Do you need assistance in helping a person you love seek treatment for substance problems? Here are 10 tips for helping your loved one seek treatment for substance use problems, This information is based on an article published in the Huffington Post by Michael Ascher, M.D. and by Jeff Foote, Ph.D.
When an individual is in the throes of struggling with substance problems, chaos becomes a regular part of life for both the individual (also known clinically as the identified patient, or “IP”), and his or her family… we feel incredibly lucky and privileged as clinicians to work with these inspiring and resilient families because individuals and families can and do change!
…Reality television shows often portray dramatic and provocative “interventions” that claim to result in radical change. Unfortunately, these types of approaches rarely work…
In this post, we provide 10 tips that may increase the likelihood of getting your loved one to engage in treatment (or change of any sort!) while keeping you as healthy as possible.
Tips that you can do to help your loved one seek treatment for substance use problems
- Your own self-care is essential.
- Establish your own personal limits.
- Avoid terms that carry stigma such as “addict,” “enabler” and “co-dependent.”
- Learn to communicate in a nonjudgmental way. Explain to the IP that this struggle is different for everyone, and that there are any number of paths to change that could be helpful.
- Recognize strengths of the IP. Validate their experience. Acknowledge that their substance use behaviors do not define who they are as a person.
- Make a commitment to addressing your own issues (seeking your own treatment) with the IP. Own your piece of the struggle.
- Empathize with the dilemma of ambivalence that the IP faces.
- Respond effectively to this ambivalence and subsequent reluctance to change from the IP. Understand their point of view. Stay away from threats. Invitation works better.
- Seek outside consultation from a clinician you trust. Learning how to communicate with the IP in the most optimal way takes time. Learn to control the way you deliver a message.
- Suggest the first visit to a mental health provider be simply “an initial consult to find out what treatment options exist.” The focus of the consult could be managing stress and anxiety and not necessarily addiction per se.
To read the full article by Dr. Michael Ascher and by Dr. Jeff Foote in The Huffington Post, click here.
Must Read Books for Loved Ones
- Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change
- Get Your Loved One Sober: Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading and Threatening