Understanding the Problem

Why Early Intervention and Help Matters in Recovery

Whatever our challenge may be, early intervention matters. The sooner we start our recovery journey, the sooner we move towards experiences of greater connection, health and hope. Addressing addiction or other mental health challenges earlier can prevent more severe symptoms and consequences. Continuing addictive behaviors only strengthens unhealthy patterns and negative “ruts” in our brains.

Our need for that addictive substance or behavior can become so profound that, over time, we find ourselves doing dangerous, risky things that have major consequences for ourselves or loved ones. Today, take a step forward toward health and recovery, even if it seems unappealing.


Start the Journey

Whatever challenges one faces, early intervention to get help sooner starts the journey to greater hope, fulfillment and health. No matter the challenge, the earlier steps taken towards wholeness widens our opportunities to experience more in life. If the goal of the process is finding greater connection, hope, and purpose in life, why not start sooner?

Of course, it may not feel so simple. Unhealthy routines, patterns, and habits can make positive change feel hard, but taking steps forward is possible.

Everyone needs help at some point. There is no shame in seeking support. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Healthy growth often requires help from others.

Early intervention means we are not trapped waiting for the negative consequences of our behavior to force us to start the process of healing after even more severe damage has been done.  There is a life of connection and hope possible, waiting on the other side of receiving support.

Avoid Worse Consequences

The longer that we wait, and the stronger the addictive patterns or other challenges become, the greater the level of support and help we may need. In other words, by getting help sooner, our healing processes may be less intensive.

Start with a counselor or therapist and see if additional care is needed. Focus on what might be gained through the process. Recovery is an opportunity to rediscover life, be it stronger family relationships, a greater sense of purpose and meaning, the ability to pursue dreams and passions,  or simply more joy and peace

For addictions, early intervention is particularly important. The longer one engages in addictive behavior, the stronger the unhealthy rewards system experienced in addiction becomes in the brain. Contextual triggers, such as a local watering hole for an alcoholic or the sight of a syringe for a drug addict, become stronger over time and introduce intense desires for the associated substance or experience. The sooner that we find environments that support recovery and address the underlying roots of the condition, such as underlying pain or trauma, the less our  brains will have developed chemical reactions and dependencies on unhealthy substances.

Related: Find free or government-funded care near you

Not all individuals dealing with consequences from substance use may have addictions. But, even if the issue is substance overuse (and not technically a substance use disorder), getting help can prevent development of a dependency and the consequences that addiction can bring. As an addicted brain continues to use a certain substance to release a “high,” the brain adjusts and the effect of the substance feels relatively weaker. Overuse can become addiction as individuals find they need more and more of the substance or behavior to feel the same level of ‘high.’ This greatly increases the likelihood of more significant consequences, whether it be the financial cost of supporting the habit, costly behaviors and lost time spent accessing the “high,” costs to relationships and family members affected by the addicted loved one’s behavior, or the physical cost of greater abuse of substances, including the possibility of overdose and death.

Start Discovering More in Life Today

Getting help sooner starts the process of discovering greater purpose and meaning in life.  Substance use disorders (addictions) are not just a lack of willpower or moral failure. They are a medical condition. Knowing this breaks the stigma and shame that keeps people from seeking help. Stepping forward earlier in the process may not feel easy or comfortable. But it’s better than waiting. There’s hope, healing, and life possible. If it helps, try finding someone you trust that would be willing to help you start the process.



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