Whether a child, parent, sibling, or close friend, it’s tough to watch someone we care about struggle with addiction. Many people feel desperate to help their loved ones yet are completely overwhelmed by the many treatment options that are available.
Additionally, there are many ways to offer substance abuse treatment. For this reason, rehab centers can vary greatly in their approach, care, goals, and success measures. To help you navigate this emotional and often confusing time, Never Alone Recovery presents some things you can do to make your choice easier, and to support your loved one through their recovery process.
Recognizing Common Relapse Triggers
For a large number of people, relapse is part of the recovery journey. In fact, the pervading view is that relapse is a sign of failure. In reality, it's quite common for people in recovery to relapse before they're able to maintain their sobriety long-term.
Experts urge recovering addicts and their families to respond to relapse more positively. Consider it an opportunity to identify your loved one’s substance use triggers, so you can help them develop a relapse-prevention plan and strong coping skills.
Some of the most common relapse triggers include withdrawal symptoms, people and places associated with the substance, negative emotions, and isolation. If your loved one is a senior, learn how to recognize the signs of isolation because it can increase a senior’s likelihood of suffering from physical disability, mental health problems, and substance abuse. Some detectable signs of senior isolation include sleep disturbances, cognitive decline, weight change, lethargy, personal hygiene neglect, and a loss of interest in things previously enjoyed. If you keep an eye out for these symptoms, you can be more proactive when it comes to isolating triggers and preventing a relapse.
As you search for a rehab center for your loved one, learn about each facility’s approach to relapse. Some centers or programs view relapse negatively and may put damaging shame or blame on your loved one if they experience a setback during recovery. Ensure that the center you choose has a positive and constructive approach to relapse. Better yet, choose a facility that emphasizes relapse prevention and the development of coping skills.
There are several other addiction misconceptions that can impede your ability to choose the best treatment plan for your loved one. Remember that recovery is a lifelong process, meaning getting sober is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Similarly, it’s important to understand that detoxing is not the same as recovery. Detox programs are designed to reduce discomfort during withdrawal and help people regain some control over their behavior, but they offer very little in terms of therapy, relapse prevention, support, and coping mechanisms.
Learn About Modern Recovery Treatments
Traditional recovery methods like 12-step programs and one-size-fits-all group therapy are less likely to be successful than evidence-based treatments. Take some time to learn about modern addiction treatments and try to select a rehab center that offers a combination of compassionate care and evidence-based treatments. Some of the best addiction interventions include cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and pharmacotherapies.
Decide What Recovery Success Will Look Like
You should also take some time to learn how each addiction center measures recovery success. Psychology Today argues that strict sobriety is a poor indicator of a successful recovery because it positions addiction as a solely substance-related problem rather than a lifestyle or mental health issue. Measuring success in terms of sobriety may also prevent people from accepting or seeking help when they’re not ready to quit. It also sets people up for feelings of failure when they face a minor slip-up.
Success in treatment is generally measured by the individual's general quality of life or the percentage of overall recovery time for which he or she has actually been sober. If you can motivate your loved one with the promise of quality of life -- such as finding employment that would allow them to work from home -- then your loved one may benefit from feeling more in control of their environment and, consequently, reduce temptation.
Help your loved one to set up their home in a way that promotes positive energy and reduces anxiety, which can lead to relapse. You can smudge the house to eliminate bad energy, increase natural lighting, and add some plants to the space. Bringing nature into the home can increase mood and reduce anxiety, both of which are beneficial for recovery. Ultimately, success looks different for everyone, so select a rehab center that accommodates your loved one’s beliefs and values.
While choosing a rehab center has a lot to do with location, cost, and amenities, it may be more important to consider the various treatment approaches and relapse-prevention strategies used at these centers. Look for a rehab program that offers acceptance and compassion with a focus on evidence-based treatments.
Finally, try to involve your loved one in the decision-making process so you can select a rehab facility that fits their unique needs and desires.