Signs You’ve Hit Rock Bottom in Your Addiction & What To Do
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What is Rock Bottom?
Early addiction research suggested that for someone to change their behavior and seek help for their addiction, they would need to hit rock bottom, or experience consequences that were oftentimes terrible and beyond repair.1 However, as understanding of sobriety, addiction, and the world of mental health has evolved, the concept of “rock bottom” has shifted to describe the turning point in a person’s life that inspires them to want to change their unhealthy behavior. For instance, for someone with a substance use disorder (SUD) or other mental health condition, rock bottom might involve an eye-opening or startling event that may motivate them to seek professional treatment at a facility.
It is important to note that the concept of rock bottom is subjective. In other words, a person’s circumstances and experiences (such as whether they have a co-occurring health issue or mental condition like depression) may vary, and their rock bottom may vary as well. With this being said, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) suggests that a person’s rock bottom, which often represents their motivation, desire, and need to change problem behavior and substance use, is what facilitates movement toward change.1
Signs You’ve Hit Rock Bottom
Although rock bottom is different for everyone, certain situations may shed light upon your addiction and help you to recognize it as a serious problem. Some of the signs that you have hit rock bottom include, but are not limited to:
- Experiencing a serious health crisis, such as hospitalization, injury, or overdose.
- Trouble with the law.
- Being fired because of substance abuse.
- Losing custody of your child/children.
- Divorce or break-up due to substance abuse.
- Utter lack of control over everything, including substance abuse.
- Feeling hopeless and that nothing “works” to feel even partially okay anymore (including your drug of choice).
- Feeling that there is no escape anymore.
- Feeling discouraged and demoralized.
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Why Do People Reach Rock Bottom Before Getting Help?
Many people reach rock bottom before getting help due to a lack of access to treatment, denial, and a variety of other reasons. Laws such as the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) of 2008 require insurance providers to provide quality coverage for SUD treatment;2 however, many people are not aware of this and prematurely assume that they are unable to afford certain treatment programs due to financial issues or lack of private insurance benefits.
If you are interested in checking your health insurance coverage to determine whether you may have addiction treatment coverage through your benefits, fill out the quick and easy form below.
Other people may hit rock bottom before getting help due to denial, which can manifest in many different ways.3 For example, a person may refuse to believe or could be unable to recognize that they have a substance use problem or SUD. Alternatively, a person’s denial may stem from a lack of desire to stop abusing substances, or they may not feel as though they can stop.
What to Do When You’ve Hit Rock Bottom
Regardless of what circumstances or life events have caused you to hit rock bottom, seeking professional help from a physician or rehab center like American Addiction Centers (AAC) can ensure that you have the support you need as you begin your life-changing journey. Not only does AAC offer medically supervised detox in a safe and comfortable environment so that patients can safely endure and overcome their withdrawal symptoms, but we also provide an array of quality treatment and therapy options such as co-occurring disorder treatment, behavioral therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and more.
How to Help Someone Who Has Hit Rock Bottom
Though it can be very difficult to experience rock bottom as a person with a SUD, it can also be overwhelming and frightening to realize that your family member or loved one has hit rock bottom. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you navigate this challenging process and provide you with insight on substance use, treatment options, and more. A few of these include:
- American Addiction Centers (AAC), 866-868-3449.
- SAMHSA, 800-662-4357.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
- Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), 800-698-2411.
Find Drug and Alcohol Detox Treatment Centers Near You
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019). Enhancing Motivation for Change in Substance Use Disorder Treatment. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series No. 35. SAMHSA Publication No. PEP19-02-01-003. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
- S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2020, September 1). Does insurance cover treatment for opioid addiction?
- Verdejo-Garcia, A., Fernandez-Serrano, M.J., & Tirapu-Ustarroz, J. (2013). Denial and lack of awareness in substance dependence: Insights from the neuropsychology of addiction. Principles of addiction, 1, 77–86.