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How to Help a Loved One With an Addiction Who Doesn’t Want Help

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Addiction is a disease that affects the whole family. Without some sort of intervention or help, drug or alcohol addiction can disrupt a home’s stability and destroy relationships. You might not know exactly how to help your addicted loved one: Some experts advocate a “tough love” strategy, while others recommend a gentler approach. In many cases, an intervention can help motivate an addicted person to acknowledge their problem and seek help. Meeting with your loved one and explaining the consequences of refusing treatment presents them with the opportunity to turn their life around.

In a perfect world, every person who suffers from addiction would arrive at treatment with a clear understanding of their condition and a desire to get well. Unfortunately, that’s not the way addiction works. Most suffering from addiction are unwilling to enter treatment, and many are in denial about the extent of their problem.

If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction, it’s very normal to feel frustrated and hopeless when they resist your help. While there’s no surefire way to convince a person with an addiction to get treatment, a few strategies can help you break through:

Understanding Addiction as a Disease

Learning more about the nature of addiction will help you gain the understanding and patience you need to support your loved one. Addiction isn’t a lack of self-control, it’s a chronic and progressive disease of the brain. Drugs and alcohol hijack the brain’s chemistry and structure, making it impossible for a user to see what’s happening to their life and make logical decisions.

This explains why a person with an addiction continues to drink or use, even when their life is falling apart around them. It also explains why a professional is often necessary to get a person to accept treatment.

Understanding Intervention

People struggling with addiction are usually in denial about their problem and are reluctant to seek treatment. A more focused, structured approach is necessary to help them acknowledge the consequences of their addiction. Professional help provides a forum where the addict can be confronted in a non-threatening, non-judgmental way. In an intervention, participants provide examples of how their loved one’s addiction has caused problems, and they propose a clear treatment plan. Each participant spells out the consequences that will occur if the addicted person refuses to get help. After the intervention, the treatment process empowers the client to be a part of his or her own treatment plan.

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Establishing Boundaries & Consequences

Family members must decide what consequences will occur if their loved one won’t accept treatment. You might need to ask your loved one to move out of the house, or you may have to take away their contact with children. If you’re providing financial support to your loved one, you may need to buy whatever goods and services the person may need instead of giving them money that will likely be used on alcohol or drugs.

Enforcing boundaries doesn’t mean that you need to turn your back on your loved one. You could agree to help them look for treatment but refuse to lend them money or pay their expenses. When you define clear boundaries and stick to them, you protect your own physical and emotional health, and you force the addicted person to deal with the consequences of their behavior.

Regardless of the specific consequences, it’s important to follow through on them; these repercussions might provide the motivation your loved one needs to make a change and seek treatment. None of these approaches guarantee that your loved one will agree to get help and maintain their recovery, but they let the addicted person know that you care, and that treatment is available.

Locate an Addiction Professional

These professionals also have the tools necessary to know how to help people overcome their denial of addiction and realize they need help. A professional will guide the intervention or work with you to get your loved one into treatment. They are well versed in how to approach the patient and how to speak without blame or judgment in a way that will encourage the person to accept treatment.

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Plan Out What Will Happen

An addiction professional can help you prepare for what the group will say to the person during the intervention. This will provide everyone with the knowledge they’ll need to convince the patient to get help.

Although you can prepare for an intervention, you still can’t predict how the person will react when confronted. A professional will help you learn how to calm a disruptive environment that can get out of control. The main goal of an intervention is to have the person in need realize they are in denial and commit to getting treatment. A treatment plan should be prearranged with clear goals before the intervention so the person can immediately go forward with treatment.

Taking the first step is hard, even for family members. Treatment is a big unknown for most; and can be scary. For others, who may have had a difficult experience with treatment in the past, choosing the right facility is all the more important. Destination hope is here to allay and address all of those concerns with a direct and open discussion about the treatment process and what you or your loved one may experience during treatment with us. Not only are we dedicated to the upmost in clinical care, but also an open and honest line of communication to offer the best chance of long-term recovery and minimize relapse.

Destination Hope is a leader in the treatment of substance abuse and mental health issues in Florida and around the United States. Please contact one of our admissions specialists to learn more.

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