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How to get someone into rehab: Three steps

Posted by Martin Preston
on 02 Mar 2020

When a loved one, friend or colleague is in the throes of addiction, getting them help is often all you want to do.

For some people rehab may be the answer to recovery – for others your support and that of community-based groups and clinicians may be enough.

Rehab tends mostly to be recommended at a stage where other avenues to wellness have been explored and have not resulted in long term success.

There are three fundamental steps to work through in order to get someone into rehab.

They are:

  1. Being certain that you believe they need rehab
  2. Telling them you think they need rehab 
  3. Offering practical support.
Woman hugging a man in a support group

Does your loved one, friend or colleague need rehab?

Residential rehab is an intensive period of therapy, clinical assistance, peer support and extraction from everyday life, triggers and stresses.

It may or may not include a spell of clinical detox, depending on the substance someone has issues with.

Rehab is a big thing to take on, requires a lot of work from the individual, ideally lots of support from those around them and, unless they’re one of the few deemed appropriate for referral by the NHS for treatment, it does require some investment. It may help you to have a thorough understanding of what rehab involves.

The cost of rehab may be covered by medical insurance and is often vastly less expensive, especially in the long term, than the cost of a continued alcohol or drug habit.  

In many cases, it is wise to explore NHS and community routes to wellness before committing to rehab. It tends to be a very successful route to recovery for people who have tried other methods and not been able to shake addiction.

If the person you care about has not already seen their GP, doing so before seeking rehab is a good idea. 

It may be helpful for you to discuss the person you care about with a professional in order to get guidance on whether rehab is a sensible next step. We’re happy to provide this sounding board 24 hours a day – do contact us.  

Charitable helplines and websites, such as Adfam and Addaction, may also be able to offer guidance.

Need help?
Call us confidentially at any time to speak to a member of our team.

Call us now: 0330 111 2015

Telling someone that you think they need rehab

Telling someone that you think they need help with their drinking, drug taking or other addictive behaviour can be a very difficult thing to do – and even more challenging to do effectively.

Taking time to consider what you are going to say and when you are going to say it will help the process. 

Things you’re likely to need to consider are:

  • an appropriate time to begin the conversation
  • the things you want to say and how you want to say it
  • hurdles they may perceive to them getting well and potential solutions to these 
  • researching signs and symptoms of addiction or alcoholism and different treatment options to allow you to speak with confidence.

Someone who is deeply in the grips of addiction to drugs, alcohol or some other behaviour may well have reached a point where they have little hope for the future. They likely feel very bad about themselves and are often full of guilt. Anxiety and depression are often dual issues.

The person in question may be negative about their chances of recovery, not able to see solutions to potential hurdles, in denial about their problem and/or ashamed of their situation. All of these things can make them react with anger, upset, embarrassment or in a dismissive way.

If you can help build a sense of hope of things improving for a person with addiction you will be a step closer to them accepting help.

While someone with addiction may well feel they no longer care about themselves – and may even feel they no longer deserve help – it’s likely that they do still care deeply about those around them. Speaking in ‘I’ statements that demonstrate how you are feeling about their situation and the toll you feel it is taking on you and others they care about may help them to want to get help for the benefit of others.

Taking professional advice on how to approach this subject and mount a successful intervention can be valuable. You may even wish to have a professional counsellor with you when you do it.

All of this said, remember that you are human too. Caring about someone with an addiction issue is very tough and you are likely to have a lot of sadness, remorse, maybe anger or feelings of guilt or betrayal over their behaviour too. If you do say something you didn’t mean to during an intervention, try not to give yourself too hard a time. 

Two women having a conversation on a couch

Practical support you can provide to someone who is dealing with addiction

Once someone is prepared to seek help with their addiction or taking active steps to try to get well, you can offer practical support to help them be successful.

It’s important, though it may be difficult, that you try not to do anything that enables the addiction of your loved one. While this kind of help is usually well meaning and intended to try to protect them, it could prevent them being able to reach the stage where they recognise they need to accept help.

Behaviour that may be classed as enabling, may include:

  • giving someone money, such as to pay bills or debts, when they’re spending on addictive substances
  • buying alcohol or drugs for them 
  • making excuses for them, such as to an employer
  • cleaning their house or taking on responsibilities that should be theirs.

Once someone has accepted they have a problem and wants to work towards getting well, you can help in lots of ways and your support is likely to be very valuable in aiding their recovery.

Support you can offer to someone who is dealing with addiction, includes:

  • Being a source of reliable information on places they can turn to for help. This will require some research of your own.
  • Letting them know you are happy to be with them when they make phone calls, attend appointments or go to look around rehab clinics.
  • Helping them to research the options, such as looking at CQC inspection reports of different rehab clinics. 
  • Offering help with practical tasks to prepare for rehab such as organising childcare and packing for rehab.
Need help?
Call us confidentially at any time to speak to a member of our team.

Call us now: 0330 111 2015

Remember – you cannot be wholly responsible for someone else getting well from addiction

While you can do all these things to try to help someone, you cannot get well for them.

When someone you care about has an addiction issue you must take steps to ensure your own wellbeing and health, physical and mental. You need to ensure you prioritise that and the wellness of any dependents the person has. Addiction can take a terrible and damaging toll on loved ones and children.

If you are able to offer continued support to someone who needs to get help, someone who is getting help and someone who is trying to sustain recovery, you will make a difference to them.

Just remember that sometimes you may need to take a break and to prioritise yourself too. You may also need help to cope and that’s ok. Family support is available in the community and should be a consideration of any rehab programme.

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How to get someone into rehab: Three steps
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How to get someone into rehab: Three steps
Discover 3 steps in helping someone to get into rehab from Delamere Health Ltd. The conversation can be hard so we are here to help.
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Delamere Rehab
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About the author: Martin Preston

Martin created Delamere in order to provide exemplary care in first class facilities. Find out more about Martin on our team page.

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