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Tips for Helping a Loved One into Addiction Treatment

By Scott Kiloby

Some of the most challenging times in our lives can be helping a loved one get help for drug or alcohol addiction. There can be many hurdles before they get help, including their reluctance or refusal to go, and finding the center most appropriate for your loved one. Here are a few tips to help you help them:

  1. Encourage them not to quit alone or “cold turkey.”  Not only is stopping cold turkey very difficult, it can have serious health effects ranging from mild discomfort to seizure or death, depending on the substance the person is ingesting and his or her history of abuse. Sometimes medical or other detox is necessary. It’s also important that your loved one goes straight to a recovery center right after detox. Many people relapse because they gain a false confidence after leaving a detox unit.
  2. Do your research. Choose a treatment center that has an approach that will resonate with your loved one. Also, don’t just show up at a treatment center expecting admittance without first contacting them.
  3. Pay attention to how staff members from a center treat you when you call them. If you call a center and the staff does not speak to you about a plan, find another center. If staff members treat you rudely, dismiss your questions, or fail to call you back within a reasonable time, they may not be able to provide the services and attention your loved one needs.
  4. If your loved one is suffering from trauma, anxiety or depression along with addiction, make sure you find a substance abuse center which deals with co-occurring disorders. Treatment of addiction alone is not enough in cases where there are other issues underlying and fueling the addictive behaviors.
  5. If the loved one is not willing or ready to enter treatment, seek help for yourself through a group support program or treatment facility. Family members often experience serious mental and emotional issues around an addict who will not seek help.
  6. Encourage the loved one to be honest during any initial assessments. Let them know about every drug or chemical that has been ingested within the last two weeks and the amounts including the last time they used. Be sure the treatment facility knows about any suicidal tendencies.
  7. Sometimes an intervention is necessary when a friend or family member will not willingly enter treatment. An intervention is a process by which a trained professional meets with the family and creates a plan to intervene in the addict’s life and “raise the bottom” for the addict. Make sure you find a trained interventionist who will communicate with the detox unit and the recovery center and create a long term plan.

Scott Kiloby is a noted author, international speaker and the director of the Kiloby Center for Recovery, Inc. in Rancho Mirage, the first addiction, anxiety and depression treatment center in U.S. to focus primarily on mindfulness. (442) 666.8526.

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