The Consequences of Keeping Your Addiction a Secret

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The Devastating Consequences of Keeping Your Addiction a Secret

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Content Overview

Keeping Your Addiction a Secret That Can Become Deadly

A secret isn’t always bad, but sometimes a secret can become deadly. Keeping addiction a secret can have fatal consequences. Remember, there’s a big difference between a bad habit and a deadly one. No question abusing drugs or alcohol can be deadly.

When keeping your addiction a secret, you face many dangers that could ultimately make things much worse for you.

In this guide, we’ll look at the reasons why breaking the secret (at least in some way) is vital for you to begin the process of recovery.

Call now to ask questions about treatment for yourself or a loved one. Our helpline is free and confidential. Call (888) 906-0952

Content

Addiction Will Continue to Add More Problems

If you are abusing drugs or alcohol, then drugs and alcohol probably aren’t your only problem. Other factors involved with addiction can create greater urgency to get help.

When rehabilitation (rehab) facilities develop treatment plans for patients with addictions, they don’t just look at the addictions. They look at other problems that the person may be facing. Health issues, family problems, mental issues, and others can make a recovery more difficult. Those issues have to be dealt with as well as the addiction itself.

The drugabuse.gov website pointed out many health issues that can occur along with addiction. “It is now well-known that tobacco smoke can cause many cancers, methamphetamine can cause severe dental problems, known as meth mouth, and that opioids can lead to overdose and death.

In addition, some drugs, such as inhalants, may damage or destroy nerve cells, either in the brain or the peripheral nervous system (the nervous system outside the brain and spinal cord).

Drug use can also increase the risk of contracting infections. HIV and hepatitis C (a serious liver disease) can occur from sharing injection equipment or unsafe practices such as condom-less sex.

Infection of the heart and its valves (endocarditis) and skin infection (cellulitis) can occur after exposure to bacteria by injection drug use.”

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Keeping Addiction a Secret Prevents You From Seeking Healing for Other Issues

It’s very common for people to abuse drugs to ease their depression. In some cases, mental diseases like schizophrenia, depression, or anxiety begin before the drug abuse begins. If that’s you, it means that you have more than one problem to face.

You can face and heal from these issues, but addiction makes the issues worse. It continues to create its own challenges.

You are also not treating the mental disorder by not treating the drug abuse. The good news is that drug rehab centers can effectively treat both addiction and mental disorders, but only if the addict is willing to reach out for help.

The nature of addiction makes it nearly impossible to recover your power. Keeping a disease a secret means that you won’t be able to get the help you need.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol abuse is the number one preventable cause of death in the United States. More than 22,000 people died from alcohol-related liver disease in the past year.

The number of alcohol-induced deaths (not counting accidents and murders) tops 35,000. In 2018, more than 67,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States.

Opioids were involved in more than 46,000 overdose deaths in 2018. How many fewer deaths would we see if those who knew they had a problem were to reach out for help?

Getting Honest Means Overcoming the Stigma and Shame

A stigma associated with addiction prevents many people from talking about the problem.

Drug addiction is usually portrayed as an urban problem involving criminal activity and violent behavior on television and in movies. That’s not always the case at all.

Drug addiction can take place in a quiet neighborhood without any illegal substances involved. That’s how it works when someone gets addicted to painkillers or secretly begins drinking alcohol.

True addiction is a disease, not a bad choice or a character flaw. It once would have been taboo to talk about taking antidepressants, but as more people began to take them, it has become more acceptable to discuss.

We need to get to the same point when talking about addiction. We need to understand that an addict and a criminal are not necessarily the same thing. And even if addiction involves criminal behavior, it doesn’t have to continue.

Victory over addiction is possible with the right help. Beth McGinty from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health spoke about the importance of changing society’s attitude toward addiction. “The more shame associated with drug addiction, the less likely we as a community will be in a position to change attitudes and get people the help they need. If you can educate the public that these are treatable conditions, we will see higher levels of support for policy changes that benefit people with mental illness and drug addiction.”

Are you worried about how your family and friends will react to the news that you are addicted?

