An Overwhelming SItuation
Anyone who’s witnessed a family member or friend suffer and succumb to addiction knows the immensity of the situation is often overwhelming and far greater than anyone can manage by themselves. But what makes people decide to seek treatment for their addiction – and what is the process like for the person in recovery?
Life As You Know It Changes In An Instant
It seems that life turns upside down the moment it’s discovered that addiction is ruining the life and health of a loved one. In that moment, feelings of confusion, discouragement and concern become so overwhelming that they’re difficult to bear. Yet, it’s clear that something must be done. But the problem is usually greater than the help any single person can offer. An individual whose life has been torn apart by drug or alcohol abuse may have event tried to quit on his or her own.
The process of obtaining help for one’s self or another individual is not one that needs to be taken care of alone. Compassionate, trained counselors and healthcare workers help users take the first step toward overcoming addiction every single day.
All hope is not lost for a family member or friend; this guide can help those fighting addiction in their own lives or the lives of others figure out what to do next to obtain the help needed to win the battle against alcohol and drug addiction.
Why Professional Treatment is Necessary
Similar to any other serious illness, addiction is a condition that requires medical attention and professional expertise.
Although some users try to quit drugs or alcohol on their own, the consequences of doing so can range from uncomfortable to deadly. Professional treatment for addiction addresses the illness effectively, thoroughly and safely.
Substance Abuse Changes Brain Chemistry
As experimentation with drugs or alcohol becomes a full-blown addiction, the pleasure center of the brain begins to associate good feelings with use of the substance.
Eventually, the body and brain need greater amounts of the substance taken more frequently to achieve anything near the same initial high.
Addiction Affects Physical Health
Besides the side effects caused by addiction, the individual’s health will become compromised with continued substance abuse.
Lack of appetite and sleep, insufficient self-care and the stress put upon the user’s heart, lungs and other organs puts him or her at great risk of physical conditions, disease and even death.
Mental Health is Impacted by Addiction
The ability to make sound decisions for one’s self depends greatly on the ability to think reasonably and problem solve effectively. Side effects such as the ones listed below are amongst many mental health side effects that can contribute toward a user’s continuing behavior.
Depending upon the substance being abused, mental illness can become a long-term health issue from prolonged drug or alcohol abuse.
Untreated Illnesses Eventually Become Worse
If the addiction progresses without appropriate treatment, the user’s physical and mental health will continue to deteriorate.
Healthcare professionals can provide effective solutions for mental and physical health issues so the individual can work toward regaining the best possible health.
Support is Vital to Successful Recovery
No matter how resolved an individual is to get help for themselves or a loved one, it‘s impossible for most people to overcome addiction without appropriate support.
People trained to address addiction and have the experience and expertise to do so compassionately are able to provide the support needed for recovery.
Approaching an Individual About Substance Abuse Treatment
If one of the most difficult situations faced is discovering that a family member or friend suffers from addiction, speaking to the individual about it is probably the second most difficult. Approaching the discussion from a point of love will result in gaining more ground then putting the user on the defensive with an accusatory tone of voice. These tips can help with the task of talking to someone about seeking help for his or her substance abuse.
Knowing When to Intervene
There’s no such thing as perfect timing when it comes to confronting someone about their addiction. But, because addiction becomes progressively worse, it’s best to intervene on a loved one’s behalf as soon as possible after the addiction is discovered. Allow time to calm down and collect thoughts so the user can be approached out of love and concern, rather than anger and fear.
What to Say to a Loved One
Words often fail when faced with a situation as disheartening as drug or alcohol addiction. Begin by letting the individual know about feelings of concern, while being honest enough to say that the addiction has been found out. Maintain a calm tone of voice regardless of the reaction, but be firm in the fact that help needs to be found.
Dealing With Denial
Denial is a common defense mechanism used by most people who’ve succumbed to drug or alcohol addiction.
The user doesn’t want to readily admit to substance abuse because the resulting feelings of shame and embarrassment are more than he or she can bear in addition to dealing with the effects of substance abuse and addiction.
It’s possible the individual may get angry, upset or refuse to go for help, but family members and friends can and should continue to discuss the issue with the user until help can be obtained.
Leave the Door to Communication Open
An individual in the throes of addiction is likely to refuse help time and again, as well as not wanting to talk about the problem.
