One of the most painful things a family can go through is addiction. Rest assured, there are plenty of resources to help your loved one get the treatment he or she needs. Caring is the first step. Learn how to take that next crucial step, to approach your loved one about their addiction problem.
Double board-certified in both general and addiction psychiatry, Harvard-trained psychiatrist Hadi Estakhri, MD treats a range of disorders, including addiction, at Allied Psychiatry and Mental Health in Newport Beach, California. Employing a holistic approach, Dr. Estakhri works with each patient in tandem with other specialists or physicians, as needed. He can also counsel you about how to talk about addiction treatment with the one you love.
The ins and outs of addiction
Some of us are more susceptible to certain cravings and urges. The more that particular substance is used or behavior takes place, the more the craving intensifies, resulting in addiction. Whether to substances or repetitive destructive behaviors, such as gambling, the addiction eventually disrupts processes in the brain responsible for judgment and impulse control, making it even more difficult to quit.
Help your loved one who suffers from addiction
Someone in the midst of addiction may not even recognize it. Confronting them is never easy. Here are some suggestions to make your conversation productive.
- Schedule time together to talk about their behavior.
- Never discuss the problem when either of you is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Speak to them one-on-one, which feels less intrusive than a group intervention.
- Find ways to help them recognize their addictive behavior.
- Remain calm and talk to them from a place of compassion and concern.
- Don’t shame or threaten them.
- Discuss specific incidents or behaviors you’ve witnessed that may have affected you directly.
- When, and if, they’re ready to receive help, discuss possible avenues.
- Set reasonable goals, boundaries, and expectations.
- Reinforce your feelings by telling them you care and want them to get help.
Dr. Estakhri is available to help as soon as your loved one is ready.
When and how to discuss addiction
Dr. Estakhri recommends choosing the right time and place to speak to your loved one about his or her addiction problem. Set limits regarding what behavior is acceptable to you and other family members. In addition:
- Maintain a dialogue. Air your concerns and let them explain how they perceive their situation.
- Use open-ended questions. “What do you think about getting help?” is better than, “Will you agree to get help?” The differences are subtle. The first requires more than a one-word answer and hopefully helps your loved one open up.
- Avoid blaming or shaming them.
- Steer the conversation away from discussing their motives and focus on the problem at hand, which is getting treatment.
- Remain patient. Remember, this may be the first time your loved one hears or even realizes he or she has an addiction problem.
How to arrange a group intervention
If you’ve tried to discuss the problem with your loved one and they won’t listen to your concerns, it may be time to stage an intervention. Dr. Estakhri can guide you through the process.
- Plan a time when all concerned parties can congregate at a private spot where your loved one will feel safe.
- Allow a few hours, so everyone can convey his or her feelings.
- Avoid making your loved one feel trapped. Let them know they can leave at will.
- Once they are willing to seek treatment, let them know about Dr. Estakhri or other treatment centers.
- Offer to bring them to the office or center.
Help is a phone call away
It’s always preferable to get help for addiction before “hitting bottom.” People recover more quickly when confronted sooner rather than later. Early treatment is usually less intense and disruptive. If you, or someone you love, face the challenge of addiction, call or make an appointment online with Dr. Estrakhi at Allied Psychiatry and Mental Health today.