What steps should I take if I think a loved one needs rehab?
If you have somebody in your family or a dear friend who is currently struggling with addiction, you may have wondered at some point if you should help them get into treatment. Some people don’t seek treatment themselves, since not everybody is able to recognize when they have a problem. In these situations, it is up to the family and friends of the addict to take action and help them get the treatment they need.
Unfortunately, approaching somebody about their addiction is no easy task. People who struggle with substance abuse problems are often battling many internal problems. This can make them very sensitive about their addiction.
Trying to talk to somebody about something they are sensitive about can be very tricky, because they will be volatile and more likely to think you are attacking them.
We are going to look at some of the best ways to approach your loved one about their Addiction in this article.
How to tell if your loved one needs treatment
It can be difficult to identify when a loved one is actually fighting an addiction, especially since we tend to see the best in them and push bad thoughts away. There are some signs and symptoms that you should look for if you are worried that somebody close to you is abusing drugs or alcohol. These things can include:
Changes in behavior or emotional stability. People using a drugs and alcohol may become more sad, angry, irritable, or irrational as their addiction progresses.
Problems in their social lives. If you have noticed that your loved one is not actively engaging with the same people that they used to, this may be a sign that they are using drugs.
Naturally, if someone starts hanging out with a new crowd of people that uses drugs frequently, you have reason to be concerned. However, it's not always a guarantee that somebody using drugs will start hanging out with other drug addicts.
Many people developing addictions become reclusive and avoid people altogether. If your loved one has stopped socializing with people that they used to enjoy seeing often, or is becoming distant when you speak to them, there may be reason to suspect drug abuse
If your loved one is facing financial problems, despite having a steady source of income, they may be spending money on drugs or alcohol.
If they are facing it troubles with their current employment this may be indicative of a serious drug problem.
If they are getting sick very often, they might actually be going through withdrawal.
How to approach a loved one about their addiction
If you are completely certain that your loved one is struggling with an addiction, then you are eventually going to have to approach them. This is no easy task, and you can be sure that emotions will be strong during this encounter.
The first thing you will want to make sure of is that you do not approach them in an accusatory manner. Make sure that they know you are hoping to help them, and that you are not judging them for their addiction. You want them to feel understood and accepted, not rejected or like a failure.
Approaching your loved one with compassion and concern will not only make them feel better, it will make them more likely to open up about their problem. Many drug addicts are actively looking for a solution to their addiction, but they aren't able to find the confidence to talk to their friends and families about it. If you are able to reach out to them in a constructive, compassionate manner, they might be happy that you have done so.
If your loved one is happy that you approach them and willing to work with you to develop a plan to recover from their addiction, then that is great. Unfortunately, this is hardly the case for all addicts.
Many addicts will be offended or angered if you mention their addiction. Some of them may even deny it. Most often, when a drug addict denies that they have an addiction problem, they are not necessarily lying -they have just not accepted the reality of their situation yet.
Approaching them under the influence
Depending on the type of person you are trying to help, it might be better to approach them when they are sober or when they are under the influence of their substance.
If someone is using drugs or alcohol to the point that they’re addicted, their periods of sobriety will be marked by withdrawal symptoms, one of which can be depression. Some are very remorseful about their addictions during withdrawal and want to quit. It may help to talk to them then. Approaching somebody while they are in the throes of withdrawal makes it much easier for them to admit that they want to stop using drugs or alcohol.
Conversely, it may be easier to get someone to actually agree to getting treatment while they are intoxicated.
If somebody is addicted to the point that they are going to get withdrawals, they may agree that they want to stop using, but they are not going to want to commit to anything while they are in withdrawal. Withdrawal is very unpleasant and hard to deal with, and generally the only thing the addict will commit to is getting more of their substance to get rid of the discomfort.
This is why it might be better to actually discuss a plan for treatment when your loved one is under the influence. This way, they will have more energy to address the issue and will be better able to develop a plan. They may even be willing to come with you to check out a treatment facility.
If your loved one is suffering from a serious addiction but refuses to admit it or accept your help, you may have to call an intervention specialist. Intervention specialists are trained to help people recognize their problems so they are able to seek help for them. If you have tried to approach your loved one about their issue already without success, this might be your best option.