How to approach a family member about substance abuse

May 2, 2014

Drug rehab programs are life-changing events that should not be undergone lightly, yet if the person with a history of substance abuse is committed to succeeding, then they can also be the best decision of that person’s life. With the help of professional counselors, therapists and medical advisors, those in need of assistance will get it everywhere they turn.

However, there are large obstacles for someone entrenched in a life of heavy drug abuse. Behavioral patterns of self-delusion and denial may also be evident in someone who has been resistant to agreeing to treatment in the past. However, initial resistance may not be much of a roadblock for family members who are truly involved in getting their loved ones the treatment they need. With enough recommendations and support from qualified experts, any family member should feel prepared to approach someone about getting help for drug abuse.

Prepare by getting in the right frame of mind

After a habit of substance abuse has been determined in a loved one or relative, many people wonder how to approach the next step. In fact, before even wondering about going to the person in question with concerns over his or her behaviors, the Mayo Clinic recommended taking some time to codify exactly what is going through someone’s head as he or she prepares for an intervention.

It may feel natural for family members to experience emotions of frustration and anger, but these are unlikely to prove useful as they move forward with questioning their loved one. Loved ones may be used to their rules being ignored and may not feel like they have much power when it comes to issues of this magnitude.

However, there is no reason why family members cannot gather their thoughts into a coherent collection. The Mayo Clinic recommended making a list or letter of thoughts so that there is something to rely on during the tense moment.

Come from a place of help

Of all the emotions to underscore during an intervention, one of support can be the most beneficial during the recovery process. Family members who show support do not always pretend that they have all the answers, but they can show the person with a habit of drug abuse that there is always someone to turn to.

According to the Coalition Against Drug Abuse, hostile actions on the part of the person struggling with drug use are fairly common during interventions. More hostile emotions from family members would do nothing to calm the situation, so words of support and encouragement are often valuable.

As always, anybody considering an intervention may want to seek aid from a qualified professional therapist.

Treatment for the whole family

After the person in question has accepted treatment, many people may think that the family returns to life as usual. However, some treatment modalities include everyone in the family in further group therapy sessions. These meetings are focused on illuminating the overall toll that addiction has taken on families, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Some of these effects may not be on the surface, which is why therapy can be so effective in identifying them. Loved ones in therapy may be even more resistant to admitting that they have enabled the former drug user at some point. When the person completes a drug treatment program, family members like these may inadvertently cause that individual to return to drug-related behaviors.

Therapy does not end with the individual just as recovery does not end with a treatment program. Any family member who is concerned with his or her ability to get someone help can get assistance from professionals at addiction treatment centers.

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