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Anyone who has a family member suffering from addiction knows how heartbreaking it is to witness. Often, any attempts you make to share your concerns with the loved one are met with denial or anger. It is a difficult and sensitive topic to broach, and many who need rehab are unwilling to consider it.
What to do if the family member is spiraling and not receptive to your attempts to get them to help? Can you force them to get treatment? Read on to learn how to send a family member to rehab.
Signs Your Family Member Needs Rehab
As your loved one’s substance use disorder continues to worsen, you will start to see these common signs of addiction. The more of these signs present, the more severe the substance use disorder is:
- Increased tolerance causes higher dosing or consumption of the substance.
- Obsessed about getting the drug, and having enough of it on hand.
- Doctor shopping for more refills, or obtaining the drug through illicit channels.
- Loss of interest in the things they once enjoyed, instead preferring drug use.
- Secretive behaviors; lying about their substance abuse.
- Sleeping too much or too little.
- Impaired ability to complete basic tasks at work or home.
- Ignoring personal hygiene.
- Having frequent mood swings.
- Keep using the drugs or alcohol despite mounting problems.
- They want to quit the substance abuse, but can’t.
- The substance abuse is causing problems in relationships.
- Having legal problems due to the addiction.
- They experience cravings.
- Experience withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop.
Don’t Wait for Your Loved One to Hit Bottom
You may encounter the adage that you cannot force someone to get help, and that they must first hit bottom. This is based on the belief that if someone is pushed into treatment before they are totally committed to sobriety, it will fail. In some ways, this idea does have merit, considering that they should want to help themselves.
However, the definition of “bottom” is vague. For some, their bottom is reached after a job loss or a divorce, losing everything they care about. Sadly, for others, the bottom is death. Waiting for a family member to hit their bottom may be too late, so pay attention to your gut instincts.
How to Approach Your Family Member About Rehab
If you haven’t yet attempted to approach your loved one, then you haven’t been rebuffed. Always try first to persuade them of their need for treatment, with the hope they will agree with you. It is always best if your family member decides to go to rehab of his or her own accord.
This requires a little planning ahead of time. Consider these helpful tips for approaching your loved one about the substance problem:
- Get informed first. Before you open up the conversation, you must do some research. This is the only way you can truly grasp how addiction impacts the brain and hijacks the will.
- Check with insurance. One of the barriers to going to rehab is its cost. To help ease their mind about the costs involved, first, check with the insurance carrier. They can provide the details about coverage and can help estimate any out of pocket costs.
- Be mindful of timing. Do not attempt to address the addiction while they are obviously under the influence. Wait for a quiet, calm moment where you can chat about it privately.
- Be compassionate. As much as the family member’s addiction is impacting you, refrain from being angry and judgmental. Instead, let them know that you are aware of how hard it has been for them, and offer your loving support.
- Show your support. There are ways to offer support that does not involve financial help. Assure the loved one that you are there for them, and will always be a trusted partner on their recovery journey.
Try an Intervention
You may run into resistance when trying to convince them to go in for treatment. This is the norm in most cases. It is very anxiety provoking for an addict to imagine life without the substance.
If your first attempt or two has not been received well, consider an intervention. An addiction specialist is trained to partner with the family and guide the intervention from start to finish. They will meet with you to discuss the family member’s substance use history and ask you to write a letter to them.
In the letter, which will be read aloud, you’ll share how their substance abuse has negatively affected your own life. You will give a few specific examples, and share the feelings evoked by their substance abuse. These emotions may include fear, anger, sorrow, dread, and stress, for instance.
At the designated time of the meetup with your family member, you will stand up and read your letters to them. The addiction specialist guides the meeting and knows how to handle any flare-ups that often occur. In the end, the family member will be asked if they will agree to get treatment. If they agree, wonderful! If not, just don’t give up on them. You have planted the seeds.
When Should You Send Your Family Member to Rehab?
There may come a day when you will have no choice but to send the family member to rehab against their will. Some of the reasons might include:
- They have had multiple arrests related to the substance use disorder.
- They have attempted suicide due to the substance use disorder.
- They have been in failing health caused by the substance use disorder.
- Their mental health has been adversely affected by the substance use disorder.
- They cannot sustain employment due to the substance use disorder.
- They cannot control or stop the substance use.
When learning how to send a family member to rehab, you find you must first you’re your case in court. The family must provide proof:
- That the person has been formally diagnosed with a substance use disorder.
- That the family member has attempted, threatened, or actually inflicted harm on themselves or others.
- That the addiction is so severe that the person is not able to handle their basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.
Of course, it is always best if a loved one will go willingly into treatment, but at least there are avenues to access if they refuse rehab.
Elevate Wellness Center
Elevate Wellness Center is a trusted provider of residential addiction treatment. If you need some guidance on how to send a family member to rehab, reach out to us at (855) 778-8668.