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Chemical Dependency

Providing Trusted, Evidence-Based
Treatment for Three Decades and Counting

If you or a loved one is experiencing addiction, we’re here to help.

Chemical dependency centers help individuals and their families find solutions to the difficult problem of drug and alcohol addiction. Through psychological care, medical treatment, medication and therapeutic resources, a drug and alcohol rehab center can help you beat your addiction.

What Is Chemical Dependency?

Chemical dependency is the repeated use of alcohol or drugs in a manner that threatens the individual’s health and life, as well as the safety of those around him. For example, chronic health problems and personal relationship issues usually arise around chemical dependency. Even when warned by doctors and loved ones that he is hurting himself, a person struggling with addiction finds it impossible to stop using his drug of choice without medical assistance.

Nurse comforting patientIf an individual suffers from chemical dependency, it is imperative that she seeks treatment as soon as possible. Chemical dependency centers work closely with individuals suffering from substance abuse. Many who require treatment for chemical dependency are addicted to multiple drugs and alcohol or have co-occurring mental disorders that require treatment as well.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, most people need about three months of treatment in order to truly handle their addictions, and the longer a person stays in care, the more likely their long-term sobriety.1 Early discharge from rehab can lead to relapse, but people can increase their determination to stay in treatment by making lists of the following:

  • The physical symptoms they feel as a result of the addiction
  • Details about the life they’d like to have without drugs
  • Words they might use to describe the addiction
  • Stories of times the addiction has impacted friends and family members

This list can help keep the person on track and focused on rehab success, even when times are tough reminding them of the difficulties of a life clouded by addiction.

What Are the Stages of Dependency?

Chemical dependency usually occurs in five stages that describe the progressive effects of drug and alcohol abuse. We believe that, like all medical disorders, the earlier you receive treatment, the more likely you will experience a successful and lasting recovery from chemical dependency. The five stages of dependency include the following:

  • Experimentation – The first time someone uses drugs or drinks for pleasure is the beginning of experimentation.
  • Regular Use – People who consistently use over time experience health, financial and relational problems even prior to addiction.
  • Risky Use – When people begin breaking healthy boundaries or engaging in dangerous behavior in favor of drug or alcohol use, they have entered the risky use stage.
  • Dependence – People often begin to need their chosen substance to feel normal. In this stage of dependence, individuals will sacrifice former priorities to be able to continue to use.
  • Addiction – Characterized by perpetual cravings, when a person cannot quit drinking or taking drugs on their own despite negative consequences, they have become addicted.2

Is Dependency a Problem for You and Your Family?

When drugs and alcohol begin to cause you problems in your daily life, it’s time to reassess your drug use—and consider getting the addiction treatment help you need to get your life back on track. Some examples of these problems include the following:

  • Financial issues – Addiction is expensive. Additionally, those who are chemically dependent will have a hard time keeping up at work—many will call in sick and miss opportunities to earn while others will be fired due to poor performance. Many find themselves in debt because their addiction is impeding their financial stability.
  • Health problems – All drugs of abuse have negative side effects, both short term and long term. When you try to quit on your own, most people will also experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. The specifics will vary depending upon the drug of abuse, but all drugs create serious issues for the patient in terms of health and wellness.
  • Family issues – Those closest to you will begin to react to your addiction, and your most precious relationships will be affected first. If you are missing out on important family events and spending all your family time sleeping or not feeling well due to drug abuse, it’s time to seek treatment.

Addictions have deep and long-lasting effect on those who live with and interact with the addicted person. Families almost always bear the stress of a loved one’s addiction, and it often presents in the following ways:

  • They cannot count on their loved one to follow through
  • Special events are often forgotten due to their loved one being drunk or high
  • Their loved one lies to them frequently
  • Their loved one steals from them to fund the addiction

In treatment programs that include the family, the whole group can come together to learn more about addiction, and they develop new skills that make the family stronger and the home safer more peaceful. This is the kind of environment that tends to support sobriety, not addiction.

Building trust takes time, but addicted people can take first steps by sharing their commitment to get sober, and attempting to speak openly and honestly about their hopes and dreams with their families. They can also personally invite their family members to participate in therapy. These steps can be hard to take, but those who are willing to do so may reap huge rewards as a result.

Chemical Dependency Within the LGBTQ Community

Chemical dependency in the LGBTQ community often has much higher rates than the general population. Patients report some of the most common issues they face,include:

  • Personal history – Many people experience psychological and social problems before they come out of the closet and will turn to drugs and alcohol as a means of coping with the pain and confusion they feel because of their sexuality.
  • The gay party scene – The gay culture in many cities often features an intense nightlife scene. Substances like crystal meth and Ecstasy are often used to enhance the party experience, and many individuals find it difficult to quit because of social pressure.
  • The lesbian lifestyle – Lesbian women consistently have a higher rate of alcohol addiction than heterosexual women.

Although being gay or lesbian does not automatically lead to a drug and alcohol addiction, those who struggle with addiction issues deserve sensitive treatment that understands the issues unique to their community.

Rehab Centers

A chemical dependency center should address all aspects of addiction recovery, including withdrawal symptoms, detox, counseling, rehab and aftercare programs. Once an individual enters a chemical dependency program, the staff will first assess their physical status and stabilize them medically. Next, the staff will work with the patient through detox and withdrawal.3 After detox is complete, most rehabs will encourage individual and group therapy. Group counseling gives the recovering individual a chance to interact with peers who are dealing with many of the same challenges.

Finally, the chemical dependency center may also feature an aftercare program for the individual to attend after they have completed their time at the center. Aftercare programs are a key element in the full recovery of an addict, providing accountability and support as the individual attempts to reenter mainstream society.

Chemical dependency help is available in a number of different venues and in various forms. From community 12-Step programs, to outpatient treatment, to sober living homes, to inpatient rehabs, there is a right fit for you. The cost of chemical dependency treatment varies, but many offer financial assistance for patients or are free services of the community.

Chemical Dependency Treatment at Michael’s House

Michael’s House offers chemical dependency treatment for those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol and ready to make a change. Call Michael’s House for more information about chemical dependency treatment and how, together, we can help you or someone you love recover from drug and alcohol addiction. Please call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline today!


1Principles of Effective Treatment.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. December 2012. Accessed 21 October 2017.

2 Wand, Gary, “The Influence of Stress on the Transition From Drug Use to Addiction.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Accessed 21 October 2017.

3Principles.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. April 2014. Accessed 21 October 2017.