7 steps to Get Someone into Rehab
how-to Guide for a Family Member

It can be very difficult to approach a loved one about their addiction, as the effort could damage your relationship with them. We cannot force or coerce our loved ones into accepting treatment, but we can take positive steps that encourage them to face their problems and seek help. This delicate task can be carried out much more easily if you have the right guidance. The lessons in this article will help you get someone into rehab even if they are in denial about their condition and are not initially willing to go.
In this article, you’ll learn more about:
  • The steps to get a family member or a loved one into treatment
  • How you can show support
  • Things you should avoid
  • What to do if they refuse treatment
  • Getting help from an interventionist

Getting a family member or a loved one into rehab

The seven steps outlined below aim to provide you with a solid structure about how to get someone into treatment. While every person’s circumstances are different, we believe these seven steps are applicable for most situations.
  • Step 1. Recognise the signs of addiction/don’t wait for rock bottom
    • Recognising the signs of an addiction is not an easy process. It may be prudent to do your research and consult a health professional; i.e., a doctor, social worker, or alcohol/drug counsellor, about the signs of addiction.
    • It is essential that treatment is sought as soon as possible for your loved one. For example, some substances, such as methamphetamine, can lead to irreversible damage in the brain.
  • Step 2. Find out if your loved one is open to the idea of rehab
    • Approaching your loved one with the idea of going into rehab can be daunting, but an early, structured approach can set the process in motion.
    • If they are not open to the idea of rehab, don’t try and force the issue at this moment in time. Never allow your behaviour to be driven by negative emotions, or physical or emotional coercion.
  • Step 3. Research treatment options
    • Preparation is key. Even before you approach your loved one about going into rehab, make sure you have done extensive research into the available treatment options.
    • Pre-empt their queries and concerns. If you are able to answer their questions at ease and with confidence, they are likely to feel better about the whole situation.
  • Step 4. Plan according to your personal situation (budget, timing, family dynamics, etc.)
    • While it can be difficult to put treatment in the right perspective, it is important that your loved one gets the right level of care delivered in a timely manner.
    • Take the time to sit down with your close family and friends to decide on budget (if any), suitable timing, as well as family and work commitments.
  • Step 5. Discuss options/get consultations with a counsellor/rehab of choice
    • Before setting the plan in motion, ensure that you have sought a consultation with the rehabilitation centre of your choice.
    • Professional medical experts and addiction counsellors will take the time to discuss the best available treatment options and offer you support and advice during this difficult time.
  • Step 6. Plan an intervention
    • An intervention is a staged conversation between someone who is suffering from an addiction and their close family and friends, including a professional interventionist. The aim of the intervention is to set goals for the person who is struggling with an addiction to seek help, and willingly go through a phase of recovery and rehabilitation.
    • Interventions are often supervised by specialists whose aim is to motivate the addict to change their ways, while also supporting their loved ones.
  • Step 7. Follow through
    • Set a date. Once the intervention process has begun, ensure that your loved one acknowledges the date that they will go into rehab.
    • Don’t relent by letting them extend the date of admission.

How to show support

This is a crucial moment in your loved one’s life, so be prepared to be understanding, compassionate and supportive. While you may not agree with some of the life choices they have made or the route they have taken, your patience and persistence will help get your family member into rehab so they can start their recovery.
When trying to get someone into treatment, we recommend the following approaches:
  • Demonstrate concern for their well-being
    • Take the time to understand your loved one’s circumstances. What drove them to their addiction? How can you help? How can you support them and the wider family bond?
    • Before they go into rehab, reassure them that you love and care about them, and that treatment is for their own good.
  • Show empathy and offer support
    • Maintain a solid emotional connection with your loved one. They will be going through a difficult period in their life and will need your support from the outset.
    • If possible, try and stay in touch with them throughout the treatment period.
  • Understand what they need to hear, and offer reassurance
    • Preparation is key. Be ready to answer any difficult questions your loved one may have about the treatment process.
    • If time allows, have an intervention specialist, counsellor, or representative of the rehab facility talk your loved one through the treatment process.
  • Be a good listener
    • Don’t simply hear what your loved one is saying and repeat it back to them. Positively reinforce their statements while offering further solutions and advice.
  • Use “I” statements
    • Express how you really feel to your loved one, accentuating your hope for positive outcomes.
    • Never let them second guess how you are feeling, as they may make a wrong assumption.

see our list of all
rehabs in thailand

see our list
of all rehabs in thailand

Things to avoid when trying to get someone into treatment

Though it is hard to get someone to go into rehab, ensure that you stay away from any negative themes that may derail the treatment process. In particular, the following practices are to be avoided:
  • Telling scary stories
    • Avoid any negative statements/stories about the rehabilitation process. While some elements of the rehabilitation process may be slightly uncomfortable, physically and mentally, the overall process is safe and managed by medical professionals.
  • Comparing problems
    • Comparisons may be interpreted as minimising a challenge or situation. Everyone who attends an inpatient rehabilitation programme will have had different experiences throughout their journey.
  • Playing the blame game
    • We all need help sometimes, and you and your loved one need to be on the same team. Blame can lead to people questioning their actions, bringing on further emotional stress.
    • If your loved one feels isolated and alone, they are less likely to respond to your suggestions for them to enrol in a rehabilitation programme.
  • Being judgmental and negative
    • Never rush to judge your loved one.
    • Negativity will result in further isolating them.

When your loved one refuses treatment

Every family member or loved one should do their best to support those closest to them, but enabling behaviour can be counterproductive. Enablers allow those around them to avoid personal responsibility, which in turn leads their loved ones to believe that their addiction is acceptable and even supported.
Enabling is a habit – and like all habits, it can be broken. Here are some ways to prevent your loved one from ignoring the consequences of their own behaviour:

Stop cleaning up their mess

  • While it can be incredibly difficult to avoid doing such favours, there may be times when it is better not to act.
  • However positive your intentions, you may step over the line between helping them and enabling them to continue their addiction.
Stop funding them
  • It is essential to withdraw funding that allows your loved one to participate in their destructive behaviour.
  • People with addictions can sometimes discuss alcohol/drug use in terms of celebrations. They may feel they deserve some reward for passing a certain milestone, completing a task, or agreeing to treatment. Falling into this trap can prompt families to fund bad habits rather than putting a stop to them.
Communicate your limits/consequences
  • There may come a time when you have to put your foot down and let your loved one know that you have reached your limit, and there will be consequences for refusing to take part in the treatment process.
  • However difficult, you must be ready to enforce the rules and standards that you have already spelled out.
My family is my inspiration. Close-up top view of man holding photograph of his family over wooden desk with different chancellery stuff laying around

Get help from a professional interventionist

If you feel that your loved one’s behaviour is spiralling out of control and they are a danger to themselves and others, it is essential that you seek the services of a professional interventionist. This kind of specialist can move along the process, while helping you get your loved one into rehab.
We appreciate how difficult it can be to watch a loved one struggling with an addiction. Reach out to us today to speak with our clinical advisors, and we’ll do everything we can to help.
Brett Thornton

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