Does a person have to hit rock bottom before getting treatment? | Center on Addiction

Does a person have to hit rock bottom before getting treatment?

Does a person have to hit rock bottom before getting treatment?


Hitting Rock Bottom refers to the notion that a person must hit their lowest point before having the motivation to change. It implies the person needs to experience firsthand the worst consequences of his actions before he will be motivated to get help and alter these behaviors.  

Rock Bottom Doesn’t Work

Research shows that waiting for someone to hit rock bottom before starting treatment is dangerous.  One of the many problems with this approach, is that rock bottom can mean death.  When a person with addiction is allowed to hit rock bottom, he or she often ends up needlessly injuring support systems and further damaging his or her life.

What Makes Addiction Different?

When it comes to the idea of rock bottom, no other chronic disease is handled this way. A person with diabetes does not need to experience a foot amputation to understand the gravity of their disease. They are provided with education about the disease, ways to change behaviors to prevent worsening consequences, treatment to stabilize the condition and monitoring to assure that their health remains stable.   Addiction can and should be treated the same way.

Addiction is a Treatable Disease

Getting proper treatment is critical to managing addiction. If you or a loved one is looking for treatment, visit our patient guide to learn more about treatment options and the steps for finding quality treatment. 

 Margaret Raskob, MPH

 Margaret Raskob is a freelance blogger.


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