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What if Your Loved One Resists Substance Abuse Treatment?

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If your loved one is resisting treatment there are other ways you can support them or encourage them to help themself.

Feelings of denial can cast a wide net within the life of an addict. The effects of drugs on the mind make it all but impossible for addicts to acknowledge, let alone confront, how drugs have damaged their lives.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as of 2009, an estimated 23.5 million people aged 12 and older suffer from a substance abuse problem. Out of 23.5 million people, only 2.6 million actually sought out the help they needed.

When the addict refuses to get needed drug treatment help, loved ones can still take steps to reduce the effects of addiction in their lives and maybe even effect change in the addict’s life.

Here are five things you can do if your loved one resists substance abuse treatment:

1. Self-Supports

The longer an addict continues to abuse drugs the worse living conditions become. It’s highly unlikely he or she will just snap out of it or have a change of heart. For these reasons, it’s important for loved ones to have a support system in place.

A support system enables loved ones to maintain a sense of stability and normalcy in their lives. Self-supports can take the form of:

  • A support group, such as an Al-Anon or ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) group
  • Enjoyable activities or interest
  • Counseling/psychotherapy

2. Detachment

More than anything else, it’s important for loved ones not to get emotionally entrenched in the addicts chaotic lifestyle. It’s not uncommon for addicts to become verbally abusive when under the influence. During these times, his or her sense of reason and judgment has become impaired by the effects of drugs or alcohol.

Being able to detach or remove oneself from the addict’s dysfunctional behavior displays can go a long way towards helping loved ones maintain their peace of mind.

3. Boundary Setting

Boundary setting has to do with loved ones communicating and establishing limits with the addict. While the addict may refuse to get needed treatment help, loved ones can still enforce limits on the types of behaviors they will and will not tolerate.

Examples of boundary setting include:

  • Refusing to lie for the addict
  • Refusing to keep or get the addict out of trouble
  • Making plans to stay at a friend’s house when the addict comes home under the influence

4. Arrange an Intervention Meeting

For many addicts, the effects of ongoing drug use make it impossible for them to see how drugs have damaged their lives as well as their relationships with loved ones. An intervention meeting enables an addict to get a bird’s eye view of the effects of addiction in his or her daily life.

Loved ones can arrange an intervention meeting on their own or have an intervention specialist organize and conduct the meeting.

5. Legal Options

While taking legal measures can seem harsh, it may well be warranted in cases where the addict poses a danger to himself (or herself) and/or others when under the influence. In everyday life, acts of violence or physical abuse often require intervention by law enforcement officials to prevent a bad situation from becoming worse.

Some states in the U. S. allow loved ones to commit an addict in cases where he or she becomes a danger to self and others. Granted, the addict may well harbor anger and resentment as a result, but circumstances will only continue to get worse for as long as he or she continues to use.

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