One of the most difficult situations to find yourself in is helplessly watching your loved one struggle with addiction to drugs or alcohol. Addiction never just hurts the person battling with it, but it usually always hurts the people around them as well. It doesn’t just have physical ramifications either; it can ruin a person’s career, finances and relationships.
As addiction gets worse and the addict’s life spirals out of control, the effects it has on those around them also get worse. An addict may do just about anything to continue their addiction. They may steal from loved ones, start fights, and get into legal trouble.
Eventually, you realize that your loved one needs help through professional addiction treatment. But, you might also be wondering how to convince an addict to get drug or alcohol treatment. If they have never listened to you before during their battle with addiction, why would they listen to you now?
It may seem impossible to force an addict to get the treatment that they don’t think they need or want, but it’s important to make small steps to encourage them to try addiction therapy for their problem.
Can You Force An Addict Into Drug or Alcohol Treatment?
It’s not easy to force an addict to get help. Involuntary commitment to drug or alcohol treatment is fairly rare. However, there are some steps you can take to help convince your loved one to seek addiction therapy and treatment. Some statistics show that most people who do voluntarily seek treatment do so because someone close to them helped convince them or they are afraid of losing something or someone. That’s why it’s often said that many addicts don’t seek help until they’ve hit rock bottom.
Educate Yourself On Addiction
Sometimes it’s difficult to understand addiction when you’re on the outside looking in. All you can see is that your loved one is destroying their life over a high. However, the part you don’t see is the part that drives the addict to seek drugs and alcohol. It’s the rewiring of their brain that causes an uncontrollable urge to use drugs or alcohol. They can’t simply stop of their own free will. The chemical changes in the brain of an addict are too overpowering to be overcome with just willpower. These chemical changes are the difference between someone having a few drinks and feeling fine, and the addict who continues to drink until they pass out.
Here are a few ways you can improve your education and understanding of addiction as a mental disorder:
• Read about drug or alcohol treatment programs
• Explore informational sites about addiction as a disease
• Talk to an addiction treatment specialist about substance abuse
• Attend local groups like Al-Anon or Nar-Anon
Understanding addiction is an important step in finding ways to help your loved one.
Don’t Wait For An Addict To Hit Rock Bottom
As previously mentioned, many an addict will wait until they hit rock bottom before getting help. Some people even consider waiting for that moment as a form of tough love. The truth is, it’s better that an addict gets help before they reach that point. Life can spiral out of control very quickly for someone who’s addicted to drugs or alcohol. They can ruin major parts of their life within a short time, including their credit, their financial situation, their legal status, relationships, careers and much more. The more chaos an addict creates in their life before getting help, the harder it will be to come back.
The Thin Line Between Enabling and Helping an Addict
You might have heard the phrase “detach with love” when it comes to dealing with a loved one who is addicted. Many people feel a sense of responsibility towards the person in their lives who’s battling addiction. It’s common and normal to want to help them, even if it means enabling their addiction. For example, you might want to help them financially or get them out of legal trouble. The problem is, this type of help doesn’t allow the addict to see how seriously their disease is hurting them. Instead, it allows them to make excuses to continue ruining their life.
Detaching with love means not enabling the addict in your life, and it also means taking care of yourself first. It’s important to keep loving and supporting them, but not in a way that enables them to continue using drugs and alcohol.
Consider An Intervention
When you’re ready to intervene and convince your loved one to get drug or alcohol treatment, you might consider an intervention. This is one of the most common, and often successful, ways to convince someone to get help for addiction. There are two goals in holding an intervention:
1. Showing the addicted person that their disorder is hurting other people in their lives besides themselves.
2. Showing the addicted person that they have options and support if they choose to get drug or alcohol treatment.
When you decide to hold an intervention, you should prepare a defense for the following common questions:
• Addiction therapy is too expensive
• Treatment won’t work
• It will cause me to lose my job
• I can’t take time off
• I can’t be away from home
For the last three excuses, it’s important to talk about the benefits of addiction therapy versus going to a full rehab center. Attending therapy can easily be done outside of work hours, and it won’t require you to be away from home for a long period of time. Therapy for substance abuse is often very successful for people who don’t need detox. It can also be a good option for those who go through detox but don’t want to attend treatment at a rehab center.
How To Convince An Addict To Get Help
In the end, it’s important not to give up on your loved one. Even if you hold an intervention and it fails. Continue to support and encourage your loved one to seek help. Continue to educate yourself on the options for substance abuse treatment so that you can meet their objections. One of the most common types of treatment is behavioral therapy and psychoanalysis. You can get these treatments without enrolling in a rehab center. Sometimes the biggest objection of an addicted person is not wanting to upend their life in order to enter treatment. Attending therapy sessions with a skilled counselor is a way to get around that. Discovering and treating the underlying causes for a substance disorder is the best way to overcome it.
Doctor Howard Samuels is an Addiction Therapist in Los Angeles who specializes in psychotherapy for substance abuse disorders. Get in touch with him today to find out more about how therapy can help.