KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Know the signs of addiction like increased substance use, shifts in mood, secretive behavior, social isolation, reduced hygiene, and unexplained absences.
  • See if your loved one wants rehab.
  • Plan an intervention if your loved one has refused help, while involuntary commitment may be necessary.
  • Seek a counselor who specializes in addiction and mental health services.
  • Inpatient and outpatient treatment programs are available.
  • The admissions process requires navigating through the red tape but is an opportunity to begin building trust.
  • Seek family therapy to provide healthy tools to manage feelings and responses.
  • Choose a facility that will offer personalized support for your loved one.

Substance abuse can be challenging for anyone dealing with addiction, but it also impacts friends and family members as you watch your loved one struggle. Although referral to a treatment center seems like the logical option, the power of substance abuse can overshadow a person’s ability to advocate for themselves, making it difficult for them to make the right decisions. This can be frustrating for you when all you want is for your loved one to recover and be a positive part of your life again.

Actively participating in the recovery journey is a critical component in achieving sobriety, so admitting there’s a substance abuse problem, combined with acceptance of the steps needed to overcome it, creates the best chance of success. This doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t options available to save the life of someone you care about if they’re unwilling to make a change. If you know how to get someone into rehab, it’s never too late to encourage them to make the decision to turn their life around.

Step 1: Understanding Signs of Abuse

Drug and alcohol abuse often escalates because it isn’t identified in its early stages, allowing it to take a tighter hold on the person who’s suffering. Knowing the signs of addiction gives you the tools to seek intervention before the consequences reach severe levels. Some of the warning signs you should watch for include:

  • Increased or extended usage of the substance in question
  • Frequent and sudden shifts in mood
  • Unexplained secretive behavior
  • Falling behind on responsibilities and loss of dependability
  • Social isolation that includes canceling plans or inability to make social commitments
  • Expressing a desire to reduce substance use without follow-through
  • Borrowing money for undisclosed reasons
  • A notable decline in personal hygiene
  • Mood improvement after unexplained absences

If you notice your loved one exhibiting a combination of these signs, there’s a good chance substance abuse may be to blame. A diagnosis of substance abuse disorder must be made by a health care professional, so this should be your first step if the person is still at a point where they’re willing to seek help. If their addiction has been established beyond this point, it might be time to consider an addiction treatment center.

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Step 2: Knowing When Rehab Is Needed

It can be hard choosing to seek treatment in a rehab facility, but there are some signs that indicate the addiction has progressed to the extent that it’s unmanageable by the individual alone. Consider if you’ve noticed any of the following:

  • The need to increase usage of the substance to obtain the desired effect (signs of tolerance)
  • Commitments and attempts to limit or stop use of the substance without success
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when the substance can’t be obtained
  • Giving up relationships in favor of access to the chosen substance
  • Continued use of the substance despite negative impacts on mental health
  • Engaging in uncharacteristic criminal behavior for monetary gain
  • Introduction of new substances to maximize effects
  • Intense focus on obtaining more of the substance being abused
  • Lack of concern over failed obligations and responsibilities at work, school or home
  • Engaging in reckless and dangerous behavior, such as operating a vehicle while under the influence

These are all signs that drug addiction has become a higher priority to your loved one, making it increasingly difficult to manage without intensive treatment options. Treatment programs are designed to support individuals who are lost in this difficult stage of addiction, providing them the tools and support they need to recover.

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Step 3: Seeing If Your Loved One Wants Rehab

At the first signs of addiction, it’s important to speak with your loved one and find out how they feel about their dependency. Sometimes people are aware of the negative impact addiction has on their life and just don’t know how to take the first step. Recovery plans work best when the person being treated is a willing participant, so asking them if they want to register at a rehab center is the first step in gauging their awareness of their problem. If they agree, it’s important to make arrangements as quickly as possible to avoid the opportunity for them to change their mind. Contact Changing Tides immediately at (252) 596-0584 for a free consultation so we can help you explore the options available to make an informed decision about which treatment approach is best.

Intervention Plan

If you’ve exhausted all options with your loved one about their need to seek treatment and they’ve refused your offers of help, the next step is planning an official addiction intervention. This can be an intense experience for everyone involved, so it’s best to consult with a professional interventionist to ensure the process is handled correctly. This person will meet with close family and friends who want to be involved and work with them to develop an intervention plan.

The plan involves the steps needed to get the person struggling with addiction to a specific location and gives each person the opportunity to express how your loved one’s decisions have impacted their life. These statements will end with a request for your loved one to enter treatment and explain the consequences if they refuse. Because this may be the first time family members and friends have been truly honest about their feelings concerning their loved one’s substance abuse, professional interventionists make sure they’re present to keep the plan on track. Hopefully, this is the stage when your friend or family member makes the decision to willingly enter the recovery process.

Can You Force Someone Into Rehab?

