Category Archives: Recovery

Residential vs PHP

How a program approaches dealing with treatment needs is almost as important to the recovery process as the question of what issues a patient is dealing with. Some people need to work in a setting that provides constant support and even 24/7 monitoring. Others may be able to visit a facility on a regular basis and go home each day at the end of sessions. For those who need a lot of support, residential treatment programs are often the preferred option. Patients who may benefit from less monitoring often prefer to explore the PHP model, meaning going into a partial hospitalization program.

It’s a good idea to appreciate what approach each option entails before you decide what type of treatment is appropriate for you or a loved one. Let’s take a closer look at what each program offers and how either one might apply to your situation.

The Basics of Residential Treatment

The core idea behind residency at a rehab facility is that you will have an opportunity to address major medical concerns that often arise due to addiction and withdrawal in a setting where there will be constant supervision. For example, someone who is experiencing withdrawal from cocaine may develop issues with their appetite, sleeplessness, exhaustion and physical pain. It can be helpful to have a professional present to oversee a person going through cocaine withdrawal in order to ensure the client is sleeping and eating well enough for their body to recover.

In the above example, it should be noted that while there are few documented deaths tied to cocaine withdrawal, they do happen. Someone trying to kick a cocaine habit in a treatment program may:

  • Attempt suicide
  • Experience depression
  • Become paranoid
  • Act violently
  • Go through cardiac episodes

Knowing that an individual in such circumstances will be monitored can be a huge relief to friends and family members. It also allows the patient to focus on recovery while professionals address some of their day-to-day concerns.

Residential treatment options are technically a type of inpatient care. This is because a full admission into the program is required. Most facilities that describe themselves as offering residential care, though, attempt to replicate as close to a home environment as possible under the circumstances.

How Long Does a Residential Program Take?

Living in residence at a facility is usually set up to work on a 30-, 60- or 90-day basis. Program lengths can be adjusted to address:

  • How bad a person’s physical condition is
  • If they’re dealing with multiple addictions
  • Any co-occurring mental health concerns
  • Worries about them relapsing

The initial goal is to get a person detoxified. This means getting the substances that they’ve been abusing out of their systems. It is hard to commit to a specific length for a stay until a professional has seen what a client is like at the end of the detox process.

Some individuals prefer to visit programs that are outside the states they live in. This allows them to unplug from personal relationships that may have played roles in their addiction issues. Others like to stay at facilities that are close to home in order to maintain support from family members. It’s a good idea to think about these concerns and the way you came to the conclusion that you have addiction problems. This will allow you to make a choice that reflects your circumstances better.

The Basic of the PHP Approach

Partial hospitalization is aimed at people who have been judged to be capable of sticking with a treatment path while going back to their own homes or those of friends or family members at night. The goal is to find a happy medium between inpatient and outpatient care. People have access to programs and resources that are equivalent to what a hospital can offer, and they have the benefit of not feeling like they’ve “checked in.”

Notably, patients do come in each day for several hours of intensive sessions with staff members. A lot of treatment options can be handled in a PHP setting, including:

  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy

This approach is suited to those who aren’t experiencing extreme withdrawal symptoms. In some cases, they may require minimal medical intervention, such as the prescription of benzodiazepines for dealing with addiction and withdrawal-related concerns from drugs like opiates and opioids. As long as the client appears to be functioning well with minimal medical help, they can go home and come back on a regular basis.

How Long Does a PHP Take?

Overall treatment tends to follow the same 30-, 60- and 90-day structure that residential programs follow. People often start out in a residential setting and transfer to a PHP one once they’ve become stabilized, so the exact amount of time that might be spent in one program or the other often depends on how long the residency lasted.

A lot of this boils down to what drugs were being used. Amphetamine users, for example, may take weeks to see their cravings abate, often making them poor candidates for a PHP facility. Conversely, people with alcohol use disorders may see the worst of their withdrawal symptoms abate after days, although they do face a higher risk of mortality during the process.

Following Medical Advice

A major challenge that patients face in choosing between the two options is confronting their own limitations. Especially in situations where a person voluntarily enters a program, a lot of the decision-making is theirs. That means the most anyone can hope for is that they will hear the advice of doctors and drug counselors and heed it.

For most people, the biggest questions in the process are:

  • Will I go through a difficult withdrawal process?
  • Do I have specific medical conditions that call for closer monitoring?
  • What are the chances I will experience a relapse?

Evaluating withdrawal issues is fairly straightforward for the majority of clients. Each drug has a well-documented profile, and that means we know which drugs entail difficult withdrawal symptoms.

Those who choose residency are often trying to kick habits that present mortality risks. By far, the greatest risk that a patient will die while trying to quit abusing a substance comes from alcohol. Within three days of getting their last drink, people with alcohol use disorders may begin to experience:

  • Auditory and visual hallucinations
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Retching, nausea, anxiety, and sweating
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures
  • Confusion

It’s understandable why someone would want a professional on standby in the middle of the night if they’re worried that any one of those might happen, let alone potentially all of them.

On the flip side, a person who is trying to quit alcohol will begin to see a number of physical improvements after a week. They’ll generally have more energy both physically and mentally. They’ll sleep better and even see their skin begin to clear up. At that point, there’s some argument that acting on the advice of a qualified professional, the individual may want to transfer from residency to partial hospitalization.

Available Support

One factor that has to be examined in making the choice to transfer to a PHP is just how much support a person can expect at home from friends and family members. It has been estimated that about 50 percent of addiction factors are hereditary, and going home every night may mean being in a setting where there are other people with addiction issues. Romantic partners often provide the wrong kind of support, too. Under those kinds of circumstances, it might be better to enter residency to ensure that you’ll be in a supportive setting throughout the recovery process.

Conversely, if you know there will be support at home, there’s a lot of upside in sleeping in your own bed. This is, of course, contingent on the idea that other potential relapses risks won’t be present. A counselor will evaluate some of these factors, which may include asking questions about:

  • Your propensities to sneak out
  • Your partying behaviors
  • The chances that drugs are still hidden in the home
  • Who comes and goes at the house

This sort of evaluation calls for you to not only take a close look at yourself but also those around you. One reason seeking professional counseling can be beneficial is that an outside party can discuss with you in detail how addiction came into your life. They can make notes about things like how a specific family member might have introduced you to drugs. From there, they can help you identify patterns. You can then make a more fully informed decision about whether residential or PHP treatment suits your needs.

Flexibility

It’s worth noting that residential and PHP models of treatment do not always completely exclude each other. In fact, regardless of how you start the recovery process, you’ll be working toward a less supervised approach with time. Someone who starts treatment in residency might get to the end of a 30-day program and decide that an additional 60 days in a PHP would be a good idea. At the end of that stretch, they may begin more intermittent counseling sessions either on-site or with a counselor who has a relationship with the facility.

