You may believe or know someone close to you is struggling with substance abuse, but you’re not sure how to convince them to receive the addiction treatment they need from a rehab program. In this blog, we want to offer guidance so you can support your loved one struggling with addiction.
Over 40 million people over 12 struggled with a substance use disorder in the US in 2020. Unfortunately, only about 10% of them received addiction 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 needs professional help overcoming drug or alcohol addiction. Not everyone who uses drugs is addicted, and not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic.
Furthermore, signs of addiction will vary depending on the person’s lifestyle, genetics, and the substance(s) they’re taking. However, recognizing the 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 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 drugs (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 using 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 they have an addiction. However, addiction makes people feel like they can’t help themselves, preventing them from seeking help. There are also some other barriers:
- Stigma and fear of being judged
- Financial instability
With that said, you may be wondering how to convince someone to go to rehab.
Fortunately, getting through to your loved one without forcing it is possible, and we will 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 research the best language to use with someone 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 for healthy conversations. Refer 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 effective treatment options 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 broader treatment where an individual undergoes medically supervised detox to help rid the body of the drug. It’s run because it’s often tough, even dangerous, for someone addicted to a substance to detox independently. 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 through therapy, medication, and counseling to understand the underlying negative emotions that perhaps triggered their addiction.
- Outpatient treatment. This can be like inpatient services, except your loved one can stay home or in a sober 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 ensure that.
- Aftercare services or joining a support group. This comes after the formal treatment. Through aftercare services, your loved one can develop skills 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 essential 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 loved one may perceive your genuine concern differently.
It’s understandable that it can be tough to mask either your anger or your deep disappointment if you’re particularly close to the person struggling. However, you must remain calm when talking to them because you don’t want to say something regrettable that 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 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 tell them 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.”
Give your loved one a chance to speak and listen to them to achieve a productive conversation. 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 significant life shift in relationships, work, or a loss. A substance use disorder often results from 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 surrounding 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, and 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. Please 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 genuinely offering your support.
Stage an Intervention
Interventions can convince someone to go to rehab, but only if done correctly. 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 immediately change the person struggling with addiction’s mind. They shouldn’t be expecting to be shipped off to rehab that day. The goal is to show someone 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. However, be careful not to threaten or give ultimatums 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
Forcing someone to go to a rehab center against their will does not 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.
Ensure your loved one understands that you’re there for them during their long-term recovery.
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 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 we can help.
You can rest assured that together we can lead them in the right direction.