Make it clear that the lines of communication are open, and be available to talk any time. If the first discussion about addiction and seeking help falls on deaf ears, try again. Even though it seems that the words aren’t being heard, they are planting seeds of thought that can lead the user to want help.
Making a Decision on Someone Else’s Behalf
Parents or loved ones of children or those who suffer from mental illness may find themselves having to make the difficult decision of admitting the user into a treatment facility even if he or she doesn’t want to go. As the advocate of a minor or person with health needs, parents have an obligation and a right to seek treatment on the user’s behalf.
Where to Turn When Help is Needed
Coping with addiction is so overwhelming that knowing when and where to turn for help can feel mind-boggling. Since time is of the essence when fighting addiction, it’s best to step right into the task of reaching out. Doing so combats vehement denial on the part of the user, as well as the desire to believe that a family member or friend is okay and doesn’t need help.
Obtaining Support and Guidance for One’s Self
As the family member of a substance abuser, a person must deal with an onslaught of emotion while trying to help an individual in need. To obtain treatment for the user, it’s vital that those concerned about him or her seek support for themselves too. As they start with their own support system, they can quickly make a plan for helping the user.
Resources That Can Help
Family members, friends, a counselor or clergy member make good starting points if a person finds himself or herself seeking treatment options on behalf of a loved one. The guidance obtained from another caring individual can steer the user and his or her family toward professional addiction treatment help.
Connecting With a Source of Help
Family guidance or professional counsel should point users and those who care about them toward a professional treatment facility. Ultimately, this is the place where the most thorough and individualized care can be received. There are many substance abuse rehabilitation centers across the country. Once a person knows what to look for in a treatment center, he or she can choose the facility that’s most appropriate.
What to do Next
A phone call or visit is all it takes to begin the process of obtaining help for one’s self or another person. Initially, the person needing treatment will meet with an intake counselor to discuss the addiction and how it’s affected the individual’s health and life.
The Journey to Sobriety Begins
The conversation between user and intake counselor may last only an hour, but it’s the first step of the journey that leads to sobriety. A great deal of bravery and courage goes into reaching this point, and that same courage will help the user and those around him or her get through the recovery process. Having the support of caring professionals in one’s corner makes it easier to muster up courage when an individual feels anything but brave.
What to Look for in a Treatment Facility
There are specific components that are essential to a successful treatment program. But within those components, there’s room to make slight changes to ensure the program fits the person involved in it. An effective treatment facility approaches each person as an individual with the intention of devising a program to meet their needs.
Advocating By Asking Questions
Even before an individual meets with the intake counselor, the person seeking help on his or her behalf can start asking questions when they speak with a counselor on the phone or in-person.
All-Encompassing Treatment Components
The right treatment facility will help the individual overcoming addiction become free from drugs, while also providing medical care, therapy and classes.
Healthcare providers and counselors involved in helping people overcome addiction understand that supporting the family members is equally important. Addiction ravages families and, in their own way, everyone suffers. A facility that offers family meetings and counseling helps set the course to recovery by facilitating a family’s ability to work together to overcome addiction.
Programming That Meets Individual Needs
While learning about the way the program operates and how it can help a loved one, it’s also wise to ask how the facility will meet the individual user’s needs. An effective, professional rehab center will have no problem talking about what they do to tailor services so they address the particular user’s issues.
An effective rehab center offers counseling and classes for those who’ve completed residential treatment. This essential component helps individuals strengthen the foundation of sobriety they’ve started in rehab by building on to the life skills and support acquired. Aftercare helps those in recovery learn how to avoid triggers and the temptation that leads to relapse.
How the Right Treatment Center Can Help
Addiction is a serious illness and it must be treated effectively in a closely monitored environment. The right treatment center enables the recovering user to work toward accountability, while providing a safety net. A complete program includes specific components tailored to meet the individual’s needs.
Residential care provides a recovering person with round-the-clock healthcare when it’s needed and enough supervision to ensure that the person in treatment can recover without temptation.
Those working at a treatment facility are trained to work with people suffering from addiction, so they have the insight needed to understand this challenging disease.
Before someone suffering from addiction can begin the recovery process, their body must be rid of the drug or alcohol that was being abused.
Detoxification happens in a safe, closely monitored environment where the user is kept as comfortable as possible while his or her body becomes free of the substance abused.
