You may believe or know that someone close to you is struggling with substance abuse, but you’re not sure how to convince them to go and receive the help they need from a rehab program. In this blog, we want to offer guidance so that you can support any of your loved ones who are struggling with addiction.
Over 40 million people above the age of 12 struggled with a substance use disorder in the US in 2020. Unfortunately, only about 10% of them received treatment through rehab. This can be incredibly difficult for those that care about them too.
Signs That Your Loved One Needs Professional Help
You may be debating whether someone close to you actually needs professional help to overcome a drug addiction. We understand this because not everyone who uses drugs becomes addicted, and addiction doesn’t always mean that a person takes an excessive amount of drugs.
Furthermore, signs of addiction will vary depending on the person’s lifestyle, genetics, and the substance(s) they’re taking. However, recognizing the clear signs of addiction in someone can be the first step to helping save their life.
You can often spot a substance use disorder (SUD) through a person’s inability to stop taking drugs or alcohol despite the harm it’s causing them physically and socially. Withdrawal is also a clear indicator to show that the body has become physically dependent on the harmful substance.
Some Types of Substances That Can Lead to a Substance Use Disorder Are:
- Stimulants (e.g. cocaine, amphetamines)
- Opioids (e.g. heroin, prescription medication)
- Sedatives (sleep-inducing medications)
- Anti-anxiety medications (e.g. benzodiazepines)
Physical Signs Your Loved One Needs to Seek Addiction Treatment
- Withdrawal symptoms when they go without the substance
- Taking more of the substance to get the desired effect
- Sudden weight loss from neglecting proper nutrition
- Impaired coordination
- Deterioration in physical appearance
- Slurred speech
- Unusual body odor
Psychological Signs Your Loved One Needs to Seek Addiction Treatment
- Depression and anxiety
- Feelings of irrational paranoia or uncharacteristic anger
- Low self-esteem and motivation
- Excessive tiredness OR excessive energy/restlessness
- Irritability or mood swings
- Wanting to quit the substance, but failing when they try
- An unusual change in personality
Social Signs Your Loved One Needs to Seek Addiction Treatment
- Disregarding responsibilities (at home, school, or work)
- Acting secretively or lying very often
- Neglecting relationships with family and friends
- Taking risks out of character while using the substance
- No longer doing activities they used to enjoy
- Getting into unexplained financial issues
- Legal issues
What Makes It Difficult for People Struggling With Substance Abuse to Seek Treatment or Support?
People dealing with a substance use disorder can often tell that they have an addiction. However, the nature of addiction makes someone feel as though they can’t help themselves, preventing them from seeking help. There are also some other barriers like:
- Stigma and fear of being judged
- Financial instability
With that said, you may be wondering how to convince someone to go to rehab.
Fortunately, it is possible to get through to your loved one without forcing it, and we’re going to share how.
Ways to Convince Someone to Go to Rehab
Research Treatment Options First
Before you even approach your loved one to have an honest conversation about their addiction, you’ll need to do some research on what is the best language to use with someone who is struggling. Your main aim is to remain supportive. You want to show empathy while explaining how treatment options will benefit their life in the long run.
Familiarizing yourself with and understanding addiction will help you gain the knowledge and insight needed to have healthy conversations. Refer back to the signs of addiction mentioned earlier to give you some confirmation that your loved one needs help.
Consider consulting a medical health professional to find out what effective treatment options are available to help your loved one.
Rehab centers offer a range of approaches. Some treatment options you may come across are:
- Drug detox. This is the first step to a wider treatment where an individual goes through a medically-supervised detox to help rid the body of the drug. It’s supervised because it’s often extremely difficult, even dangerous, for someone who’s addicted to a substance to detox on their own. With medical supervision, they can detox as safely as possible.
- Inpatient care. With inpatient treatment, an individual stays at the treatment facility where they receive 24-hour care in the form of therapy, medication, and counseling to understand the underlying negative emotions that perhaps triggered their addiction.
- Outpatient treatment. This can be similar to inpatient services, except your loved one can stay at home or in a sober living residence. They would attend rehab for behavioral therapy or individual, family, or group therapy sessions. This option only works if the home your loved one is living in is substance-free and they have enough family support to make sure of that.
- Aftercare services or joining a support group. This comes after the formal treatment. Through aftercare services, your loved one can develop skills on how to cope and avoid relapse so their recovery is long-term. A support group can offer a valuable opportunity to share experiences and difficulties.
Be Mindful About How You Express Your Emotions
Addiction is a disease. It’s important that you approach your loved one with care and compassion. When you speak to them about considering rehab centers, try not to let your emotions take over because your genuine concern may be perceived differently by your loved one.
