How can families and friends help someone needing treatment?


How can family and friends help someone needing treatment?

How can family and friends help someone needing treatment?

Family and friends can play a big role to motivate individuals with drug/alcohol problems when entering treatment and staying in the program. Family therapy is also important, especially for adults. Family members or significant others should make sure they are involved in an individual’s treatment program. It can make their stay more successful.

In the past, families and friends of the addict were told that the addict needed to make the decision of getting help on their own. Families felt like their hands were tied, not being able to do anything for the person that they loved and cared about so much and would pray that the addict didn’t hit rock bottom before it was too late.

In more recent years, having an intervention has proven to be very beneficial. Therapy has proven to help with issues such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse problems no matter their age as long as the addict is willing to give it a chance. Some people are hesitant about therapy. If someone you know is in need of therapy but refuses to get psychiatric help, there are ways to approach this without causing them to feel ashamed or embarrassed. Knowing how to approach this the right way is very important when trying to get the addict the help they so desperately need.

Convincing someone they need therapy

What’s the best way to let others know that they need counseling?

Forcing someone to go to treatment isn’t going to work out in your favor. First, approach the person with your concern in a calm matter. It may seem like they aren’t listening, but they may keep it in mind and think about it later.

Always have a positive attitude, and never blame them. Choose wisely when approaching the idea of them going to therapy. Never bring it up in a heated moment or during an argument.

Lead by example, which means by walking your talk. Always try and be a person that others want to follow. If you’ve had a positive experience with treatment, use that as an example and let your loved ones know how it has helped you and how you benefited from it. This can minimize the shame that they feel about their struggle with addiction.

Be patient because it takes time. It will probably take several conversations before the idea clicks in their head and they consider going to treatment. Again, be patient and let them know that you are willing to talk to them about this in the future.

You should consider to seek treatment for yourself as it can be stressful to care for friends and family members with mental illnesses like addiction. Counseling will help teach you skills about managing your emotions and how to react to the difficulties of loved ones.

One of the most frustrating situations is living with an individual that needs psychiatric help and they refuse to get the help needed. In many situations, being the parent or spouse, we hate seeing our loved one suffering and in pain, and we desperately want to help but just feel hopeless.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy solution on how to get someone help for mental health if they don’t want it. And there’s definitely no quick solution. This happens when family members attempt to solve the problem, and it fails. They try to do a quick fix by telling their loved one what to do or giving them an ultimatum.

Here are some ideas of understanding your loved one better, improving your relationship, and removing the obstacles to seeking help.

#1 Are you feeling sad, angry or just not yourself?

Sadness you can’t control, anger or having a low spirit could be signs of a mental health disorder. This can be helped and improved with treatment. If you realize that you’re eating or sleeping more or less than usual, distancing yourself from loved ones, or not feeling like your normal self, talk to someone before these feelings worsen and have a major impact on your’ life. If these feelings begin to escalate to the point where you think that life isn’t worth living anymore or have thoughts of death or suicide, seek help immediately.

#2 Abusing drugs, alcohol, food or sex to cope with the issues

When you turn to a substance to help you behave and feel better about yourself or situation, this isn’t normal and you need help. If you have an intense urge to do something or have an addiction that involves compulsion to an addictive substance, such as alcohol or heroin, or an addictive behavior like gambling or sex and unable to control these behaviors, or you can’t stop regar negative consequences in your life, you may be struggling with addictive or compulsive behavior that requires treatment.

#3 You’ve lost someone or something important to you.

Grief can be a long and difficult process to endure without the support of an expert. While not everyone needs counseling during these times, there is no shame in needing a little help to get through the loss of a loved one, a divorce or significant breakup, or the loss of a job, especially if you’ve experienced multiple losses in a short period of time.

#4 Something traumatic has happened.

If you have a history of abuse, neglect or other trauma that you haven’t fully dealt with, or if you find yourself the victim of a crime or accident, chronic illness or some other traumatic event, the earlier you talk to someone, the faster you can learn healthy ways to cope.

#5 You can’t do the things you like to do.

Have you stopped doing the activities you ordinarily enjoy? If so, why? Many people find that painful emotions and experiences keep them from getting out, having fun and meeting new people. This is a red flag that something is amiss in your life.

If you decide that therapy is worth a try, it doesn’t mean you’re in for a lifetime of “head shrinking.” In fact, a 2001 study in the Journal of Counseling Psychology found that most people feel better within seven to 10 visits. In another study, published in 2006 in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 88 percent of therapy-goers reported improvements after just one session.