Similarly, if someone tries a PHP and ends up needing closer monitoring, that’s an option. A PHP is not desirable if a person is at risk of undergoing major withdrawal symptoms, but not everyone presents with serious symptoms until they begin detoxifying. It may turn out, for example, that a person was self-medicating for depression and anxiety and didn’t even really know it. Take away drugs, and you may suddenly see a high-functioning addict become a person who has completely untreated mental health issues. In such cases, it’s good to know that more intensive options are available.

Making the Choice

It’s important to remember that the very first choice isn’t between residential and PHP care. The very first choice is to get help. Picking between residential and PHP treatment is a problem that comes after the biggest choice is already made.

You should be fully informed about both ways of dealing with drug treatment programs. It’s also wise to take the time to hear what a counselor has to say about whether you might be a good fit for residency or partial hospitalization. Take all of your circumstances under consideration and try to value what the counselors have to say, too. Recovery is possible, and PHP and residential drug programs offer hope for people while giving them the flexibility to adjust their care to what’s going on in their lives.

Coping with Violent and Traumatic Events

Dealing with violent or traumatic events can be overwhelming, for many, it is difficult to move past the physical and psychological symptoms of the trauma and to cope with the stress it has caused. The physiological response to the trauma can be felt for months, even years, after the event, making it difficult to maintain what was once the individuals’ ‘normal’ lifestyle.

The severity of the trauma you experienced will often determine how quickly you overcome it, you may feel better soon after with only occasional stress-induced relapses. For those who have suffered severe trauma, there can be long-lasting effects, it is important to seek help from a professional to prevent any long term physiological symptoms that could hinder you in your day to day life.

What is Trauma?

Trauma is defined as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. Following a traumatic event, it is common to feel anger, frustration, anxiety, depression or sadness. This is the bodies normal response to trauma, whether or not you are directly involved. Examples of traumatic events include but are not limited to; sexual or physical assault, a victim of mugging or robbery, torture, car accident, natural disaster, war, actual or threatened death or serious injury to oneself or another.

Commonly, individuals react to traumatic events with acute stress, this is normally short lived and dissipates within hours, days, or weeks. Symptoms of acute stress include; An initial state of ‘daze’, Being agitated, or overactive, withdrawing from activities (e.g., from work and social situations), Anxiety, thinking only about what happened, feeling disorientated, feeling depressed, and difficulty remembering.

Some individuals who have experienced trauma may develop post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. This is a long-lasting anxiety response to the traumatic event that often develops within 3 to 6 months. According to the Sidran Institute; ‘An estimated 70 percent of adults in the United States have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives and up to 20 percent of these people go on to develop posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD. An estimated 5 percent of Americans—more than 13 million people—have PTSD at any given time.’

Common Reactions of Violent and Traumatic Events

Violence and traumatic events can impact individuals psychologically, even when they are not directly involved. People can react with a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms; commonly experiencing anger, frustration, anxiety, depression, and sadness. These symptoms can appear immediately or after some time has passed since the event. According to SAMHSA the following are commonly experienced symptoms related to traumatic events:

  • Thinking you are alone in dealing with your feelings, that no one else is having the same reactions as you.
  • Difficulty falling and/or staying asleep
  • Feeling exhausted all the time, as if you have no energy.
  • Feeling sad or depressed
  • Experiencing stomach aches and headaches
  • Feeling hyperactive, like you have too much energy.
  • Irritability or anger, taking those feelings out on loved ones for no reason.
  • Feeling numb inside, as if you have no feelings at all
  • Difficulty focusing at school or work
  • Self-medicating with illicit drugs or alcohol to lessen the feelings you are experiencing
  • Experiencing periods of confusion
  • Lack of appetite or eating in excess (eating away your feelings)

What is PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is a condition of persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock. PTSD often develops within 3 to 6 months of a traumatic event, typically involving disturbance of sleep and constant vivid recall of the experience, with dulled responses to others and daily life.

PTSD can be a result of extreme trauma, such as a terrifying event or ordeal that an individual has experienced, witnessed, or learned about. The experience of extreme trauma causes the individual to feel intense fear, horror, or a sense of helplessness. The stress of the trauma can affect all aspects of the individual’s life including mental, emotional, and physical well-being

Symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Reliving the event through images or flashbacks of the traumatic event
  • Disturbed sleep or nightmares/night terrors or the traumatic event
  • Avoidance of places, people and things that remind them of the traumatic event
  • Important aspects of the trauma become increasingly difficult to remember
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Lack of interest in normal activities you once enjoyed
  • Increased Anxiety
  • Intense anxiety when faced with reminders of the trauma
  • Depression
  • Irritability, react in anger, easily provoked
  • Difficulty concentrating and memory

Having PTSD can be very difficult to manage and often causes problems with relationships, difficulty at work and school, as well as having negative effects on one’s physical health. It is important for someone who is experiencing symptoms for PTSD to seek professional help. If diagnosed, there are several effective approaches to PTSD treatment. Treatment can involve psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both that will help you to develop the tools needed to cope with the trauma you experienced and feel better into your daily life.

Children’s Reaction to Trauma

Children also can have physiological reactions to violence or traumatic events. There is no normal or typical reaction that children may have to these scary events. The younger the child, the more difficult it may be for them to process what happened to themselves or their family/friends.

Just like adults, children have strong feelings however they may not be able to express them as an adult would. Children may not be able to tell you how they are feeling, resulting in them expressing those feelings through their behavior.

Common Reactions to Trauma in Children:

  • Feeling scared, especially when away from parents or at night
  • More dependent and clingy than usual
  • Reverting to babyish behaviors
  • Nightmares, night terrors, trouble sleeping
  • Bed Wetting
  • Physical aches and pains
  • “Bold” behaviors
  • Grumpy and whiny behaviors
  • Temper Tantrums
  • Needy of adult attention
  • Trouble at school, academically and socially

Five Steps to Coping with Violent and Traumatic Events

While it is not uncommon to experience psychological symptoms after experiencing a violent or traumatic event, there are steps that you can take to lessen the effects it may have on you and your loved ones.

