When you have a loved one in treatment for a substance abuse disorder, you may find yourself at a loss for what to do to help them. You should first know that you are not alone. Statistics show that substance abuse or addiction affects nearly 20 million people and their families every year1.
Although they are getting professional help, you may want to do something to further their progress. If you’re unsure what comes next to support them and help them avoid relapsing, we have some suggestions for you to consider.
One of the most important things you can do for a loved one in treatment is to support them. When people know they have someone behind them, they feel more confident in what they’re doing. If you can express to your loved ones that you are there for them, whether they need a ride to a therapy session or someone to talk to, it can help.
It’s also a good idea to see if their treatment plan allows family members to participate in the therapy process. While there are individual therapy sessions, there are often family therapy sessions that everyone can benefit from.
Help a Loved One Build Coping Skills
Many times people turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with other problems in their lives. You can help a loved one in treatment build coping skills, so they don’t feel the need to revert to their old habits. While they are likely learning coping skills in their treatment program, anything you can do to reinforce them will be helpful.
Some ways to help them build coping skills is to be there to listen or talk and present them with other ways to cope. Holistic treatments can be beneficial because they can help the mind and body.
Address Family Issues
Issues within the family can also lead a person to use drugs or alcohol. If there are any existing conflicts, try to do your best to resolve them. Resolving disputes can help a loved one in treatment as they recover and can also help to prevent relapse. If they see constant conflict, they may be tempted to use it once again.
You can help by communicating with family members and telling them how important it is to reduce friction while your loved one is going through treatment. You can also encourage positive gatherings to build on the family unit and make it more cohesive. These are all things that can help your loved one while they are in treatment.
Encourage the Appropriate Treatment Time
One thing you don’t want to happen is for your loved one to leave treatment before they’re ready.
You can encourage them to stick it out even when it gets tough. While everyone’s treatment plan is different, research suggests that it takes at least three months in treatment to reduce or stop substance abuse2 significantly. If someone leaves a treatment plan sooner than they should, they may have a greater chance of relapse.
Be Aware of Relapse Signs in a Loved One in Treatment
No one wants to see your loved one relapse during or after treatment. You can help avoid this by being aware of any relapse signs. If you notice they are starting to spend time with people who encouraged their addiction or that they suddenly become more withdrawn, you’ll want to speak to the treatment center. Chances are they’ve noticed a change as well, but it’s always good to have more people looking out than not enough. You may also notice other red flags that a treatment center may overlook simply because you’ve known them for longer.
If Your Loved One is in Treatment and Wondering Now What? Contact Our Team
If you have a loved one who needs treatment for a substance abuse disorder, our team at Silver Sands Recovery can help. We have experienced professionals and many resources available to help you and your loved one as they get the help they need. Contact us today or reach out online so your loved one can start their path to recovery and sobriety that they deserve.
About the author:
Lisa Waknin is the Founder and Director of Silver Sands Recovery, located in Prescott, Arizona. Lisa started Silver Sands Recovery after immersing herself in the addiction treatment world for several years to figure out what could be done differently to help her daughter and others like her to overcome addiction and stay sober. She believes in a hands-on treatment approach, which includes taking someone out of their environment, providing a 90-day program in a structured environment. During treatment, clients not only recover physically but also learn to live their life again. Lisa is a sought-after expert speaker for recovery support groups, charities, schools, communities, and companies wanting to educate themselves on the explosion of opiate and heroin abuse in our country and the best way to understand, treat, and beat it.