Although severe mental illnesses like addiction may require a more intensive intervention, most people benefit from short-term, goal-oriented therapy to address a specific issue or interpersonal conflict, get out of a rut or make a major life decision. The opportunity to talk uncensored to a nonbiased professional without fear of judgment or repercussions can be life-changing.

You may have great insight into your own patterns and problems. You may even have many of the skills to manage them on your own. Still, there may be times when you need help – and the sooner you get it, the faster you can get back to enjoying life

Signs you need to seek therapy

Why do family members resist your help?

Frequently, I have found when providing therapy, my clients have already been told by their family members the very things they learn from me. So why are they able to listen to me and not to their family? Most of the time people believe the reason is due to privacy concerns—a person doesn’t want to share problems with a family member who might be involved. Usually, however, the reason a person can listen to a therapist is related to several issues: emotional involvement, approach, and understanding mental illness. The concern about privacy is more likely due to these other factors.

1) Emotional involvement.

The closer a person is to a situation, the more desperate they become to change the situation. Many family members see mental illness as life-threatening, sometimes literally due to the possibility of suicide, drug overdose, or living in a dangerous situation. For some, though, the threat may not be as literal but may be the fear of their family member not being able to support themselves or live a satisfying life.

When a person is desperate, they become more demanding: “You can’t keep living this way. You’ve got to get some help!” When heard by the person with mental illness, such statements of desperation sound like condemnations and blame: “You’re choosing to live this way” or “You’re not capable of managing your life.”

As a therapist, I don’t act out of emotional involvement or desperation so I am able to listen to my client, their needs and desires, and gently guide them without putting demands on them. In such a way, therapists are able to bypass resistance. In fact, what I more frequently need to do is help them stop placing demands on themselves. When they have been surrounded by the demands of others they tend to incorporate those demands into their own thinking. And demands are incompatible with change because they create additional stress.

2) Approach.

Since family members of those with mental illness often feel an internal demand to make life better for their loved one they feel a pressure to change things more quickly. In response to that pressure, they take the most direct route to change—tell someone what they are doing wrong and how to transform. As a result the pressure is transferred to the loved one in their desperation. “You need to relax!” may be an accurate statement but the delivery is an unhelpful demand. Not only is it a demand but it does not give the person information on how to accomplish the task of relaxing. Certainly, if problems were as easy to solve as telling someone what to do, we should all be thin, stress-free, financially stable, and in satisfying relationships.

However, approach not only matters but may be the most important part of being heard. So, as a therapist, instead of immediately telling someone what to do, I start with helping them understand what they are experiencing and why making further demands won’t help.

Then, I might make suggestions “Why don’t we try some things and see what helps?” and will practice the methods with my client until I’m sure they understand. For instance, I teach them the relaxation methods during the session to see how they respond so that we can find the methods that work best for them. Or, we take a situation and write it down using the cognitive diary method and teach them how to examine their thinking.

3) Understanding mental illness.

From the outside, when a person doesn’t understand mental illness it seems that recovery is a matter of taking some simple steps. “If only you do this..!” Without understanding the challenges faced, they often provide simplified strategies that don’t work, and instead, cause their loved one to feel more like a failure.

I have made the same mistake inadvertently. Even though I try to convey the information to my clients that any progress is good, if I say “Try doing this one minute exercise 10 times a day” and they are unable to do it, they will feel like a failure. Even though something might seem simple to you, it may not be for someone with mental illness. So instead I say,”Try this exercise for no more than a minute or so as many times as you are able to during the day but no more than 10.” That way the message limits them from doing too much rather than too little.

What Is an Intervention?

An intervention is a process by which family and friends deliberately confront individuals struggling with addiction about the damage their addiction is doing to both them and the people they love. With the help of a professional interventionist, individuals may begin to see what their addiction is costing them – in terms of relationships, finances, and personal health.

Interventions serve to introduce “rock bottom” to the addict, rather than waiting around and risking serious injury or death as a result of addiction. Interventions help your family take back some control. They confront individuals with the dangers of addiction while also offering solutions to get out of their addiction.

Successful Intervention May Lead to Treatment

If successful, the intervention could prompt your family member to immediately enter a detox facility – followed by a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. In the event of such a successful outcome, it is important to have already done the research to find a facility that is ready to accept your loved one into treatment immediately.

However your family’s involvement in the drug treatment process does not end once your loved one has agreed to seek treatment.


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