After an event is over, American Psychiatric Association recommends following these steps to begin coping with the possible stress that follows a tragedy:

  1. Keep informed about new information and developments but avoid overexposure to news rebroadcasts of the events. Be sure to use credible sources of information to avoid speculation and rumors.
  2. Learn what local resources are available to aid those affected by the tragedy and be prepared to share this information.
  3. If you feel anxious, angry or depressed, you are not alone. Talk to friends, family or colleagues who likely are experiencing the same feelings.
  4. If you have children, keep open dialogues with them regarding their fears and the traumatic event. Let them know that in time, the tragedy will pass. Don’t minimize the danger but talk about your ability to cope with tragedy and get through the ordeal.
  5. Feelings of anxiety and depression following a traumatic event are natural. If these symptoms continue, even after an order has been restored, or if these feelings begin to overwhelm you, seek the advice of a psychiatrist in your community.

If the traumatic event is ongoing, it is important to get help and get yourself to a safe space. Talk to someone you trust about what has happened to you. Family and Friends can be very helpful to you during this time, they will be understanding that you are going through a difficult time and offer you support so you do not feel as if you are going at it alone. Know that what you are feeling is normal, and the feelings will not last forever as long as you deal with them. It is important to confront situations associated with the trauma at a slow pace so that you do not overwhelm yourself, do not avoid them altogether. When you are feeling overwhelmed, take time to do something nice for yourself and distract you from the feelings you have due to this past trauma. It is extremely important not to use drugs or alcohol in efforts to self-medicate, speak to a medical professional for medication assistance if the symptoms are becoming unbearable.

Helping Family or Friends Affected by Trauma

Coping with violent and traumatic events can be difficult as a friend or family member of a victim. You see your loved one struggling in their daily life because of the trauma they endured, and it may feel as if there is nothing you can do to help, but there is. Even though your loved one may seem to be pushing you away, it is important to spend time with them and reassure them that they are safe. Even if the traumatized person hasn’t asked for help directly, offer your support and listen to them.

When someone is traumatized, they may lash out at you or avoid you altogether. Don’t take it personally if they want to be alone, or if they seem angry towards you, it is all normal part of processing the trauma and isn’t truly directed towards you. Let them know you are sorry that they experienced this trauma and want to help them in any way possible. If you too were involved in the traumatic event, try to talk about how they are feeling and how you are feeling, having someone to relate to can help in the healing process.

Helping Children Affected by Trauma

Just like adults, children need time to process the trauma they experienced and to heal, their reactions to the trauma will go away in time. Parents and other adults can help their child recovery in many ways.

When your child has experienced trauma it is important to talk about what happened, how other members of the family feel about it, and how they can help one another. This will help your child from feeling alone in their feelings, they will feel understood and less isolated. Listen to your child and how they feel, give them reassurance that they are safe and you will care for them. Your child may need extra encouragement and special attention, especially at bedtime, do not let this frustrate you.

It is important to allow your child to express how they feel, this may be talking about it, or even drawing. Do not deter them from expressing their feelings even if it comes out with unwanted behaviors, give them reassurance that these feelings will pass and you are there for them. Do not put too much responsibility on your child, it can become a lot of pressure and cause them to break down. Going to school can even be a burden on a child who has experienced trauma, allow them to ease back into their normal life so that they are not overwhelmed. Keep fun in the family with activities that help to take the child’s mind off the trauma and give them feelings of happiness.

With the love and support of family and friends children can get through the trauma they have experienced with minimal stress and symptoms. However, some children may have more severe symptoms, or prolonged reaction to the traumatic event, in which case it is important to seek professional treatment.

Treating PTSD

As terrible as it may sound, overcoming trauma means having to remember it, talk about it and facing your fear of it. You do not have to do this alone, there are professionals that can help you. First, you will start by talking about the trauma briefly, over time you will increase the details of the trauma, this will allow you to deal with the feelings that came with the trauma so that you can move on with your life. The overall goal is so that you face your fears and feelings created by the trauma so that they no longer overwhelm you in your daily life.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is often used for individuals with prolonged symptoms for a traumatic event. CBT can be used alone or with medications depending on the severity of the individuals’ symptoms. This form of therapy involves educating and informing the individual of the signs, symptoms, and effects of PTSD, the role of avoidance and the influence of thoughts and fears. CBT uses anxiety management, such as slow breathing and relaxation. Individuals will gradually speak about the memories of their trauma and work with the therapist to change their thoughts and fears about the traumatic event.

Medication

It is important not to self-medicate with illicit drugs and alcohol when experiencing symptoms from PTSD. If your symptoms of depression and anxiety feel too much to bear on a daily basis speak to your doctor about antidepressant medications to help deal with the symptoms of PTSD. Many people see feel improvements when taking antidepressants, however, it is important to be aware that there are many side effects and risk of dependence. Medications are not used to treat PTSD, they are used to lessen the symptoms of PTSD, it is important to continue with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the treatment of PTSD and plan to use the medication on a short-term basis.

How Do I Get Help?

If you feel overwhelmed by symptoms from experiencing a traumatic event speak to your Doctor. They will help you get in contact with a mental health professional that will help you work through the feelings and fear you are experiencing as a result of trauma.

There are many local and national organizations to help victims of traumatic events, below are a list of some for these organizations;

US Department of Veteran Affairs

800-273-8255

FEMA Disaster Aid Hotline

800-621-FEMA

National Center for Victims of Crime

800-FYI-CALL (800-394-2255)

National Domestic Violence Hotline</h4?

800-799-SAFE (800-799-7233) and 800-787-3224 (TDD)

Mental Health America

800-969-6MHA (6642)

National Organization for Victim Assistance

800-TRY-NOVA (800-879-6682)

National Sexual Assault Hotline

800-656-HOPE (800-656-4673)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

800-273-TALK (800-273-8255)

Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline

800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453)

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

800-THE-LOST (800-843-5678)

SAMHSA’s National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information

800-729-6686

SAMHSA’s Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator

800-662-HELP (4357); 800-487-4889 (TDD); 877-767-8432 (Español)

Witness Justice

800-4WJ-HELP (800-495-4357)

10 Signs you Need Rehab

You’ve recently realized that your drug or alcohol use is increasing beyond what you once considered normal. Perhaps you’ve started going through more drugs than you used to, or you may have noticed that you tend to drink more than your friends when you all go out. While you may even be certain that you have a problem with addiction, you may still be unsure if you are in deep enough to require a trip to rehab.

The effects of drug and alcohol dependency can look a little bit different for everyone. While one person may experience severe physical withdrawal symptoms, others may have strong psychological cravings when they try to stop using on their own. In fact, just suspecting that you are in trouble signifies that you may already be grappling with a serious dependency. Now that you have started to question your drug or alcohol use, take a look at these 10 signs that you need rehab and ask yourself honestly if any apply to your situation.

You Feel the Need to Hide Your Substance Us.