It’s important to understand that your loved ones want you to be healthy. In some cases, family members will stage an intervention. That’s a well-planned meeting where a person with an addiction is urged by their loved ones to get rehab help immediately.

Interventions try to show the addicted person that they need help and their loved ones want them to get help. In some cases, friends from social networks can even help when it comes to holding an intervention.

This help from loved ones can be vital. According to the National Library of Medicine, “An increasingly robust evidence base supports family-focused and social network-focused interventions in substance misuse treatment. Recent studies have continued to show that family and network approaches either match or improve outcomes when compared with individual interventions.”

Understanding there is Strength in Numbers

Almost everything is easier when you have people helping you.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “the natural propensity of human beings to congregate makes group therapy a powerful therapeutic tool for treating substance abuse, one that is as helpful as individual therapy, and sometimes more successful.

One reason for this efficacy is that groups intrinsically have many rewarding benefits—such as reducing isolation and enabling members to witness the recovery of others—and these qualities draw clients into a culture of recovery.”

The center points out that group therapy can help cure other ailments as well, including depression, isolation, and shame.

As social creatures, humans are born into groups, and their lives are shaped by their experiences in these groups. Family, religious, social, and cultural groups will affect a person’s health and self-image.

Of course, we know that groups can also support deviant behavior. But as the NCBI states, “Groups organized around therapeutic goals can enrich members with insight and guidance; and during times of crisis, groups can comfort and guide people who otherwise might be unhappy or lost. In the hands of a skilled, well‐trained group leader, the potential curative forces inherent in a group can be harnessed and directed to foster healthy attachments, provide positive peer reinforcement, act as a forum for self‐expression, and teach new social skills.”

Group therapy isn’t the only kind of therapy that works, but it demonstrates how important others can shape our lives.

Are You Lying to Yourself?

We noted that some secrets aren’t always bad at the very beginning. But there’s a difference between keeping a secret and lying to yourself. If you know that you need help, you are ignoring the truth if you don’t try to get that help.

An addiction will not “go away” if you don’t think about it. And lying to loved ones about addiction only delays any healing. One of the reasons that interventions are so powerful is that they force an addicted person to face the truth.

When all your loved ones confront you about a problem, you must honestly face that problem. To ignore it would be ignoring the concerns of your loved ones.

If you can see that your addiction is causing harm to yourself or others, then you know that you must do something about it. To ignore the problem is to lie to yourself. You are pretending that there is no problem when there clearly is one.

You are, in a sense, trying to keep a secret from yourself.

Stop Denying Yourself a Way Out

If you knew that you had heart disease, you would want to go to the doctor for the best treatment possible.

You would not want to forget about it or hope that it will go away on its own. So why refuse to go to the doctor because your addiction gives you heart disease?

Keeping an addiction secret means being forced to keep other secrets that can harm you. You don’t want to keep a secret if you know that it harms yourself or others. It’s true that many families are hurt by addiction.

But keeping your addiction a secret isn’t the best way to prevent that hurt. Getting help to cure the addiction will be the first step toward recovery both for yourself and your family and friends.

The challenge of reaching out for help is not as great as living with an addiction that you know is causing harm.

Consult With Us Before Consulting With Family

We have seen how important it is for people afflicted by addiction to get the help they need. We have also seen how keeping addiction a secret can’t solve the problem.

Addiction can be controlled, but only with help from professionals who show you what needs to be done. Rehab facilities are dedicated to helping people overcome addictions and get their lives back into their own power.

By revealing the secret and asking for help, you are taking the first important steps that will lead you to a better life. Your loved ones will be thankful to know that you are doing what it takes to get your life back.

Most of all, you yourself will be back in control of your life and able to make good choices again.
If you are ready to reveal the secret and change your life, please contact us. We can direct you to rehab facilities near you to help you overcome any addiction.

Sources

[1] Drugabuse.org: Addiction and Health
[2] CDC.org: Alcohol Abuse and Deaths
[3] NCBI: Groups and Substance Abuse Treatment

Now that you understand the importance of asking for help, are you ready to take the next step? We can help you with a plan to begin your recovery today. Give us a call at (888) 906-0952

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Medically Reviewed By:

Dr. Patricia Sullivan MD MPH on 1/21/2022

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