From the outside, everything seems pretty clear: why don’t our loved ones seek the help they need? Cause and effect really over-simplifies this process, and it appears to be a linear path towards a solution for our friend or family member. What we often don’t realize, however, is that there is always so much more going on beneath the surface – and with so many factors at play, it’s possible that you’re loved one may be struggling to seek help for a multitude of reasons.
One of the most devastating, frustrating experiences we may have with our loved ones is hearing that they’re going to seek help, only to find out that they never really were taking steps towards sobriety despite telling us they were. The person we love may make all sorts of promises to never hurt us again, but the reality is that they can’t quite make this promise because addiction is a disease that takes control over a person’s thoughts and behaviors. The word itself – addiction – is rooted in being overtaken by, or bound to, something. No matter how much a person wants to change, the addiction can overtake their desires and pull them right back into the horrible cycle of substance abuse.
Addiction truly causes changes to the brain, especially the anatomy and chemical makeup of the brain, over time. Research shows that the mechanisms used for learning become altered over time by addiction, which is what perpetuates the continued use of substances despite negative consequences occurring in daily life.
When this occurs, our loved one’s interests are no longer focused on building stronger relationships with us, or pursuing a career path, or excelling in school, or navigating personal responsibilities – rather, their mind is set to continue following the pattern of the behavior that the addiction controls. Of course, when this happens, we’re often let down as we held hope for so long that they’d seek help – so if you’re currently in this circumstance, there are several things you can do to navigate the pain.
There’s a barrier that’s separating our loved ones from seeking help in many cases, and the first step to providing stronger support is to understand what exactly our loved ones are going through. Previous research has shown that there are several reasons for why a person may not be able to seek treatment for addiction, even if they’ve mentioned several times that they’d like to:
- The right insurance for them may not be available.
- Treatment may appear to be so far away from the person – like they can’t grasp how they could succeed in a treatment program.
- Help for addiction may be available, but a person may have other underlying factors – such as mental illness – that are holding them back from seeking help, too.
- Individuals may leave too early from their treatment program to really aid in their recovery.
Of course, these are only some of the more economic and societal reasons for why a person may have trouble seeking help. There are other factors at play too, such as:
- Stigma: Stigma for drug involvement can lead to social rejection, labeling, stereotyping and discrimination, and this can severely impact a person’s desire to seek help – especially if they feel they’ll be judged by their family, community and the treatment center itself.
- Self-Doubt: A person battling addiction may not feel confident in their ability to recover, or may doubt that they even want to recover. Those who battle with addiction often experience a “back and forth” of trying to decide between seeking help and not. This is a completely normal process.
- Mental Illness: Illnesses such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and more can already influence the way a person perceives and processes information – and when addiction is added to the mix, it can become all-the-more difficult for a person to seek help.
If any of these (and many other) instances occur, a person can find it incredibly difficult to seek help, even if they’ve meant well when speaking with you about seeking treatment.
If you’d like to be more supportive of helping your loved one seek treatment at Enlightened Solutions, it’s important to know not to shame them into doing anything. A more effective approach would be to host an intervention – possibly with friends and loved ones – where they can be lovingly confronted with the facts as well as appropriate solutions and consequences if they don’t follow through with the plan that you have set forth for them. The process for helping a person seek treatment is a long one, and, of course, each person responds differently, but it takes time and patience as well as the understanding that you’re doing the best you can.
At Enlightened Solutions, we want to help your loved one heal from addiction and are committed to putting their recovery first. We offer a comprehensive range of services including outpatient treatment, post-rehab services, continuing care, and long-term treatment. Enlightened Solutions is a treatment center that uses evidence-based methods of recovery to focus on your loved one’s individuality and inner strength to help them get sober from drugs and alcohol.If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, call us today at 833-801-LIVE.