Secretive behavior is a common sign that you know deep within your heart that you are misusing drugs or alcohol. You may have started out drinking alcohol openly in front of your loved ones, but now you feel the need to hide the bottles because you know that you drink more than the recommended daily amounts that are associated with moderate consumption.

Hiding substance use can take several different forms. You may hide the obvious physical evidence such as bottles, pipes, and lighters. Alternatively, you may begin to shift your finances around so that the people you live with cannot see how much money you are spending on your habit. You may also choose to do drugs or drink alone when others are not around to judge your behavior.

You Have Driven Your Car While Under the Influence

Driving under the influence has severe consequences that can ruin both your life and the lives of innocent people. While you may know that you should never get behind the wheel after you have been drinking or doing drugs, you may have made the choice to do so for a variety of reasons.

Severe substance use disorder could cause you to be high or drunk the majority of the day. If this is the case for you, then you may feel the need to drive just to accomplish your daily tasks. You may have also tried to drive to get more drugs or alcohol after you ran out during a session of use.

Denial is also a powerful force that could cause you to refuse to accept that you are out of control or over the normal limits for drinking. As a general rule, you should consider going to treatment if you have driven under the influence recently, even if you felt like you could still drive safely. The truth is that doing it again could cause you to have a severe accident or harm someone else.

You Get Withdrawal Symptoms

Your body develops a physical dependency on drugs and alcohol when you continue to use them over time. Withdrawal symptoms can occur within just a few hours after you stop using drugs or alcohol, or they can kick in within the first few days. Listen to your body for these common withdrawal symptoms that signify a need to go to rehab:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Body aches
  • Insomnia
  • Shaking
  • Irritability
  • Depression

In some cases, withdrawal symptoms can be severe enough to require immediate professional care. Even mild symptoms can be strong enough that you feel the need to return to your former habits just to get relief. Professional treatment programs offer services that can help you through the initial withdrawal process so that you have a stronger chance at making it to long-term recovery.

You Have Tried to Quit Before

You may have already reached the point that you decided to try to stop on your own. Unfortunately, trying to quit drugs or alcohol without professional help leaves the underlying reasons for your addiction unaddressed. For instance, you may have chosen to start drinking again after you had another fight with a family member. Alternatively, you may have turned back to taking prescription painkillers as a way to escape from the pain of past trauma. Going to rehab gives you immediate support for overcoming your personal challenges.

You should also know that having a relapse is not a sign of weakness. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance use disorder has similar rates for relapse as other health conditions that have a psychological component, such as hypertension.

It’s important to remember that the need for multiple treatments stays is not a sign of failure because it is part of the recovery process. You need to be willing to try again if you have tried to quit before in the past. You just get stronger every time you go to treatment.

You Have Hurt Yourself or Someone Else When You Were Drunk or High

The realization that you have hurt yourself or someone else while you were under the influence is unsettling. Sadly, drugs and alcohol affect your personality, and you may have done things that you would never do when you are sober. For instance, you may have gotten into a fight and hit someone without thinking.

Self-harm is another issue that can arise while you are using drugs or alcohol. Perhaps drinking made you feel worse about a problem that you were having and you had suicidal thoughts as a result. You may also have accidents such as falling down stairs that would not have happened if you were sober. Waking up with unexplained cuts, bruises or other injuries after a blackout is another sign that you need to seek professional help in a rehab program.

You Are Having Problems at School or Work

Eventually, drug and alcohol use affects how you perform at school or work. In recent days, you may have decided to stay home due to a hangover or withdrawal symptoms. You may also skip work or school so that you can engage in your substance use habits. Your boss, teachers or co-workers may have also begun to suspect that you have a problem with addiction, and you may have a history of poor performance that was never a problem until your substance use spiraled out of control.

Long-term use of drugs or alcohol may have even caused you to lose your job or quit school completely. Fortunately, getting help with your addiction allows you to regain the ability to return to work and school. Your counselors can even help you with the process of re-entering the workforce once you feel strong enough to take on more responsibilities.

You Have Been Arrested for Drug- or Drinking-Related Charges

Getting arrested is embarrassing and scary, and it may even dramatically alter your life. Every state has laws that regulate drugs and alcohol, and the consequences for breaking the law range from fines to jail time. You will also find that the consequences of repeating the same crime tend to get worse. If you have ever received a citation or been arrested for charges such as public intoxication, possession or driving under the influence, then you need to take this as a serious warning.

While you will still need to deal with your legal issues, going to rehab is a strong step in the right direction. Becoming sober helps you avoid turning into a repeat offender, and you may be able to use your time in rehab to demonstrate responsibility to the court. Everyone makes mistakes, but you don’t have to let a lapse in judgment destroy your future. Seek professional help to ensure that you can avoid continuing down a road of criminal activity.

Your Family and Friends Express Concern

The people who love you the most are often the first ones to speak out when they notice that you have a problem. While you may be tempted to brush off their fears, you should be aware that they may have waited for a while to finally bring the issue up.

Family members and friends sometimes stage interventions where they talk about how their loved one’s substance use affects their life. If you find yourself at an intervention, try not to get angry. Although listening to how your actions have hurt the people you love is upsetting, they are only trying to help you see that you need to go to rehab. Your loved ones may also start to set boundaries and consequences that go into effect if you continue to use drugs or alcohol.

It is painful to watch as your spouse moves out of the house or you realize that your loved ones will no longer support your habit financially. When you feel as though you have lost everyone who cares, however, try to remember that all is not truly lost. In fact, your family and friends are likely to be willing to return to your life once they know you are trying to get sober. Many rehab programs encourage family members to attend therapy sessions so that you can work on mending your relationships.

Your Substance Use Affects Your Health

Alcohol and drug use eventually take a toll on your health. While overdoses are the most obvious health consequence involved with addiction, others may be more subtle. For instance, liver disease is common among those who drink too much alcohol or misuse prescription drugs. Heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory illnesses are a few more potential health consequences that arise from substance use disorder.

Always be honest with your physician about the drugs and alcohol habits that you engage in on a regular basis. Remember that they are not there to judge you, but they can help you understand what normal behavior is. They can also help you know if a stay at a treatment center can help you regain control over your health.

You Want to Get Sober But Have No Idea Where to Start

The endless cycle of drug and alcohol use is exhausting, and you may already detest the negative effects that your lifestyle is having on your well-being and relationships. Yet, you may still be hesitant to try to quit simply because you don’t know what to do.

When you want to quit but don’t know where to start, it helps to know that you have already made one of the first steps toward sobriety. Realizing that you no longer want to continue with your current habits puts you in the right mindset for getting the most out of your treatment. With this decision already made, you can now begin moving forward by going to a rehab program where professional counselors can create a personalized treatment plan that you can follow.

