How Do I Convince My Loved One to Get Help?

Convincing a loved one to get help for their addiction can be one of the most difficult aspects of recovery for friends and family, but it is vitally important.

Encourage Your Loved One to Get Help

Facing the consequences of an addiction can be a scary thought for many people suffering from a Substance Use Disorder (SUD). They may picture themselves losing control of their life or feeling embarrassed among friends. These feelings are also at odds with the pervasive idea of self-reliance in modern society. Substance dependency is seen by these people as a weakness and not a medical condition. For this reason, denial is often a large part of addiction and convincing a loved one to get help can be challenging.

The strongest thing that is helpful is having a system of care that can surround the person.

Dr. Kelly Clark
President of the American Society of Addiction Medicine

Unfortunately, a hurdle many face when coming to terms with their SUD is overcoming the stigma of being an “addict.” This stigma could be found even in healthcare law until the 2010 Affordable Care Act, when the same level of coverage was required for addiction treatment as for other diseases, like diabetes. Family and friends trying to help a loved one must see a SUD in the same light. Just as diabetes cannot be treated without medical attention, the treatment of addiction may require one or more medical, clinical, and spiritual therapies. Do not shame an individual for their SUD, but encourage treatment for a disease that can’t be fought alone.

Worrying about how to pay for rehab (or any addiction treatment) can also be a barrier to seeking recovery. The cost of addiction, however, can far outweigh the cost of rehab. Continuously spending money on substances like Heroin or other Opioids can surpass the average annual income of an American family. With a variety of addiction treatment options in most cities, individuals can detox and rehabilitate themselves close to home and responsibilities. Reminding loved ones of these facts can assuage some fears they have about finding treatment.

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Supporting vs. Enabling

Being A Supporter Instead Of An Enabler Is A Critical Part Of Convincing A Loved One To Get HelpThe line between supporting a loved one to get help and enabling them is not crystal clear. The two words more or less mean the same thing, so it’s important to know what types of help a loved one needs in order to recover. Providing transportation to and from an outpatient rehab center is a type of support; covering for a loved one who is absent from work because of a hangover is enabling. If you want to help, it’s fundamental to stop giving them excuses or tools to keep using substances.

Friends and family also need not wait until their loved one hits “rock bottom” to get him or her to get help. By that time, much of the physical damage caused by addiction could be irreversible. An individual can develop a treatable SUD in a short period of time and after only a few uses. When someone wants to cut down on using a substance but can’t, or if they start making sacrifices to use, this could point to a SUD. Approaching loved ones about these kinds of changes, without being accusatory, can be the first step in helping them recover.

When it’s time to talk to a loved one about getting help, addiction treatment professionals stress the importance of a nonconfrontational environment (one where the individual is also sober). TV shows like Intervention are unrealistic for most suffering from a SUD and could actually backfire. Likewise, a “tough love” method may push loved ones even further away. Emphasizing concern for a loved one, avoiding judgment, and keeping an open dialogue are the best ways to approach a conversation about getting help.

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Choosing a Rehab

Getting help with an addiction is nothing to be ashamed of. As with any chronic disease, medical intervention is necessary for the individual to regain a healthy life. The range of treatment options available today are designed to rehabilitate any level of addiction. Depending on the situation, you and your loved one may consider one or more of the following treatment options:

Take The First Step To Convince Your Loved One to Get Help

If you’re ready to get help for your loved one but are unsure of the next step, contact a dedicated treatment specialist today to talk about your options.

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