Individualized Physical and Mental Health Care
Addiction often goes hand-in-hand with physical or mental illness
Whether other health issues occur in conjunction with substance abuse or because of it, recovery from addiction depends on these issues being treated.
As the user receives appropriate treatment for health issues, he or she becomes better equipped to work toward sobriety.
Counseling and therapy are vital parts of an effective addictions treatment program.
An individual at a rehab facility will attend individual counseling sessions, group counseling with peers who are also overcoming addiction and family counseling.
Each type of counseling helps the recovering user address different parts of addiction and learn how to overcome them.
Life Skills Learning Opportunities
Workshops and classes help those in treatment learn how to deal with life’s stress in healthier ways. They can also provide practical teaching to help the individual handle day-to-day tasks in the most effective way. The life skills taught build upon one another, giving the person in recovery a set of tools to use once they finish treatment.
Taking the Next Step
Learning more about addiction treatment can reassure people that a treatment facility is the best and safest place for a user to receive treatment. After learning more, the next step involves taking action.
Make a Decision
All the discussion in the world won’t amount to anything if a decision isn’t made. It’s not easy to decide to go into rehab or bring a family member there. But deciding to get help is the most important thing a person can do for them self or someone else.
Take it One Step at a Time
Looking at the entire process of recovering from alcohol or drug addiction is very overwhelming. In fact, it’s likely to feel like something you can’t achieve. Rather than worrying about the big picture, it’s better to focus on each day as they come and getting through hour-by-hour or minute-by-minute.
Reach Out Daily
Each day is a new opportunity to gain support in the fight to live a sober life. Asking for help is difficult, but learning to do so sets the recovering user up for a better chance at sober living.
Apply What’s Been Learned
Every day brings opportunities to apply what’s been learned in counseling or classes. Although practice may not make perfect, it does make it easier to carry on what’s been learned once the individual returns home.
Support Doesn’t Mean Enabling
As a family member, it’s essential to learn the difference between supporting someone overcoming addiction and enabling the addiction. During family counseling sessions and meetings, loved ones and friends have an opportunity to learn how they can support an individual after treatment is completed without making it easy for them to return to substance abuse.
Looking to the Future
Obtaining proper treatment is the first step toward living a sober life. Being clean and sober requires daily application of all that was learned during the time in rehabilitation.
Even if the individual feels they’ve recovered, it’s important to complete the entire treatment program to build the strongest foundation possible for sober living.
Once back home and surrounded by normal life, the recovering user’s support system becomes a vital part of relapse prevention. Likewise, being mindful of triggers and eliminating them helps prevent or reduce temptation.
A Treatment Facility’s Role in Aftercare
A drug rehabilitation center with a full treatment program will also offer aftercare services. These may vary depending on the facility and a person’s needs, but often include counseling, therapeutic workshops and life skills classes. Some recovering users who complete in-patient care go on to an outpatient program as part of their aftercare plan.
Making Aftercare a Way of Life
Sobriety is a lifestyle, not a one-time fix that works forever. Being mindful of health, avoiding temptation and reducing stress are all a part of working the program to maintain sober living.
Start at the Beginning
Just as family members watch dreams die when a loved one succumbs to addiction, they can also be fearful of having hope for the future once the individual seeks treatment. Sobriety is a new chance for everyone involved. Wipe the slate clean and begin anew, while doing all that needs to be done to remain sober or support a loved one who’s recovered from addiction.
The Recovery Process Can Start Now
Healing from the damage and distress caused by addiction can begin now as the first step is taken toward seeking help.
Whether treatment is sought for one’s self or someone else, finding the right treatment facility provides the first building block toward a foundation that upholds sober living.
It’s a hard step to make, but one that can have a lasting impact on the user’s life.
Addiction carries pain and brokenness along with it for the user and his or her family. Seeking help is not an admittance of weakness or character flaw. Rather, it’s the smartest move once can make to help themselves or someone else working toward living the healthiest, happiest life possible.
Get Help Today
Allow this information to serve as a guide in making one of the most important steps possible toward overcoming addiction. The time invested in receiving personalized care and learning important life skills at the right treatment center can turn a life around and give hope where there was none.
Although seeking treatment at a rehabilitation center feels like the most difficult decision a person can face, it’s a bold, courageous step that denies addiction the right to rule over a person any longer, and making that step is the most loving thing a person can do for them self or a loved one.