man hugging loved one suffering from addiction

How Do I Find Help for a Loved One Struggling with Addiction?

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

It is easy to get overwhelmed when you are trying to help a loved one struggling with addiction. Trying to find the right drug and alcohol treatment center can take days if not weeks to set up. It’s very important to be prepared for what is ahead of you during this process. Being prepared can make all the difference in whether your loved one will agree to get help or if they will continue to live the dangerous and poisonous life they are currently living. Finding help for a loved one is a stressful process, no matter how prepared you are, but the more ammunition you have on your side the better you chances are to get your loved one to agree to get the help they need.

The first thing you want to do is to find out what options there are available for your loved one. There’re a few things to ask yourself when figuring this out; what is my loved one using? How long have they been using for? Is there any history of treatment in the past? Are there any mental health issues involved on top of the alcohol or substance abuse issues? Once you have an answer for each of those questions you need to start looking into the different treatment options that will suit your loved one’s specific needs.

If you are in the process of finding drug and alcohol treatment for a loved one, but your loved one just recently began to struggle with addiction or alcoholism, then inpatient treatment may not be their best option. Outpatient treatment will allow your loved one to meet with a small group of other addicts/alcoholics and a therapist. They will meet, on average, 2-4 days a week for 3 months. In these groups, they will go over common goals, relapse prevention techniques, how to deal with triggers and various other objectives. If your loved one has been struggling for over a month with addiction or alcoholism than inpatient treatment is what they need.

What Type of Center to Look For

If your loved one has a history of anxiety, depression, PTSD or something similar, you need to make sure that you are looking for a “dual diagnosis” center. Almost half of all addicts and alcoholics struggle with mental health issues on top of their addictions. A dual diagnosis center will treat both the addiction/alcoholism as well as the underlying mental health issues. If those issues are left untreated the chances of a relapse are much higher.

Privately owned rehab facilities can get quite expensive  if you are not financially able to privately pay for a center there are still many options available. Thankfully most private insurance companies are willing to pay for your loved one’s stay in a program. If there is no private health insurance and no finances available there are state funded programs that your loved one will be able to enter free of cost. Most of the time all of these programs will have some type of waiting list, so it is important to get in contact with them prior to doing an intervention.

If you are struggling to figure this out what will be best reach out to an addiction professional, a recovering addict/alcoholic or a local hospital and ask what their opinion is in the situation. With some substances like opiates, alcohol and benzodiazepines a detox will be required prior to admitting into a rehab center.

How do I approach my loved one?

people who love eachother

If this is your first time approaching them simply state your concerns about what is going on and ask if they agree with you. You don’t want to come out too hard, by raising your voice and displaying anger your loved one will immediately become defensive. If they do not agree then explain to them why you feel that way and ask if they will be willing to get help. If you have already expressed your concerns to your loved one multiple times and they refuse to get help than your best route may be to do an intervention.

Hiring an interventionist is always an option but it can cost a pretty penny. If you are comfortable approaching your loved one without a trained professional than an intervention can be the final step in finding drug and alcohol treatment for loved ones. An intervention should have no more than 8 people and should be done in a comfortable and safe area for your loved one.You want to get together a group of close family members and friends to sit down and express their concerns. It is very easy to get overwhelmed by emotion is such a trying time so make sure to write down your thoughts. The main points you want to cover are:

  • What your loved one is doing
  • How it is affecting them
  • How their actions are affecting you
  • What you are willing to do to help them save their lives
  • What will happen if they refuse to get help

The most important part of this list are the final two points. Let your loved one know that you are all there to help them through this tough time and that you even went to the extent to line up a rehab program for them. If they refuse to get the help you need to stand your ground and let them know that you will no longer be there to help them or support them in any way unless it involves getting them into a center. Tough love is very important here. By helping them out financially or by providing a roof for them to live under you are only enabling them to continue to use. You can literally love someone to death! Once again stay calm! When going over your list you don’t want to start shouting, a soft clear voice carries a much more powerful punch than a series of distorted shouts.

How to Get Help

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction and would like to learn more about our program, call First Steps Recovery today at 1-844-BIG-STEP (1-844-489-0836). A healthier and more fulfilling life is only a phone call away.

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