Drug and alcohol rehab is big business, and some drug rehab sites would have you believe that everyone needs a period of residential care, if only to boost their bottom line. But not everyone needs or will even benefit from a period of residential rehab, and yet for some people, nothing less will do.

So how can you know if you need drug or alcohol rehab?

It’s easy, try to quit on your own and then try outpatient therapy, and if neither of these works; you need rehab.

A surprising number of people can simply make a determined and committed effort to change, and quit on their own. It may not be easy, and it may take real determination to change your habits, the way you spend your leisure time, and possibly even some of your “party” friends; but an awful lot of determined people can simply quit on their own.

You should expect the first month to be pretty tough, and then it gets easier every day.

If you find that although you give a determined effort at sobriety, you find yourself once again using and abusing, it is time to consider getting help but still not yet time for inpatient rehab.

Most addictions professionals will recommend that most people start therapies on an outpatient basis, trying the least disruptive form of therapy first in the hopes that this will provide enough assistance for a change in behaviors. Some available outpatient options include weekly or more sessions with trained addictions psychologist, participation in a local peer support group on substance abuse, and of course participation in either AA or NA 12 steps group meetings.

If even with outpatient and professional support you find that the pull of your addiction is too strong to be resisted, you do need to start considering inpatient treatment.

There is no shame in seeking needed help for addiction, and indeed it takes strength to admit to a need for help. Most people cannot defeat entrenched addictions on their own, and the issue is far larger than a simple matter of willpower. A month or more of inpatient therapy provides an enforced period of sobriety, intensive therapies and the time to spend on meditation and self-reflection on a better life. A rehab clinic gives you the tools you need to resist temptation and avoid relapse, and for people with serious and entrenched addiction, nothing short of inpatient drug or alcohol rehab will often offer much assistance.

Drug and alcohol rehab is expensive and it is disruptive. You will need to leave your family, and you will need to arrange for time away from work; but if you cannot quit on your own, and you cannot quit even with the help of professional outpatient therapeutic assistance, you have to accept that only with intensive residential care do you have any chance of bettering your addiction, and achieving an ultimate goal of sobriety.