If all other options fail, you may decide it’s necessary to take more drastic measures. At this point, the last option you may have available is a court-ordered involuntary commitment. Involuntary commitment laws vary by state, but North Carolina law requires evidence the person uses drugs or alcohol persistently and presents a clear danger to themselves or others as a result. This can be demonstrated in one of three ways:

  • A personal petition can be filed to be reviewed by a judge. If the judge agrees there’s sufficient evidence, your loved one is taken to a hospital for an initial exam. If the examining doctor agrees there’s sufficient cause, your loved one is admitted into a 24-hour facility where a second exam will take place. If both doctors agree, a recommendation for a substance abuse program is made and your loved one is transferred. Within 10 days, a new hearing is set for the judge to review the evaluations and establish a court order for a more lasting decision.
  • A petition can be submitted by a doctor who suspects a substance use disorder after performing an exam. This counts as the first exam, but the judge must agree with this assessment before the person can be placed in a 24-hour facility. All other steps in the above process will be followed up in the same way.
  • If a doctor feels a patient needs immediate care, an emergency petition can be filed. This process skips the initial magistrate review and requires the person to go immediately to the 24-hour hold facility. It also counts as the first exam, and the rest of the steps are followed in the same order.

The appropriate forms for involuntary commitment can be found on the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website.

Treatment Options

Specific treatment plans must be personalized and will vary depending on the substance being abused, any underlying physical or mental health issues and the individual’s history. Several elements can be combined to create a plan that offers the best chance of recovery, but most fall under inpatient or outpatient treatment programs.

  • Inpatient treatment requires the person to remain in the hospital or treatment facility to be monitored constantly. This is often the first stage of treatment and is especially critical for those who are abusing a substance that requires a safe plan to taper off or those who have a history of relapse.
  • Outpatient treatment often follows after inpatient treatment has been completed but can sometimes be used on its own. This option allows the person to live on their own and requires them to willingly show up to appointments related to their recovery plan.
  • Support groups are available for people going through addiction recovery and even for family members who’ve been impacted. Participation in these groups is often necessary during inpatient treatment programs and is frequently continued on an outpatient basis to help your loved one stay sober. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are two well-known examples.

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Step 4: Seeking a Counselor

Because addiction is often heavily intertwined with perceived hardships, finding a counselor is an important part of breaking this cycle. Meeting with a counselor can provide your loved one with the tools they need to establish healthy coping mechanisms for the difficulties they face, creating alternatives to their substance abuse patterns. Drug abuse is commonly a symptom of undiagnosed mental illness, so the right counselor can also offer referrals to appropriate mental health services if this is suspected. When choosing a counselor, it’s important that they specialize in addiction recovery so they understand the nuanced approach needed. It’s also critical to find someone your loved one can connect with to encourage their active participation.

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Step 5: Admissions Process

Knowing how to get someone into rehab is the hard part, but the journey for your loved one is just beginning. Upon admission, your loved one will be received with care and compassion to ease their transition into this new experience. Any documentation not already completed, such as intake and health insurance forms, will be handled. Any contraband will be confiscated by the facility to improve the chance for success, and all guidelines and expectations will be reviewed with your loved one.

Once admitted, they’ll be given the opportunity to see their assigned room and get a tour of the facility. The admissions process requires navigating through the red tape, but it’s also our opportunity to begin building trust with your loved one so we can better help them with their drug or alcohol use disorder. Our goal is to establish a positive connection so they understand they’re in a safe space that offers the compassion and support they need for long-term recovery.

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Step 6: Seeking Therapy for the Family

Family therapy is an important aspect of long-term recovery because it can help root out underlying family dynamics that may be contributing to a person’s addiction and can strengthen bonds with your loved one’s support system. It can also help you resolve any personal guilt you may have about the situation and provide you with healthy tools to manage your feelings and responses. Honesty is critical for family therapy to be effective, so make sure to choose a therapist who makes you and other family members feel comfortable. It’s also helpful to seek out someone who has experience in dealing with family support needs when it comes to the abuse of drugs or alcohol.

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Step 7: Finding a Rehab Program

Once you’ve got someone to agree to go into rehab, choosing the rehab facility that will offer the best support for your loved one is a critical step. Every individual has different needs to overcome their substance use disorders. Available treatment programs can vary depending on a facility’s location and staff training, so choosing the right treatment center can feel like an overwhelming task. This is why it’s so important to take advantage of the free treatment program consultations offered so you can ask questions and understand all the options available to your loved one.

At Changing Tides, we offer treatment plans for general drug and alcohol abuse as well as specialized plans for certain types of specific substance addiction. If you have questions about how to get someone into rehab, contact us and schedule a free consultation so you can learn more about our program.

We’ll take the time to provide the answers you need and to discuss our plan options for helping your loved one in their journey toward getting and staying sober. Our multi-layered approach is designed to cover many elements that contribute to substance use disorders and can give your friend or family member the confidence needed to live a substance-free life with a future full of possibilities.

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