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Addiction Treatment 101: If You're Struggling, Here are 3 Good Reasons to Seek Professional Help

Debbie Pantin
A small potted plant sitting on a windowsill, with cream-colored curtains mostly drawn

This monthly series focuses on addiction treatment: making the choice to begin, finding a facility that meets your needs, and more.

Seeking treatment for addiction, whether it’s for yourself or a loved one, can be an overwhelming process. Contrary to what you may have seen in movies or on television, effective treatment is not just for the rich and famous, nor should it apply “scared straight” tactics to coerce people into “getting clean.” Treatment can offer you a level of structured support to help you achieve your path towards recovery, and get your life back on track. And there are so many treatment options out there—from in-patient to out-patient, medications to support meetings.

Here are three good reasons why you may want to consider treatment.

1. Treatment can be on your own terms.

When you come into a program for treatment, the first step is assessment evaluation, and then you and the counseling team work together on developing a treatment and recovery plan that includes your goals and a schedule of sessions that work for you. Your participation is self-driven, and a trained team of caring professionals is there to help you achieve your treatment goals, manage any complex decisions that you may face, and connect you to other services that may help you. You don’t have to work on your recovery alone.

2. You can also get help for your family and loved ones.

Drug and alcohol misuse almost never affects just one person: your family and loved ones are impacted as well. An effective treatment practice involves the participation of loved ones. Family sessions help establish healthy boundaries and productive communication, especially in stressful moments that can provoke a slip or relapse. Having your loved ones participate in treatment also equips them to be champions, on your team, to support your long term recovery.

3. Additional social support services are available to help you achieve healthier living. 

Treatment programs understand that clients are so much more than their struggles with addiction. Also available are vocational supports to help you with your career, nursing and medical services to offer guidance on healthy living, and more. Treatment can ultimately help to advance your overall life goals, and get you back on track if you veered off course.

These are just a few pieces of information to help you feel more at ease about treatment, and help you find a program that works for you or your loved one. When you decide to start the process of seeking treatment, be sure to educate yourself first. Here are the core principles of evidence-based addiction treatment, and here is more information on what to expect from high-quality treatment programs.

Seeking help towards recovery isn’t easy, but you don’t have to be alone.

Debbie Pantin is President/CEO of Outreach, a behavioral health treatment provider in New York. She is also the President of the Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers of New York State (ASAP) and President of the Therapeutic Communities Association of New York. To learn more about Outreach, visit