If your loved one is struggling with substance abuse, detox and rehab may be the best choice for them. Rehab, which often includes detox, behavioral therapy, counseling, and building life skills, is the best and most proven way to help someone overcome an addiction and get their life back. Yet, many of us simply don’t go. In 2019-2020, 18.5 million Americans were addicted to drugs or alcohol, yet only 4.2 million ever sought out treatment. That lack of proper medical care has devastating effects on people’s health, mental wellbeing, and long-term qualify of life. Ongoing addictions harm the body and the brain, cause nutrient deficiencies, and worsen mental health problems. The faster you get treatment and move into recovery, the less likely those issues are to be long-term or life-long.
Unfortunately, getting your loved one to go to rehab isn’t always as simple as booking a ticket and getting them there. People don’t like to admit they have problems. Your loved one may deny they have an addiction, they might refuse to go to rehab, and you might face other issues like confidentiality, time off work, or childcare. This article covers how to send your loved one to rehab in 5 easy steps, to make this process as simple as possible.
1. Talk To Your Loved One
It’s always important to talk to your loved one upfront. Getting an idea of how they feel about rehab, how they feel about their substance use disorder, and what they are willing to do is a good idea. If your loved one is motivated to seek out care, you can skip step four of this process. However, chances are, they won’t be. People use denial to simply avoid the fact that they might have a problem. Your loved one may react with anger, by guilting you, or by changing the subject.
So? Why talk? It’s important to let your loved one know that you want what’s best for their health, their wellbeing, and their future. For this reason, it’s important that you approach your loved one as non-judgmentally as possible. Most people with an addiction are well–aware of the stigma surrounding substance use disorder. Approaching a conversation from, “Your job”, “what will the neighbors think”, etc., will only create hostility. You care about them and their health, focus on that. The important message to leave after your talk is that you love and support them no matter what, you’re there for them, and you can help when they’re ready.
2. Find a Rehab Center
It’s important to manage and handle the process of finding a rehab center before you actually ask your loved one to go to rehab. Why? This process can take some time. If your loved one agrees to go to rehab, you want to move them into professional care as quickly as possible, and before they change their mind or something else goes wrong.
This should involve:
- Checking to ensure that the rehab center offers the treatment your loved one needs (What are they addicted to)
- Checking certifications (E.g., are they The Joint Commission certified?)
- Check licensing and staff. Do they hire licensed nurses? Do they have specialists and psychiatrists on-staff?
- Checking treatment. E.g., Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectal Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) are three of the most common behavioral therapies used to treat addiction. You also want to look for counseling, complementary therapies, and likely group support as well.
- Checking how quickly intake can happen after you get them to agree. E.g., if you have an intervention, can you contact the rehab center and have your loved one there within 48 hours?
Once you find good candidates, you can have a consultation, match your loved one to treatments they offer, and plan everything out. This ensures that it’s as easy as possible to move into treatment later.
3. Verify Insurance & Payment Plans
Most people are concerned about payments and costs. Luckily, rehab costs are at least partially covered by insurance plans. This means you should work with the rehab center or with your insurance to ensure that your loved one is covered. This can be more difficult if you don’t have access to their plan or can’t actually call customer service on their behalf. However, the consultant at the rehab center will help you as much as possible.
Many rehab centers also offer payment plans. This can help to fill the gaps of your insurance plan or to ensure that you can get your loved one into a quality treatment program, even without insurance. However, you’re highly advised to seek out a plan first. Many work providers also offer insurance which covers addiction treatment, so you can also check with your loved one’s workplace where applicable (although you shouldn’t contact HR on their behalf, as this can get them fired).
4. Stage an Intervention
Most people need a strong motivator to go to treatment. Self-deception means that we can convince ourselves everything is fine. They might say things like, “I can quit anytime I like,” or “I only drink because of X”. Everyone with a substance use disorder uses these types of excuses to justify their continued use. The only problem is that when or if they do try to quit, they cannot.
Staging an intervention is an action that forces the person to come to terms with the extent of their problem. You can choose to do this on your own or with the help of a professional intervention specialist. However, your goal will be to gather people who are important in your loved one’s life and collaborate on how to stage that intervention. You want to be gentle but firm, sharing emotions without throwing around blame or guilt, and focusing on helping your loved one to get their life back. It is very important to avoid blaming your loved one. Using phrases like, “addiction is not your fault but you are addicted”, “I know that no one chooses this for themselves and this is hurting you, I want to get help for you”, can work to drive that message home. Your focus should be on helping your loved one to recover for their health, because you care about them.
If your loved one agrees to the treatment, you have to respond as quickly as possible. Call up your rehab center and schedule an intake date. Hopefully, because you’ve had earlier contact with them, you’re already on the list and intake and admissions can happen within a few days.
5. Participate in Treatment
Once you get your loved one to treatment, they have a lot of work to do. Recovery is ongoing and it is about more than putting down drugs and alcohol. Real recovery means rebuilding your life to remove the necessity of seeking escape in substances. Continue to spend time with them, take part in family therapy when it is available, visit them, and where possible, attend therapy yourself so that you’re ready to welcome them back into a stable family.
Going to rehab is the best way to get in control of a substance use disorder. While you can’t make your loved one go, these 5 steps will help you get there. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready right away, but always make sure to leave the option open so that when they are ready, you can get them into treatment. Good luck.