How to help an Addict get into Treatment

Addiction to drugs or alcohol is one of the most devastating mental health conditions that impacts not just the individual but also the family and the community at large. Even though treatment in addiction is making leaps forward, many people still do not get into treatment and suffer silently with the effects of their addiction. Hence the seriousness of the matter has to be considered if you know anybody who is addicted to substances.

The Family/ Loved ones suffer

The disease affects not only the addict but those around him or her as well. The family or loved ones are the first to notice the changes that come in a person’s behavior. Addiction comes with a price to pay in all areas of life: work, social life, personal life, finances and so on. The social consequences are many times noted only when addiction has reached dangerous levels. The family may be embarrassed by overt displays of intoxication, financial strain of substance may affect everyone. If the addict is an earning member, it becomes harder to ignore their addiction.

When a family member or close one finds out about the addiction, they usually try to make the addict understand what they are doing and to pull them out of it. When that fails, they are at a loss as to what steps to take and may resort to aggression, threats, fights or restrictions upon the person. While that may help some people, the majority of addicts don’t overcome their addiction in this way. This process makes the family suffer, with many close ones themselves going through anxiety, or mood issues whole dealing with the addict.  The negative comments, criticism or aggression may backfire, with the addict feeling more stressed, guilty or shameful. This may lead them into their addiction even deeper as they are unable to handle difficult emotions or conflict with others efficiently. The role of the family in addiction is immense and has to be understood.

What can be done?

The best solution for Drug or Alcohol addiction is to seek professional treatment as early as possible, before the disease progresses and has a great impact on the person’s physical or mental health.

In this article we aim to give some helpful guidelines to the family or loved ones on what steps they can take to help the addict to start considering treatment.

1. Get educated about Addiction

The first step a family member can take is to get scientific information about the addiction. This means doing research and gaining knowledge from trusted sources regarding the illness. You can visit the WHO website and gain some basic knowledge about addiction. The National Institute of Mental Health is also a good source to gain insight into addiction. Looking up multiple sources is always helpful. Knowing more about the disorder will help the family in taking educated steps in what can be done for the addict’s treatment, whether they need inpatient or outpatient treatment, medical intervention, and how they can begin to explain all this to the addict. It will help the family respond wisely to the problem rather than react emotionally to the whole situation.

2. Get the Addict talking

Once you have the necessary information you can start by asking some questions or starting a conversation about the problem with the addict. The addict may be in denial about his problem, they may have a false confidence that they will beat it or they may become defensive or even aggressive when someone tries to broach the subject. The family or close one’s task is to try and have a genuine discussion about the issue without pushing the addict to take immediate action. Go in with curiosity about what he or she is feeling, why do they think they are doing this, what happens if they don’t, how do they think their mental and physical health is. If you start with giving out advice and expressing anger or frustration about their behavior they may close off. Instead try to get them to start talking and at least acknowledging that they have this problem. This will help them start trusting you again and give you adequate information that can be useful in their treatment later on.

3. Show them the treatment options

After having done your research on treatment options and maybe even talking to a few professionals on what you should do, show the addict what treatment options are available. Outpatient clinics or deaddixtion centers, inpatient Rehabilitation center for addiction treatment, hospitals, are all viable option depending on the needs of the addict and the intensity of their illness. Try and persuade them to just speak to a counsellor before talking about long term treatment. Usually, for an addict who is suffering since a long time, rehabs for deaddiction are beneficial, as they go into a controlled environment in which they may not face their usual triggers. Forcing, putting pressure on the addict may not work and make the even more defensive about trying anything. Of course, if the addiction is at a level where they need urgent treatment, then closed rehabs or lock and key rehabs on which people are involuntarily admitted is the only option. This should only be taken as the last resort. For many addicts, sowing the seeds for recovery and treatment, will eventually lead them into treatment, if not immediately, some time later on.

4. Keep a positive home environment and motivate them

Conflict in the house, marital issues, interpersonal stress may deter the addict from thinking of recovery and become triggers for them to keep drinking or using. Try to maintain peace around the addict and keep a positive and supportive environment. This is easier said than done, as many times the addict may themselves start conflicts and cause trouble. But to react to that with more conflict is never the answer. Family members should seek help for what they are going through be it directly related to the addict and their addiction, or to something in their personal lives. As they say, you cannot pour from an empty cup. So getting counselling by a psychologist for family problems, adolescents or children in the house, for stress management and emotional regulation is vital. The whole family has to heal, so why not start before the addict and set an example.

In addition, keep motivating the addict instead of shaming them, helping them believe that they can help themselves by getting support and treatment.

5. Consider ‘Prehab’

At ZorbaWellness Rehabilitation and deaddiction centre in Pune, we have introduced the idea of ‘Prehab’. This essentially means a process that precedes rehab treatment. In Prehab, the family is counselled regarding how to bring the addict into treatment voluntarily without forcing them. Keeping all the above points in mind, the family is educated and are provided with various treatment options for the addict depending on the intensity and nature of addiction. A team of professionals not only helps the family deal with the situation and with their own frustration and helplessness regarding it, but also guides them into making an informed decision.

Prehab, then, focuses on the addict, by counselling them, motivating them and preparing them for treatment. Instead of using fear, shame and guilt, the addict is given a space to feel understood and to express their issues that underlie their addiction. This helps the addict come to terms with their problem and it’s consequences. They are helped to believe that there is hope after all.

They are made for realize that even though recovery is hard, regret is harder!

Contact Zorba Wellness – The best rehabilitation centre in Pune for more details.

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