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How to Get a Loved One Into Treatment

Sometimes, people will see a loved one struggling with substance addiction and identify the need for outside help before the individual does. It is very noble to want to help a loved one who is struggling with addiction; however, one must be careful about how to approach this situation, as a cautious and considered approach is most likely to breed success and sobriety in the long-term. Learn where to start when you want to get a loved one into treatment and how you can maximize the chances that they commit to treatment and get the help they need.

1. Determine if the individual is willing to accept treatment.

Perhaps the most important thing one can do when approaching getting a loved one treatment is the willingness of the individual to commit to treatment. Often, addicts either do not recognize that they have a problem or fear the changes and responsibilities that come along with getting sober. If you know they want to get clean and sober, great – proceed to step 2. Otherwise, you have some options in terms of getting the person into the right state of mind to accept treatment.

a. Discuss with the individual directly.

If you have a good rapport with the individual, you can try to talk to them directly about treatment and attempt to convince them that it is the best decision for them. It is most important for you to discover their key points of resistance to treatment so you may attempt to provide a counter-argument or solutions for the issues they raise. Common objections to treatment include fear of withdrawals, lack of preparedness, and a lack of desire to change. Understanding why they do not want to go to treatment is just as important as understanding the reasons they should go to treatment. Be careful in how you approach this conversation, however; failing to give true, genuine concern to their objections and desires or valuing your own over theirs are sure-fire ways to ensure your message falls on deaf ears.

b. Determine if an intervention is appropriate.

If you’re not comfortable handling the conversation on your own, or the individual is unusually stubborn or unpredictable, it may be best to seek outside help and bring an interventionist into the picture. Interventionists are trained to compassionately present the case for treatment to the individual with the help of family and loved ones. Often, this approach is more successful because the interventionist can use the emotion of the moment in a productive way, while individuals can sometimes struggle to harness it and control the conversation. Some treatment centers maintain interventionists on staff and can help you with this step if it is needed.

2. Determine financial options.

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve successfully convinced your loved one that going to treatment is right for them. Your next step is to look at your insurance and finances and determine what makes the most sense to you. The better your insurance policy, the more treatment options you’ll have available to you, so if you have a PPO or high-end HMO policy, you’ll likely want to utilize this to cover treatment. Cash is king, of course, and all treatment centers will take it, but this route is often more expensive, depending on the totality of the family’s finances. If you have insurance, it’s generally best to use it and supplement it with cash if need be.

If financial resources are not available – no insurance, no cash on hand – that does not mean you cannot get into treatment. State and local governments often provide publicly-funded treatment options, and the programs are usually similarly effective compared to private treatment. The easiest way to find state-funded treatment options in your area is to use SAMHSA’s Treatment Locator. This tool will help you find programs in your area and offer you contact information for admissions so you can determine what you need to do to get into their program.

3. Determine whether detox will be needed.

Depending on the individual’s drug of choice and the severity of their addiction, they may need to go to a detox program before beginning residential treatment. In particular, abusers of alcohol and benzodiazepines will almost always need detox services before they can admit into treatment, as withdrawals from those drugs carry significant medical risk. While opioid detox is not as medically risky, it is just as unpleasant, so those individuals may choose to do a residential detox prior to treatment, as well.

4. Start researching treatment programs.

Finding the right treatment program for your loved one can be a challenging process. There are myriad options for treatment, and it is challenging to see the differences between them when they are all presented at once. Take your time and speak with individual programs about their program, as well as talking with your loved one about their preferences for treatment. Topics you should cover include treatment philosophy, facility amenities and financial/insurance arrangements. Consider expanding your search beyond your local area, as well – many interventionists and treatment professionals recommend going to treatment away from home to help break the routines and habits of life as an addict. It’s a lot harder to go back to your old life as an addict when you are physically distant!

5. Pack your bags!

Once you’ve selected a facility and arranged for travel (if necessary), it’s time to get ready to go to treatment. They will need seven days of clean clothes, as residential treatment can last for up to 90 days in severe or complex cases. If they’re a smoker, make sure they bring cigarettes with them, as many facilities either don’t provide them or will charge for them. Be sure to confirm whether the center allows personal electronic devices or not; leave ones that do not conform with their policy at home where they are safe. Once they are ready to go, help them stay in a positive mental space before they leave – continue to encourage them and talk about how treatment will make their life better.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, Inland Detox can help. Call us at (888) 739-8296 for immediate assistance.