It’s understandable that if you’re particularly close to the person struggling that it can be very difficult to mask either your anger or your deep disappointment. However, you need to remain calm when talking to them because you don’t want to say something regrettable which may encourage your loved one to continue alcohol or drug use.
Let your loved one know that you’re speaking to them about their substance use from a place of love, and that you want them to consider rehab so they can be healthy and happy. Emphasize to them that they are not alone because you will be there to support their recovery. You can let them know how their substance use has hurt you, but do not blame them. You can say to them:
- “I am worried about you”
- “I feel hurt about what [the substance] is doing to your life”
- “I am scared for you”
- “I want to help you, but I’m not sure how”
To achieve a productive conversation, give your loved one a chance to speak and actually listen to them. It helps to show that you understand where they are coming from.
Have an Open & Honest Conversation With Your Loved One About Their Mental Health
To understand why your loved one is turning to substances, you need to speak to them about why they feel like they need to. There’s often an important mental health side to why people choose drugs or alcohol.
This may be due to past trauma, a major life shift in terms of relationships, work, or a loss. A substance use disorder is often the result of coping with a difficult situation. Unfortunately, most of the time, your loved one may find it hard to accept that they have a mental health problem because of the stigma that surrounds it. Showing that you’re open to hearing them with love may help them discover that a treatment program can be beneficial to get the help they need.
These are some ways you can communicate effectively:
- Ask questions without giving unsolicited advice
- Try active listening. Repeat back to them statements that they say so they know you’re hearing their side, and they can be able to process their thoughts more deeply
- Use comforting and welcoming body language. Maintain eye contact, relax your posture, keep your arms open. This will help your loved one feel more comfortable
Here are some things you should avoid during communication:
- Talking to your loved one when either of you has been drinking alcohol
- Speaking about going to a rehab center during or right after you’ve had a fight
- Throwing accusations
- Judging them for their alcohol or drug use
- Convincing your loved one that they are a problem that needs to be fixed
- Avoid using terms like ‘addict’, ‘alcoholic’, ‘junkie’ or ‘substance abuser’. These are unhelpful terms. You want to show understanding by supporting them at their level
Ease Their Fear About Withdrawal Symptoms
This is where your research can also come in handy. When you’re sure about the substance your loved one is abusing, get more information on what withdrawal effects those substances can involve. Speak to a medical professional about what someone can expect from a detox treatment when they go to rehab and how the withdrawal can be eased.
Also, by showing your loved one that you understand what they can go through when they stop using the substance, they’ll be able to see that you’re truly offering your support.
Stage an Intervention
Interventions can be effective in convincing someone to go to rehab, but only if they’re done right. They can bring the issue to your loved one’s attention from many points of view. The key to effective intervention is bringing in a professional interventionist to help mediate conversations and make sure that the comfort of your loved one is maintained.
Intervention specialists like Feinberg can also help plan the event and provide resources to help it go smoothly.
The goal of the intervention shouldn’t be to change the person struggling with addiction’s mind immediately. They shouldn’t be expecting to be shipped off to rehab that day. The goal is to show someone that they have the support they need to go to rehab for their drug abuse because the people around them are concerned and want the best for them.
Set Boundaries and Ground Rules Surrounding Drug or Alcohol Abuse
Either during a one-on-one conversation or an intervention, it’s important to make it clear what you will not accept with addictive behavior. Be careful not to threaten or give ultimatums, however, because your loved one can feel attacked.
It’s also important not to enable them by clarifying that you won’t cover up for their addictive behavior (e.g. calling in sick to work for them) so that they are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions.
Don’t Force It
At the end of the day, forcing someone to go to a rehab center against their will is not going to ensure their recovery. If you’ve given them all the information and support they need to seek treatment, you’ll need patience so that they make their own decision.
Just make sure your loved one understands that you’re there for them during their long-term recovery process.
Addiction Recovery Support at Feinberg Consulting
Feinberg is a world-class intervention specialist dedicated to helping you achieve the best treatment for your loved one’s addiction to drug abuse.
Fortunately, you don’t have to figure it out on your own. We can help you organize an effective intervention to encourage your loved one to seek treatment. We also offer family therapy sessions and treatment options that are tailored to your loved one’s needs and can give you information about support groups they can join for long-term recovery.
If you’ve noticed any signs of struggle with substance abuse in a family member or anyone close to you, please don’t hesitate to contact us today so that we can help.
You can rest assured that together we can lead them in the right direction.