Get Help for Yourself

Confidential Addiction Treatment

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Get Help for a Loved One

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What can I do?

It’s been said that addicted people can’t truly get well until they accept the nature of their disease and choose to accept help. People who utter this statement may believe that addicted people are engaged in a solo battle against their own destructive urges, and that no amount of outside help would be of any benefit at all. This sort of statement can make a family feel helpless, but thankfully, it also isn’t altogether true. While experts agree that an addicted person has a significant amount of individual work to do in order to heal, there is a lot that a family can do in order to ensure that the treatment takes hold and brings about real changes. Their work may begin long before the addicted person sees the need for care, and it may continue for the rest of the person’s life.

Improving Insight

Families might easily describe an addiction’s impact on a beloved family member. The person who is addicted, however, may have very little insight into the nature of addiction. Some of that dysfunction comes from the damaging nature of common substances of abuse. For example, in a study in the journal Brain, researchers found that people addicted to cocaine selected more pictures of cocaine in a test, and had lower levels of insight about those choices, when compared to people who didn’t use the drug. Its chemistry seemed to make the brain function at a sub-optimal level, blocking the ability of the people to see their actions clearly, and make good decisions as a result. It’s a common finding among people who abuse drugs, and families who live with someone like this may be all too familiar with the symptoms of denial this lack of insight can cause.

While they think the addiction is serious, the addicted person may insist that:

    • The family is exaggerating.
    • The drug use is completely under control.
    • The person can stop the drug use at any time.
    • The drug use is private, and of no concern to anyone else.

Breaking through this denial is difficult, but an intervention can help. Here, a qualified mental health professional leads a discussion in which each family member has the opportunity to outline how the addiction has changed the person, and the group asks the addicted person to get help. It can be a difficult talk, but it can also be vital for the person in need. If the person needs help but refuses to get that help, an intervention may be the perfect way to turn the tide and allow the healing to begin.

Entering a treatment program is a big decision for a person with an addiction, and someone like this might be overwhelmed by the number of choices available. For example, the person might learn from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that about 90 percent of people who get addiction care do so in an outpatient setting, but the person might feel as though outpatient care isn’t quite rigorous enough to really help with the issue at hand. While people who have addictions should have a say in the selection process, they just might not be up to the task of finding facilities and making good choices about their futures. Families can help by researching facilities in advance, and asking good questions about the type of care provided in each facility. Pulling together a list of suitable choices, and explaining why each facility might be good for the person in need, can reduce the amount of decisions the addicted person needs to make, and that might reduce the stress the person feels.

Smooth the Path

While most facilities provide admissions help for people in need, there are a variety of details that simply must be attended to before treatment can begin, including:

    • Transportation to the facility
    • Payment for care
    • Insurance authorization
    • Care for dependent children during the treatment process
    • Care for pets and household affairs during treatment

These niggling details can keep addicted people out of treatment programs that could help, as they might seem like insurmountable obstacles that just can’t be handled in a timely manner. Families can help by ensuring that all of these issues are attended to before treatment begins. They might work with facilities and the insurance company, for example, or families might pull together detailed plans regarding care for the addicted person’s children and pets. With each planning step handled, there’s one less reason for the addicted person to stay away from treatment. Families that make treatment seem inevitable and easy to integrate with the addicted person’s life may make treatment just a little more likely.