How to Help Addicts

August 11th, 2010

Most people expect that if a person addicted to alcohol or other drugs does not want to enter rehab then the treatment programme will be a waste of time and money. THIS IS ENTIRELY UNTRUE. It has been proven again and again that most addicted people experience a high degree of ambivalence and conflict about whether they should try to give up their drinking and using and are forced into a rehab centre. Please understand that this has very little do with whether addiction treatment is successful.

This sort of external pressure from family, friends and loved ones, including employers or even the justice system can actually enhance treatment effectiveness. Be prepared to explore all options and avenues prior to approaching the addicted person about a way forward. Once the entire family is on board with what the best way forward is and the bed is booked at the rehab centre, and all else is arranged, only then can the ‘care-frontation’ go ahead.

Many people expect fireworks and much nastiness during an intervention but from the family’s perspective it’s crucial that all barbs and anger are removed from their well rehearsed ‘scripts’ and a clear, deliberate and precise path is laid before the addicted loved one. Following through with the course of action deemed most appropriate is crucial to the interventions success. Even in less formal interventions, it’s critical that the addicted person knows that the family has had enough and will adopt a path that ensures his participation in a treatment programme and ensure his ongoing recovery.

The family needs to be prepared to stay the course as the person addicted to alcohol or other drugs will no doubt test them and their new found resolve. Also be prepared to attend a family programme and counselling sessions at the addiction treatment centre. When we speak of supporting the addicted person, it can be misconstrued as not challenging them to change their behaviour and take responsibility for their illness, this is not the case. We believe it is paramount for the family to begin to find ways that they can place their addicted loved one in a position to more fully feel the consequencesof their addiction and to take responsibility for their active role in recovery.

We help families to discontinue their enabling behaviour and adopt a stance in relation to the addicted person that can help get them into some form of addiction treatment centre. It is sometimes important for family, friends or employers to intervene in an attempt to stop the associated chaos of active addiction. This is a delicate issue and it must be done carefully with a properly thought out plan of action in place.

It is best to already have all the necessary information at hand and to seek professional advice to plan and prepare for a proper intervention. Researching which available alcohol and other addiction rehab centre would best suit the individual, what it will cost, whether a bed is available and what other screening criteria would need to be met prior to admission is crucial before confronting the addict.

Helping Addicts to Enter Rehab Centre’s

Statistics tell us that very few people who need rehabilitation actually receive it. This is due to various reasons; costs involved, the stigma attached to substance abuse and addiction, as well as insufficient rehab centre’s being available. However, the challenge remains and a multi faceted approach seems best. The way that the community, the justice system and the medical profession interact and work together could be improved to more comprehensively support those seeking help and do all in their power to aid them into an appropriate addiction treatment centre. Addiction is problem which has huge ripple effects in the community as the consequences of substance abuse cause so much difficulty for so many parties.

Although the addict is suffering, their habit unfortunately negatively affects their family, friends, work colleagues and very often the community at large, particularly if crime is involved. Therefore it is in the best interests for everyone to find the most efficient way to support and help the addict towards an acceptance of their condition, a recognised disease.

Helping Addicts to Remain in Rehab Programs

Remaining in rehab for the duration of the program is essential for the successful recovery of the addict, so it is imperative for friends and family to be supportive and encouraging in this regard. When support and encouragement fail, using other forms of leverage and pressure to ensure programme completion may be appropriate. Keeping closely abreast of treatment developments and progress through your addicted loved one’s focal counsellor will be important. Staying in touch with the addict and the clinical team through the addictions counsellor and coming for visits, only where and when allowed, will show the patient that they are being supported and that you take the addictions treatment process seriously.

By behaving in a certain way as a family you can send effective messages to the addicted patient that you’re serious about their recovery and will partake in appropriate ways to assist them. Friends and family can motivate the individual to remain in treatment by participating in family therapy programs with them. A rehabilitation program that is developed with a personalised treatment plan for the addict usually works the best. The addict and his family consult with the staff of the rehab centre and together they come up with something feasible including psychiatric, therapeutic, medical and social services.

The patient must have a clear understanding of what the addiction treatment centre expects from him. Most quality addiction treatment centre’s have a behavioural contract that newly admitted patients are required to sign and agree to adhere to. Expecting a person addicted to alcohol or other drugs to change their mindset and a lifetime’s worth of destructive habits overnight is unrealistic however by adhering to certain group norms the addicted patients find that peer support and group structure is of immense benefit to their new way of life.

Once the addict or alcoholic has gone through a rehabilitation programme he needs to be encouraged to continue with the available aftercare. Again, the support of family and friends will go a long way to ensuring the prevention of relapse through maintenance of support, or pressure, to continue the addiction recovery process. Should relapse occur, which can be quite common for patients who don’t follow the outlined treatment plan, don’t give up on the addict or the recovery process, but support readjustments to and re-engagement in treatment.

Helping Addicts in the Workplace

In an ideal situation the workplace could provide Employee Assistance Programs which offer counselling services and promote substance free lifestyles. This, in turn, would increase productivity in the company. Sometimes, a little pressure from the employer can influence an addict to seek help.

Helping Addicts in the Justice System

According to research, addicts in prison who participate in rehab treatment during and after prison, have a huge impact on their future drug use and criminal behaviour. Prison rehabilitation programs are well worth looking at. Not only does the addict benefit, but society as a whole is better off for it. The public perception is that unless an addict chooses rehab voluntarily, it will be a failure. However, it has been proved that individuals who enter rehabilitation under legal pressure have as much success as those who enter voluntarily.

Attempting to find appropriate rehabilitation for family, colleagues or friends is daunting and may be a difficult process. Family members, friends and employers seeking advice are welcome to contact WeDoRecover.com for guidance.

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