We understand how distressing it can be to watch a friend or family member battle with addiction. Despite pleading and begging them to get help, you cannot force them to change. For example, if your loved one is addicted to heroin and you have been looking for heroin rehab, you cannot force them to go.
You may be frustrated at your loved one for ignoring your pleas and continuing to harm themselves. Yet, addiction to harmful substances can alter brain function and impact emotions and decision making; this makes it harder for people to seek help and is demonstrated through various signs in their behaviour. As recovery from addiction requires holistic transformation, the treatment is unlikely to work if the person is unwilling to be supported.
We explain three signs that someone is not ready for rehab and how you can help them at this stage.
Denial is a defence mechanism that is used to ignore that there is a problem. It is a huge obstacle for many people struggling with addiction who feel unable to acknowledge their actions. Denial makes it easier for the person to continue with their substance misuse to not have to face the consequences of their actions. Even though embarking on rehab will have positive outcomes for your loved one, they may be feeling fear or shame about needing help. Being admitted to rehab brings their addiction to reality, forcing them to face their addiction.
Some behaviours that your loved one may display if they are using denial include: not talking about the issue, responding with anger, avoiding you or blaming others for their substance misuse. They may have previously tried rehab but found this unsuccessful because they did not believe they needed to be there.
Ambivalence means having feelings of uncertainty. If your friend or family member is in two minds about stopping substance misuse, they may be feeling ambivalent about abstinence. They may want to end their addiction but hope to continue taking the harmful substance when their treatment ends. Recovering from substance misuse is not a permanent life change for people feeling ambivalent, so they are not ready to embark on rehab. Rehab treatment addresses the physical, psychological, and social aspects of addiction, and requires hard work to connect with these emotions, so your loved one would not be able to engage fully with the treatment programme whilst feeling this way.
People feel ambivalent because they don’t have healthy coping mechanisms to deal with their problems. It is a form of denial and can be displayed by people claiming they will seek help in the future. Your loved one may have previously attempted rehab treatment to please you, rather than wanting to recover from addiction themselves. They may lack the motivation to take action but say all of the right things to give you the right impression.
If your loved one does not take your concerns seriously, they could be minimizing their substance misuse. Minimization in addiction means that the person will try and justify their actions or portray their addiction as less severe than it is. They might try and rationalize their behavior with excuses to justify their substance misuse or compare their actions to other people to minimize their addiction.
Minimization can be likened to putting on a brave face. Somebody might act like they do not need help, but in reality, be extremely distressed and unsure of how to improve their situation. People who minimize their substance misuse can be at great risk of harm, as their higher level of substance misuse may go unnoticed.
How can you help?
If any of these signs are familiar to you, there are still ways in which you can help your loved one to change their attitude about their addiction. Rehab can be a daunting challenge, especially if your loved one has never sought help previously, so avoid conversations about rehab if they are not ready. Jason Shiers from Wide World Coaching says “You can calmly encourage them to seek help in a way that they feel comfortable. Being supportive and willing to listen to your loved one, even about things unrelated to addiction, will encourage them to communicate with you and know that you are there for them. “to learn more click here.
If they refuse to open up, be honest with them about needing space and putting boundaries in place until they change their behavior. This doesn’t mean you are controlling their situation, but it will make them realize the gravity of what is happening and how important it is that you feel safe. That alone can be powerful enough for them to break free from their destructive behavior and consider treatment in rehab.
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