The idea that you need to hit rock bottom before seeking help is a myth that can harm you in the long run. The truth is that you don’t have to lose everything to decide to go to treatment. Instead, you can make the choice today to get help with your addiction so that you can finally begin to enjoy the positive effects of life in recovery.

How do I Prepare for Rehab

Alcohol Awareness Week took place near the end of November, and many people who struggle with alcohol and other addictions are looking forward to a new year and a new life free from the harmful effects of these substances. You are likely interested in the possibility of checking into rehab because you read something about Alcohol Awareness Week or some similar campaign for drug use awareness, and that’s a fantastic life change you are considering.

Getting clean and sober will improve your life in a variety of ways. Your body will get healthier, particularly your heart and liver. Your thinking will improve as will your relationships. All of this will take time, consistency and hard work, but the results are definitely worth the effort. Over the long run, you might need to use several types of drug treatment options at different stages in your recovery.

How do you get ready for rehab? It’s a huge step in your life, and it’s not something that you just jump into in a heartbeat. You will be away at a facility for several weeks. If you have kids, pets, a home, and a job, then you have some things to get in order before walking into rehab. Here are six things you can do to prepare for rehab in the coming weeks.

  1. Submit FMLA Forms to Your Employer

If you are employed, you likely qualify for medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act for up to 12 weeks. This will ensure that you still have a job when you return from rehab, and having that job and income lined up will make your recovery a lot smoother.

However, you can’t just call up your employer one morning on your way to rehab and say, “I won’t be coming in today or for the next couple of months. I’ll be in rehab,” and then just hang up. That’s not fair to your employer. There is a process that you must go through to protect your job. Talk to your boss or contact your company’s human resources department so that you comply with the procedures and submit all of your paperwork ahead of time.

This might sound like a hassle, but holding onto your job while in rehab is actually a very important step in your recovery. Keeping yourself busy and productive upon discharge will be essential to keep you from slipping back into old behavior patterns. Having the structure and schedule that a job requires will be a big help to you in your recovery. Please don’t underestimate the value of this. Having a steady paycheck will also help you keep stress levels down, but even the act of going to work every day can play a big role.

Steady employment is healthy, positive and productive. Working hard at your job and taking pride in your work is good for you. It builds self-confidence. It makes you feel good about yourself, and that alone can be a great help in getting off drugs and alcohol and living a more positive, productive life.

  1. Make Arrangements for Your Kids and Pets

If you are a parent with young kids living with you, you’ll have to make arrangements for them. Your spouse or the children’s other parent will likely be able to care for them after work hours, but they might need to be in a daycare or an after-school program for part of the day.

You could also enlist the aid of a trusted family member such as a parent, sibling or in-law to come to stay at your home and care for your kids while you are away. This might be ideal as they can also bring in the mail, water the lawn and straighten up after themselves. If you have pets, they can take care of your pets, too.

If you don’t have anyone to come to help out at your home, you might need to have the kids stay with a family member or trusted friend at their home. If your treatment is taking place during the school year, you will need to coordinate a temporary transfer with the school district to enable your kids to continue their education in the school district in which they will be residing while you’re in rehab. This will take some time to arrange, so get started with the process as soon as possible.

If nobody will be staying at your home while you’re in rehab and you aren’t able to house your pets with a friend or family member, you’ll need to get either a pet sitter or a pet boarding service.

  1. Make Arrangements for Your Home, Vehicle, and Property

If possible, arrange for a trusted family member or friend to water your lawn and pick up the mail. If you receive newspaper delivery at your home, call up the newspaper and place your subscription on hold while you are away. It’s also a good idea to use a timer for your lights so that they will turn on and off every night.

The point of these tasks is to make it look like your home is occupied and all is normal. Thieves are more likely to target your home if they notice newspapers piling up in the driveway, see the lawn and plants dying or see that the lights are never on at night. Those are signs that nobody is home.

If you have a vehicle and live in an apartment or a condo complex, make sure that you are parked in your designated stall and that your registration and parking permit will not expire while you are gone. Allowing these to expire while you are in rehab might result in your vehicle being towed away. Arrange for these to be paid on time or even ahead of time and for the stickers to be placed on your vehicle for you.

It’s also a good idea to avoid tipping off all your friends on social media that your home will be empty for the next several weeks while you’re in rehab. Instead, just put up a status that says you are taking a break from social media for a while.

If you are single and your home will be vacant during your stay in rehab, take a little time to clean your home. When you walk back through that door after rehab, you don’t want to walk into a filthy, cluttered, disorganized environment. Empty the refrigerator of anything that is likely to spoil within the next 90 days. Straighten up the living room and make your bed. Do all of your laundry, too. Vacuum the floors and clean the bathroom.

Depending on how long you will be away, you may need to shut off your water either at the street or at your water heater.

This is also a good time to purge your home of every trace of your old lifestyle. Get rid of anything that makes you think about drugs and alcohol. Don’t just toss out any paraphernalia, drugs, and bottles. That’s a good place to start, but don’t stop there. Look through your closet and get rid of any clothes that remind you of people or past memories that you associate with drug or alcohol use. If an old band T-shirt reminds you of that concert where you got high or it makes you want to start drinking, then get rid of it.

Get rid of bottle openers, ashtrays, collector’s shot glasses and even CDs that have an emotional pull on you and will stir up feelings and desires for alcohol or drugs when you return from rehab. You have to understand and accept this.

If you’re serious about kicking your addiction, you will need to radically change your lifestyle: out with the old and in with the new. If you take these steps now before beginning rehab, you will greatly increase your chances of success when you return.

  1. Get Your Bills and Finances in Order

One mistake that will likely knock you off course is coming home from rehab to a pile of unpaid bills, disconnection notices, and late fees. These will increase your stress levels and cause unnecessary pressure from the start.

Call up your creditors to see if they can delay your monthly payments for a few months while you are at rehab. Many companies will be happy to work with you to keep your accounts in good standing, but you need to let them know ahead of time what is going on so that payment arrangements can be made.

For creditors that will not delay or minimize payments, you will likely need to set up automatic payments. This will work just fine if you have sufficient funds in your account to cover the payments. If that is a challenge, try to work with family members who are supportive of your rehab efforts to ensure that bills get paid.

  1. Bring What You Need and Leave the Rest at Home

You will need to bring some things with you to Rehab such as clothing and a few personal items. However, for the most part, you won’t need to pack up very much. Your rehab center will provide you with a list of the items you should bring along with a list of items that are prohibited. Do not try to sneak in any controlled substances or prohibited items with you into rehab as these will only make it harder for you to follow through. In some cases, they might even get you kicked out of rehab.

