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Watching a loved one struggle with drug or alcohol addiction is very difficult. Especially when you want them to seek help, but they don’t.
If you’re watching a family member struggle with addiction, you’re not alone.
In the United States, over 23 million people are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Only 11 percent of them receive treatment.
Helping an alcoholic get into rehab seems like a big undertaking. But you can break it down into steps. Here are some ways to make the process easier, more organized, and more effective:
The first step is to determine whether the person is actually addicted. Signs of addiction include:
If they have an addiction, you should approach them and see if they will seek help independently. It's best to do this in a non-confrontational manner.
Try to find a time when they are sober. Use a soft tone, and don't use accusatory statements. For example:
"I feel sad when you spend time getting high instead of hanging out with me,"
is better than
"You always choose drugs over me! You need to stop!"
You should also do some research beforehand. You can select the best treatment option and plan to get them into treatment.
Addiction is a disease that affects the brain. Try not to judge or criticize your loved one for their actions. Instead, try to understand why they act the way they do. This may be difficult at first, but it can help your efforts.
If someone feels forced to go to rehab, they're more likely to resist. Using empathy to address the situation helps them understand the idea of going to rehab.
You can show empathy by:
Convincing someone to go to rehab is easier said than done. It can even take a toll on your mental health.
Setting boundaries helps you maintain a sense of self while dealing with an addict. Your boundaries will reduce any stress caused by their addiction. They'll also give you a feeling of safety and security.
Remember it's essential to set boundaries. Remind yourself how much you're willing to compromise for your loved one. Make clear intentions so you don’t lose yourself or your freedom.
Establishing boundaries will also help an addict see the consequences of their actions. They’re more likely to see the damage when you don’t tolerate certain behavior.
If needed, seek professional care as well. Speaking to a therapist can provide an outlet for your feelings and thoughts. You can also talk to friends or family members who are going through the same situation.
You can also explore staging an intervention.
An intervention helps motivate someone to go to rehab. The goal of an intervention is to get someone into recovery. Interventions can happen between loved ones or with the help of a professional.
During an intervention, family and friends express how they feel about a loved one’s addiction. This can be done through letters or speeches.
If necessary, family members will try to convince their loved one they need to seek help for their substance abuse problem.
An intervention usually follows this structure:
If you plan to perform an intervention, seek professional help from a professional interventionist to ensure everything goes smoothly.
The best type of treatment for substance use depends on the individual’s specific needs and the severity of their addiction:
Suppose the addicted person is a child under 18. In that case, their legal parent or guardian can send them to rehab without their approval. Even if they refuse to get into the car, the parent may carry them to treatment or hire a transport service.
Involuntary commitment in the United States is a way to force someone to go to rehab through a court order from a judge. Court-ordered rehab requires an adult to be committed to an addiction treatment center.
An involuntary commitment may be the right option when the person suffering from a substance use disorder poses a danger to others or themselves.
Thirty-seven states in the United States and the District of Columbia allow involuntary commitment. Each state has its commitment procedures and legal requirements.
Before involuntarily committing someone, you should research to understand if your state allows it. Make sure you know the required laws and processes.
Once involuntary commitment is an option for your loved one, you should explore effective addiction treatment options.
Feeling hurt, scared, or overwhelmed is normal when confronting an addiction. But you don't have to go through this alone.
Talk to a professional if you have questions about getting someone into rehab. They can give you advice on how to speak to your loved one. They can also help you figure out logistical details.
Having a treatment plan before staging an intervention can help the process go smoothly. It also eliminates excuses on why the person can't be committed.
Remember to be loving, supportive, and helpful throughout the process. This will be challenging for you. That's why it's best to seek help as soon as possible.
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