Many of us have learned in school that answering the who, what, where, when, and why of a topic can help us understand it better. This is true for treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) as well.

There is a lot to think about when trying to find treatment, and it can often feel overwhelming. Something that can be helpful is to break down the process of finding treatment into segments. Once you answer each “W,” you may find yourself with all the information you need to find a treatment center that will work for you.

#1. Who

If you or a loved one is struggling with SUD, you may be unsure whether the person using substances truly needs treatment yet. The first step in the Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Steps can be a great start toward answering this question. Have you or a loved one become powerless over alcohol or drug use?

Understanding addiction can provide further clarity. For example, has the person in question developed a dependence on the substance? Are they experiencing the common psychological changes caused by addiction? Do any of the SUD diagnostic criteria apply to their lives? If the answer to these questions is “yes,” the person is an excellent candidate for addiction treatment.

#2. What

There are different kinds of treatment programs that can help different people. It is important to figure out the type of treatment that will work best for you or your loved one.

The main factor considered when determining which type of treatment should be used is the severity of the addiction and the stage of the recovery process. For example, someone with severe addiction may need residential treatment, followed by a partial hospitalization program (PHP), while someone else may begin with an intensive outpatient program (IOP).

The same type of program can be different at different treatment centers, and it is important to find treatment that aligns with the philosophy and needs of the person in recovery. What works for one person may not work for someone else.

When you understand yourself, and what you need, you can better advocate for yourself or your loved one and ensure more effective treatment is received. Researching the mission statements and philosophies of the treatment centers you are considering is a good start to choosing one that is right for you or your loved one.

#3. Where

Understanding whether you need to search for inpatient or outpatient care can help you determine where to seek treatment. Will the person benefit from staying at a facility to complete treatment, or would it be better for them to recover from home and seek support in weekly meetings with groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous?

It is also important to consider how far the person can travel to receive treatment. If the person is not able to travel, it may be important to find somewhere local. People who are able to travel can consider how their surroundings can impact their mental health and their recovery. 449 Recovery’s treatment center in Orange County, California, benefits significantly from our campus and the surrounding area.

#4. When

Like many things in life, the time to get treatment may never seem convenient. If someone waits until they are sure they are ready for something, they may never do it. Sometimes it’s important to make a decision and find the confidence to carry it out one step at a time.

Admitting to ourselves or to a loved one that we are struggling with substance abuse is a huge deal. It can bring on intense emotions and can cause tension in relationships. The best time to seek treatment for addiction is now before the addiction worsens. If we feel that a loved one or we have problems with substance abuse, we need to acknowledge those thoughts and reach out to a treatment center that can help us take the next steps.

#5. Why

When we look back on our lives, we want to remember the good times. Acknowledging the bad times can also be productive for us by showing us how much we have grown. Ultimately, though, we want to look back on our lives as something we enjoyed and something that gives us pride and meaning.

If you are currently struggling with substance abuse, your life may not be enjoyable or stable, but you can change that. Seeking help now can be the difference between living the life you want for yourself and allowing SUD to rob you of health, safety, and control.

Keeping, rebuilding, or forming healthy relationships with friends and family is an important reason to undergo treatment in itself. We are here to help you make connections, give and receive love, and explore who you are as a human. When substance use gets in the way of this, someone may never be able to live their life to the fullest. You or your loved one is worth seeking treatment. No matter what has happened in your past or what is happening in your present, you deserve to live a wonderful and fulfilling life.

Finding what works best for you or a loved one can take time. You need to remember that you are pursuing a necessary and healing course of action. By remembering your “why” and partnering with a great treatment team, you or your loved one can be one of the many people who have overcome addiction.

The first steps of seeking treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) can feel overwhelming. You may not know where to start or be sure if you or your loved one truly needs help. By answering the who, what, where, when, and why of finding treatment, you can better understand your situation and gain clarity about the next steps. Understanding the different types of treatment and evaluating treatment centers can help you connect with a program that will be effective for you or your loved one. Once treatment begins, it is important to hold onto your “why.” Recovery has many challenges; remembering why sobriety will improve your life can help you maintain your motivation. For help determining if you or your loved one has SUD, or to be connected with a treatment program that’s right for you, call 449 Recovery at (949) 435-7449.