to know about your rehab options in Thailand. Contact us for advice and start your journey towards recovery now!

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  2. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Substance Abuse: Clinical Issues in Intensive Outpatient Treatment. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2006. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 47.) Chapter 4. Services in Intensive Outpatient Treatment Programs.  
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  4. Dye, M. H., Ducharme, L. J., Johnson, J. A., Knudsen, H. K., & Roman, P. M. (2009). Modified therapeutic communities and adherence to traditional elements. Journal of psychoactive drugs, 41(3), 275–283. 
  5. Australasian Therapeutic Communities Association. ABOUT ATCA. ATCA. 
  6. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2020). Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia: 2018–19. Drug treatment series no. 34. Cat. no. HSE 243. Canberra: AIHW.  
  7. Ritter, A., Berends, L., Chalmers, J., Hull, P., Lancaster, K., & Gomez, M. (2014, July). New Horizons: review of alcohol and other drug treatment services. Australian Government Department of Health.  
  8. Shipway, Chris, et al. “The NSW Alcohol and Drug Residential Rehabilitation Costing Study.” The Centre for Drug and Alcohol, NSW Department of Health,
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