Commit to this process and only bring with you what you need. Many people have found keeping a diary or journal to be a huge help in the recovery process and for dealing with depression and other underlying issues that contribute to substance use.

If you are already in the practice of daily or occasional journaling, bring your journal with you. If not, go pick up a blank diary or spiral notebook for you to write in. Self-reflection and journaling might even be a required part of your rehab. Check with your facility representative to see if they have any specific tips regarding what to bring and what not to bring.

  1. Prepare Your Mind for the Journey Ahead

Getting clean from alcohol and substance addiction is a lifelong journey. It’s not just something that you can do for a few weeks and then find yourself permanently cured. This will be an ongoing process, so be realistic about the commitment that you are undertaking.

Everything is about to change. Your old lifestyle involved certain people, locations, activities, habits and thought patterns. If you want to experience permanent, life-changing results, you need to be willing to cut off from your old life and start over with building something fresh and new. It won’t happen overnight, and it might not happen without support and accountability to others. However, if you commit to making these changes and follow through, it will happen.

Begin thinking about your new life. Think more about prevention than willpower. Willpower and inner strength will not always be there, so it’s much better to prevent yourself from being in situations where temptation exists in the first place. This will mean engineering your environment so that willpower won’t even be necessary most of the time.

Be aware of the habits, locations, and people in your old life that trigger desires for substance use, and then avoid those situations and people. This is a difficult change, but it’s necessary for you to get well. Awareness and prevention go hand in hand. Being realistic about the journey ahead will go a long way toward securing your success.

In the end, your recovery is in your hands. There are many people who want to help you succeed from your family members, co-workers, and friends to health care professionals and social workers in your community. Ultimately, your success is your responsibility. You can make these changes stick by accepting personal responsibility for your life and by taking advantage of the assistance and resources that are available.

What is a PHP Program?

What is a PHP? A Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) is a type of outpatient treatment program that has been found effective in treating addiction. These programs are designed to help people who can benefit from structured treatment but who do not need medical assistance or supervision 24 hours a day. PHP programs can be modified or customized to fit the requirements of the patient, and treatment can be delivered at varying care levels.

The treatment in this sort of program is intensively focused on the patient’s recovery, and it takes place in an environment that fosters the patient’s transition out of addiction and into a responsible, productive life. PHP programs are an alternative to residential or inpatient treatment options, and they may be more intense than other outpatient treatments.

What Is the PHP Treatment Model?

A Partial Hospitalization Program might make use of a number of different therapies to achieve its goals. Among the options commonly employed by these programs are:

Individual therapy

Addiction counselors or other health professionals consult with the patient to explore the triggers and causes of drug or alcohol use. The goals of this type of therapy are to address the patient’s denial and the underlying causes of the addiction so that they can focus on the recovery process.

Group therapy

Sessions in group therapy involve an addiction treatment counselor and a group of people who are recovering from addiction. The people in the group are encouraged to discuss emotions, experiences, coping mechanisms, aspirations and anything else that could be related to overcoming drug or alcohol addiction.

Family therapy

In this sort of therapy, members of the patient’s family, along with an addiction therapist, meet together to help the patient see the reality of the situation and to guide him or her to recovery. In some cases, a family member can be an enabling factor or even the cause of the addiction, but family therapy can provide a safe environment to address these issues.

History of Partial Hospitalization Programs

Partial Hospitalization Programs were originally developed in the 1960s with a focus on the treatment of mental illness. They were designed to help people who needed an intensive level of care but who would also benefit from being part of the community. It was also meant to help people who were struggling with mental disorders but who had safe, stable homes to return to the following treatment.

The Medicaid regulations changed in the 1980s, making Partial Hospitalization Programs more viable for health care and recovery centers. The number of partial hospitalization options nationwide increased significantly through the 1990s until restrictions were placed on them. Around that same time, the idea began to take hold that addiction was tied to mental and behavioral illness rather than being simply a question of willpower.

Partial Hospitalization Programs are still primarily designed to help individuals who have mental health issues, but there is significant overlap of this group with those who want to stop using substances or alcohol. The programs developed into a method of helping those people who want to overcome addiction without joining an inpatient program.

Who Can Benefit From a Partial Hospitalization Program?

Partial Hospitalization Programs are often recommended for people who have already gone through inpatient addiction treatment and who can benefit from transitional coaching as they reintegrate into the community. They are also recommended for people who need more structure and supervision than is available in traditional outpatient treatment programs.

On the other hand, a PHP might not be right for people who need constant monitoring or who do not have transportation or housing. Inpatient treatment may be a better option for people who:

  • Will be tempted to do drugs if they return to their homes and social circles
  • Are homeless
  • Are victims of domestic abuse or other violence
  • Have learning disabilities or structural brain issues and will not benefit from PHP therapy sessions
  • Require 24-hour medical supervision or care following an overdose
  • Might become dangerous due to withdrawal symptoms
  • Need a methadone treatment program
  • Lack community or family support

Primary Functions of Partial Hospitalization Programs

A taxonomy has been proposed for PHP options. Three primary functions of partial hospitalization treatment have been identified.

First, it is an alternative to more restrictive inpatient treatment. Second, it is a supplement to traditional vocational rehabilitation or outpatient treatment. As an outpatient supplement, a Partial Hospitalization Program can provide added intensity periodically throughout the treatment without requiring admission into the hospital or treatment center. Third, a Partial Hospitalization Program can provide an opportunity for functional maintenance while the patient remains part of the larger community.

Variations of Partial Hospitalization Programs

The ways in which medical appointments and therapy can be scheduled and structured might vary widely among different PHP options. They are often flexible enough to change with the needs of the patient. The number and structure of the therapy sessions required might range from as little as two hours each day for three days a week up to eight hours each day for five days a week.

Different Partial Hospitalization Programs might make use of many different types of mental health and other health care professionals. Among those who could be involved are:

  • Social workers
  • Occupational therapists
  • Recreational therapists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychologists
  • Nurses
  • Pharmacists
  • Peer support workers

Most Partial Hospitalization Programs require between four and five days of therapy each week, and each therapy session can range from four to eight hours. The day will have breaks scheduled in to break up intense therapy sessions. Typically, a minimum of 10 hours per week is required, and it is rare for patients to attend therapy sessions for more than 50 hours per week. On average, patients attend treatment for 20 hours a week.

PHP Versus Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment for substance or alcohol abuse requires patients to live in a treatment facility 24 hours a day. Patients in this type of treatment program are separated from their previous lives. This means the patient has barriers between themselves and the outside world of influences, both positive and negative. The idea with an inpatient program is to provide a safe environment so that a patient can focus solely on sobriety and overcoming the issues that led to addiction.

