Addiction is a complex and often chronic disease that can distort thinking, behavior, and bodily functions through compulsive alcohol or drug use. For an addicted individual, obtaining the substance they need becomes their only priority, regardless of the harm their actions cause themselves or others.
No matter who you are, you’re not protected from the effects of addiction. Addiction is so prevalent that nearly 50% of all Americans say they have a family member or close friend with a current or past drug addiction.
Though about 10% of Americans age 12 and over are addicted to alcohol and drugs, only 11% of those living with addiction get the treatment they need.
Addiction is a highly treatable issue when affected individuals have access to the right treatment and the ongoing support of family and friends. If you’re dealing with a loved one who is addicted to alcohol or drugs, substance abuse specialist Poonam Malhotra, MD, at Central Clinic in Spring Hill, Florida, can help.
From guiding successful intervention to supporting your loved one through addiction treatment, Dr. Malhotra can provide the professional guidance necessary to help individuals overcome addiction.
Convincing your loved one to get addiction treatment starts with the right approach. Consider these strategies that can help your loved one recognize that they need help.
Pick the right time
While seeing your loved one risk their lives with substance abuse can trigger an emotional reaction, it’s important to address your concerns calmly and compassionately. Choosing the right time and place to have this highly personal and emotional conversation can determine whether your loved one acknowledges your concerns.
Approaching the subject when one or both of you are tired, stressed, or frustrated can leave you at a disadvantage. Trying to speak with an individual who is high, inebriated, or in withdrawal can also increase the odds that they won’t be able to acknowledge what you’re trying to say.
Your initial conversation with your loved one should occur at a time and place when the two of you can speak frankly and privately. Work to establish an environment in which your loved one feels respected and in control.
While a family or group intervention may seem more effective, having several people present may make your loved one feel defensive and incapable of listening objectively.
Convey support and empathy
While addiction is a widespread disease, initiating the subject can be a sensitive topic that makes your loved one feel ashamed or fearful that others will view them differently. Concentrate on conveying empathy, not judgment, through your words, tone, and actions.
Keep the focus on your concern for your loved one by using “I” statements whenever possible. Avoid “you” statements that can put your loved one on the defensive no matter what words you use.
Saying, “I care about you, and I want you to get help,” is a consistent, positive message that conveys unconditional support. Avoid any type of statements that could be misinterpreted as blame or disappointment.
Demonstrate through words and actions that you want to help your loved one get the help they need. While they may agree to seek addiction treatment, your loved one may feel overwhelmed by the prospect of finding the right program. Facilitate their treatment by offering to conduct research, make phone calls, and accompany them to their first appointment.
Prepare for resistance
Even if your timing is excellent and you strive to convey total support, your loved one may be reluctant to the suggestion that they need addiction treatment.
Prepare for resistance by planning how you will respond if your loved one doesn’t agree with your suggestions. In many cases, you can shift their perspective by using positivity to help them see their problem and themselves differently.
Help your loved one recognize all they have to offer and how they change when they’re affected by symptoms of addiction. By celebrating their unique gifts and qualities, you can help break down walls and make them feel more motivated to get the help they need.
While these strategies can lead to a productive experience that results in your loved one seeking addiction treatment, initiating the subject of addiction can cause a range of emotions. If your loved one displays anger or rage that could threaten your well-being, discontinue the conversation until another time.
Don’t get discouraged if your loved one isn’t initially receptive to your suggestions. It’s not uncommon for individuals to have several open and supportive conversations with someone they trust before seeking addiction treatment. In the meantime, work to gently keep the subject on the table.
Whether your loved one is ready, resistant, or on the fence about addiction treatment, the professional team at Central Clinic can help. Call our office or use the easy online tool to schedule a consultation today.