If you’ve been wondering how to convince someone to get help for drug addiction, you’re not alone. The most recent data from the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health published by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) shows that 40 million U.S. adults had a substance use disorder involving either illicit drugs or alcohol in 2020.
Not only is addiction in the United States on the rise, but a significant treatment gap remains. The same data from NSDUH 2020 shows that just 4 million of those with substance use disorder are connected with professional addiction treatment.
If you find yourself in the position of trying to convince a loved one with a drug addiction to head to rehab, this might be challenging but it’s also achievable. You can streamline the process, too, if you use a loving and compassionate approach, coming from a place of knowledge rather than judgment. You should have only one goal in mind: getting your friend or family member the help they need.
How to Convince Someone to Get Help with Drug Addiction in 5 Steps
When attempting to convince someone to get help for drug addiction or alcohol addiction, you should prepare yourself to be confronted with denial. You may also find that your loved one makes promises to stop using drugs alone and without professional intervention.
If your initial attempts do not go smoothly, it is worth remembering that addiction brings about changes to the functioning and the structure of the brain. If you feel that your loved one is acting irrationally, consider starting your attempt to get them into rehab by learning as much as possible about the nature of drug addiction.
- Discover as much as possible about the disease model of drug addiction and the most effective evidence-based treatments
- Approach your loved one as soon as you suspect they are abusing drugs rather than waiting for them to hit rock bottom
- Voice your concerns with your loved one objectively and non-emotionally
- Stage an intervention if your loved one refuses to engage with inpatient or outpatient drug rehab
- Help your loved one with a drug addiction connect with treatment at the right level of intensity and support them throughout their recovery
1) Discover as much as possible about the disease model of drug addiction and the most effective evidence-based treatments
You should widen your knowledge of drug addiction in general and your loved one’s addiction in particular.
Here are some aspects of drug addiction worth exploring:
- Causes of addiction: NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) has many resources on drug addiction and treatment. NIDA gives evidence-based reports on the most effective interventions for drug addiction.
- How addiction changes the brain: Chronic drug abuse provokes structural and functional changes to the brain. Understanding this concept fully may make it easier for you to deal with someone exhibiting the behaviors associated with drug abuse and addiction.
- Mental health disorders co-occurring with drug addiction: If your loved one is suffering from drug addiction and a co-occurring condition like PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), depression, or anxiety, they may be self-medicating the symptoms and inflaming both conditions. Explain to your loved one the benefits of integrated and coordinated treatment for co-occurring disorder, also known as dual diagnosis.
- Drug of abuse: Determining whether your loved one is addicted to prescription medications, illicit drugs, alcohol, or a combination of those substances will help guide you in selecting the most appropriate treatment.
- Best treatment delivery methods: Most people with moderate and severe drug addictions find that inpatient treatment, otherwise known as residential rehab, offers the most structured and supportive route to recovery without relapse. The same applies to those with co-occurring disorders and to those with volatile home environments. Many people with mild drug addictions and a stable home background find that outpatient treatment is an effective springboard for recovery. Increasingly, drug and alcohol rehab centers are also offering virtual rehab with therapy sessions conducted via online video calls. Help your loved one choose the most suitable treatment program for their needs.
- Most effective therapies for the treatment of drug addiction: Most drug addictions – clinically termed substance use disorders – respond to a combination of counseling, psychotherapy, and MAT (medication-assisted treatment).
2) Approach your loved one as soon as you suspect they are abusing drugs rather than waiting for them to hit rock bottom
If you pick up on the signs of drug abuse and you have reason to believe your loved one is developing an addiction, it is seldom advisable to wait around for them to hit rock bottom.
Instead, open an ongoing dialogue about addiction and treatment as soon as you suspect that they have a problem. This will minimize the chance of your loved one overdosing on drugs or developing a more severe addiction. Even consider writing them an intervention letter.
3) Voice your concerns with your loved one objectively and non-emotionally
When you are communicating with your friend or family member about their drug abuse, keep these pointers in mind to streamline the dialogue:
- Actively listen: Rather than subjecting your loved one to a monologue about drug addiction, allow them to speak and actively listen.
- Repeat what you think your loved one means in your words: This will give your loved one confidence that you are really listening to what they are understanding. At the same time, repeating their statements allows you to clear up any misunderstandings or misinterpretations that may arise.
- Ask your loved one plenty of questions: By asking your loved one open-ended questions (see motivational interviewing), you may prompt them to answer more expansively when you question them about their addiction.
- Body language: Maintain a relaxed posture relaxed and intermittent eye contact to promote open communication.
4) Stage an intervention if your loved one refuses to engage with inpatient or outpatient drug rehab
You may find that you are able to convince your loved one to get help for drug addiction of their own free will.
If you meet with denial, hostility, or an outright refusal to engage with treatment, you may need to stage a drug addiction intervention. You will convene a meeting with your loved one and a group of concerned friends and family members. Each person will get the chance to tell the person with an addiction how their behavior is affecting them personally. The goal of an intervention is to help someone get the addiction treatment they need, even if they are initially reluctant to seek help.
You may choose to work with a professional intervention specialist during this process.
Before staging an intervention, you should have a suitable treatment program at a drug rehab arranged.
5) Help your loved one with a drug addiction connect with treatment at the right level of intensity and support them throughout their recovery
Not everyone needs residential rehab for drug addiction. You may feel that virtual therapy or outpatient treatment offers your loved one sufficient structure to initiate their recovery. There are more intensive forms of outpatient programming available to bridge the gap between inpatient and outpatient rehab.
Once you have convinced a loved one to get help for drug addiction, you should inspire them with confidence that you are prepared to help them from detox to discharge and beyond, even if they relapse in their recovery.
Get Help for Drug Addiction at California Detox
At our California addiction treatment centers, we offer treatment for drug addiction, alcoholism, and mental health disorders at all levels of intensity. Help your loved one to choose from the following programs:
- OP (outpatient program)
- Virtual IOP (remote rehab)
- IOP (intensive outpatient program)
- PHP (partial hospitalization program)
- Residential rehab (inpatient treatment)
If you are concerned about the detox and withdrawal stage, we can help your loved one through the detoxification stage safely and comfortably at our luxury beachside detox center.
Your loved one will benefit from a personalized combination of holistic therapies and evidence-based treatments at our Laguna Beach drug rehab. Once they complete their program, they will have addressed both the physical and psychological components of drug addiction.
Get your loved one with a drug addiction the most effective help today by calling California Detox at 844.427.6002.