Therapy sessions during inpatient treatment might make use of many of the same techniques and professionals that Partial Hospitalization Programs use. Typically, an inpatient program lasts at least 30 days, and some programs last as long as a year. The length of the program depends on a number of factors, including the patient’s specific plan of treatment, the severity of the patient’s addiction and the patient’s other obligations.

People who are in an inpatient addiction treatment program typically go through the phases of detoxification, hospitalization and residential treatment. All of these components take place while the patient lives at the treatment facility. A Partial Hospitalization Program, by contrast, allows the patient the freedom to move between the treatment facility and the outside community. In a partial hospitalization scenario, the patient shows up to the hospital at scheduled times for therapy and returns home after the session is over.

PHP Versus Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is a strong option for people who are dealing with substance or alcohol use but who do not meet the diagnostic criteria for inpatient or residential treatment. It can also be useful in providing continued support for patients after they’ve been discharged from an inpatient program.

This type of therapy is less costly than inpatient options and works well for people who have a solid support structure and other obligations outside of therapy. While they are less intensive than inpatient treatment options, many outpatient programs are effective because of their drug education components.

Partial Hospitalization Programs, by contrast, are a high-intensive treatment option. While outpatient addiction therapy might call for only weekly or biweekly sessions totaling less than eight hours of treatment, PHP options usually demand a minimum of 10 therapeutic hours per week.

The popularity of Partial Hospitalization Programs

Nationwide, Partial Hospitalization Programs have grown tremendously in popularity in recent years. This growth might be a reflection of certain benefits offered by partial hospitalization methods over other treatment options. According to the findings of a research study, 2.5 percent of non-disabled adults and 5.4 percent of disabled adults chose PHP options for treatment of addiction. The study covered a group of 32,037 people.

The authors of the study said the low percentages of people choosing PHPs might be due to a lack of public knowledge about the existence or effectiveness of these programs. As they are becoming more popular, though, PHPs are likely to draw increased attention from researchers and addiction patients alike. This sort of therapy has also shown promise in treating eating disorders.

PHP Benefits

A Partial Hospitalization Program can be the ideal way for a patient dealing with addiction to transition from inpatient treatment, which is the most intense and highest level of treatment, to outpatient treatment, where there is significantly less supervision and structure. Generally, PHPs are significantly more affordable than inpatient programs, which means more people can afford to get help.

All forms of addiction treatment were made more widely available to Americans by the Affordable Care Act, and insurance companies are more likely to approve payment for PHP options than they are for inpatient treatment. Because PHPs offer a longer treatment period at a reduced cost, insurance funds are likely to last longer for people in PHP treatment.

These programs also allow people who need addiction treatment but also have another home, work or family obligations to get treatment on terms that don’t demand all of their time or attention. The flexibility of PHPs and the reduced hours they require leave time for the patient to schedule and address other commitments. Participants in Partial Hospitalization Programs also have the chance to develop new or existing support communities with people who are not part of the treatment.

Conclusion

PHPs offer something of a middle ground between inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment options. They are typically utilized by people who have been hospitalized for substance use and who have been discharged following some level of treatment for addiction. They might be effective for people who:

  • Have a current diagnosis of a substance or an alcohol use disorder
  • Need regular monitoring by medical professionals but are stable enough to spend significant time without supervision
  • Are not at risk for self-harm
  • Are mental, physically and emotionally capable of going through several hours of intensive therapy at a time for several days each week
  • Have symptoms of detox that are moderate or mild and manageable without constant medical oversight
  • Are not currently capable of daily functioning but who have sufficient family and community support to avoid relapse

Partial Hospitalization Programs commonly offer detox support, but it is also common for patients to go through detox in an inpatient program and then join a PHP following inpatient treatment. Withdrawal symptoms only rarely rise to the level of threatening the life of the patient, but they can. Withdrawal from a severe addiction to alcohol or benzodiazepines can be life-threatening and may require 24-hour supervision to watch for heart attacks, seizures or other dangerous side effects until the patient has cleared the initial withdrawal period.

PHPs can be a good option for people who are tapering down their alcohol or substance use or who can make use of intensive therapy to alter their behaviors. These programs also act as an effective transition plan between inpatient and outpatient therapy options. People who believe they might benefit from addiction therapy should consider and discuss their options with medical professionals or trusted friends and family so that they can make an informed decision about the treatment option that may be the most effective for them.

What to do if an addict refuses treatment

Confronting the fact that a friend or a family member doesn’t really want to enter a recovery program in order to treat an addiction may leave you wondering what to do next. Just as treating an addiction is a process that needs to be very structured, it’s also important to take a structured approach to talk with anyone who might refuse treatment. More importantly, regardless of how an attempt to help them might turn out, you need to continue to be supportive to ensure that when the time comes for them to enter recovery, they’ll have people there to assist them.

Step 1: Acknowledge the Situation

When someone chooses to refuse treatment, it may raise some questions about whether they’re really an addict. People coping with drug or alcohol use disorders often can present very compelling arguments that they’re not in trouble. They may explain that they:

  • Only drink or get high to let off steam on the weekend
  • Insist that they’re highly functional
  • Are already cutting back their usage
  • Have fears they’ll lose their job if they are admitted to a treatment center
  • Need to be around to take care of their family
  • Will enter recovery after some big event, such as the holidays, a wedding, etc.
  • Won’t be able to afford rehab
  • Are worried about exposure to criminal charges

Rarely does a rational argument win out in these situations, so try to not dig in and make the discussion into a fight. The big thing is to recognize that you’re dealing with an addicted individual and you need to begin to take other steps to help them toward recovery. With the idea clearly framed, you’ll be able to confront other situations that might come up, such as if they beg you for money or need help making bail. This will ensure you don’t contribute more to the current problem.

Step 2: Learn More

Especially when dealing with an addict who refuses to seek help, it’s prudent to get educated about dealing with substance use disorders. You may also want to learn more about treating an overdose and obtain a supply of an antidote like Narcan if a loved one is using heroin or another opiate. It’s also wise to take a CPR course if you haven’t already been certified.

If you’re concerned that the person you care about is headed toward being charged with a crime, it’s also a good idea to talk with a drug law attorney. Conducting a consultation will give you a sense of how to address the situation if an addict is arrested. You can ask questions about things like the following:

  • Does your state offer any diversion programs?
  • Can someone charged with an offense still refuse treatment?

You’ll also want to get up to speed on the symptoms of different types of drugs, particularly if you’re not quite sure what the individual you’re dealing with is actually using. This is especially important to know if you’re worried that they’re engaged in mixed drug use, such as using cocaine to dial back the effects of heroin. Develop a written list of signs that your friend or family member is dealing with the misuse of specific drugs.

Step 3: Start Identifying What’s Going On

Having attained some degree of education about drugs and their symptoms, you should begin to figure out precisely what sort of situation your loved one is coping with. The first order of business is determining what drugs they’re actually using. Every drug has its own list of effects.

Someone who is using heroin, for example, might:

  • Seem out of it at times
  • Struggle to remember commitments
  • Withdraw from social life, especially interactions with non-users
  • Display medical issues, such as seizures or decreased breathing

On the flip side, a cocaine addict may be more likely to act:

  • Confrontational
  • Energetic
  • Twitchy
  • Violent
  • Panicky
  • Paranoid

You’ll also want to keep an eye for indicators that your loved one’s life is being disrupted by their misuse of alcohol or drugs. Regardless of the specific substance that might be abused, you may notice that they:

  • Aren’t grooming their hair as well as they used to
  • Haven’t bathed recently
  • Neglect to change their clothes
  • Try to hide their eyes by wearing sunglasses at inappropriate times
  • Disappear into the bathroom for unexplained reasons
  • Start forming friendships with people who use drugs

You may also begin to spot physical changes that are occurring, such as the phase that meth and cocaine users go through when they’re losing excess weight. As the addiction cycle continues, they’re likely to hit a point where they go from looking thin to downright scrawny.

By identifying the specific indications of a particular drug problem, you can start looking into treatment options tailored to the unique situation, such as dealing with someone who has a dual diagnosis. Even if they currently refuse treatment, it’s a good idea to have a recovery center in mind for when they come around. This will improve the chances they’ll get on board quickly during the period where they’re receptive to getting help.

Step 4: Get Them Medical Attention

Visiting a doctor and conducting a checkup may serve to give an addict a clearer picture of what they’re actually up against with a substance use disorder. This can frame the conversation in ways they might not have previously considered, such as learning about:

  • How much weight they’ve lost
  • Declines in motor skills
  • Diminished cognitive abilities
  • How their condition might continue to get worse
  • Toxicology reports
  • The effects of different drugs

It’s a good idea to give the doctor a heads-up about the situation before bringing an addict in for an exam. This will allow them to focus on a conversation that points your family member or friend toward recovery options. The experience may also provide better guidance regarding what specific drugs are being used.

Step 5: Stop Contributing to a Substance Use Problem

One of the more insidious aspects of addiction is that it compels people to seek money to fund their use. An addict may come straight out and ask for money, but they’ll often frame it as needing to cover rent or utility bills. Don’t assume that a presentation of bills is a legitimate reason for giving an addict money. It’s normal for a person with a substance use disorder to pay for drugs first, ask for money to cover bills and only then pay to keep the lights on. People with extreme addictions may be tempted to just buy more drugs.

An especially tricky aspect of this problem is that a user will often find ways around attempts to not contribute to their situation. You may try, for example, to directly buy something they need only to watch them turn around and sell it to convert into cash for drugs or alcohol. Friends and family often end up cutting addicts off completely in these situations.

It’s essential to make it known that you still care and that you’ll gladly help them if they need a ride to a recovery center. You don’t, however, want to put yourself in a situation where your finances are endangered because of their substance use disorder.

Step 6: Make a Clear Offer of Help

By this point, you should have collected a lot of information about the condition your loved one is in, what they’re using and which nearby treatment facilities are likely to offer suitable programs. At this stage, having acknowledged what the situation is and stopped contributing to it, you need to clearly state that you’re willing to help them get drug and alcohol counseling.

It’s normal for an addict to be emotional under such circumstances. You may be subjected to an outburst from them, or they might withdraw in the hope that non-engagement will kill the conversation. No matter what turn the discussion takes, you should:

  • Avoid being angry
  • Stay focused on the topic of recovery
  • Offer support
  • Refrain from being judgmental
  • Avoid escalating the situation with threats, such as saying you’ll call the police
  • Not use guilt
  • Remain encouraging

You should also try to avoid emotionally overcommitting to this moment. Many people with addiction issues don’t immediately jump in the car and go straight to rehab. With a little luck, they’ll understand, and you won’t eventually need to conduct a full-on intervention. You should, however, be prepared to provide steady friendship and support while they come to the conclusion themselves rather than being shocked if they refuse treatment. Knowing that you’ll be there to assist them in the process when the time comes will make it easier if they have a rock-bottom moment and decide to get help.

Step 7: Assess the Situation

Whether they refuse treatment or decide to go to rehab, you’ll need to assess where the situation stands. If they elect to go into recovery, you’ll need to make calls, set up an intake and provide transportation. Should they decide against entering rehab, you’ll need to start thinking about how to conduct an intervention.

Bear in mind that interventions don’t work the way they do on TV. A group of people don’t dramatically present an ultimatum and then watch as an addict emotionally caves. It’s often prudent to talk with a counselor at a treatment center, and it may be necessary to have a professional present to regulate the discussion during the intervention.

Step 8: Conducting an Intervention

Staging an intervention should take a couple weeks. You should be especially serious in thinking about who you invite to it. It’s critical that everyone who participates will be someone who can remain focused on the goal of directing the person to seek treatment. You don’t want to end up with people digging up old emotional wounds, screaming about unpaid debts and derailing the effort by providing anger or tears as conversational direction. If you have any doubts about the capacity of a potential participant to stay on point the entire time, do not include them.

Sort out everyone’s schedules to ensure they can be present. If possible, try to reserve a space that’s neutral, such as a conference room in a community center, in order to avoid reminders of emotional moments with the person you wish to help. You should also conduct a rehearsal in order to hear what everyone will say and place an emphasis on taking turns and staying on a defined script, even if your loved one tries to knock the intervention off course. Have contingencies in place in case the person decides to enter rehab right away, but be willing to accept that they may still refuse treatment.

Step 9: Following Through on Support

Helping someone get to a treatment center doesn’t mean your job is done. If they’re there on an outpatient basis, they may need rides back and forth. If they’re doing inpatient treatment, it will be helpful for visitors to come by regularly to check up on them. Someone should also be prepared to collect them when they’re done, and it’s important to have transportation for follow-up work, such as going to counseling sessions after completing treatment.

Recovery is a process, and it continues for years after the end of rehab. Don’t allow something that might feel like a major slip-up discourage you or your loved one, even if they’ve been clean for months. Remain supportive and keep a clear focus on what’s important: finding a path to a healthier and more stable life.