There is no easy way to convince a loved one to enter treatment for a disorder, whether related to substance abuse or food. Even though signs may abound that professional help is needed and everyone involved knows so, seeking treatment is an incredibly hard step to take.
But despite the sensitivity of the situation, there are ways parents, children, relatives and others can try to appeal to loved ones. In many cases, it comes down to framing the conversation the right way, mitigating conflict and planning it all out.
It's much easier said than done; but when so much is on the table, concerned family need ways to approach individuals with solutions. Here are some things to keep in mind when trying to help a family member agree to treatment for a substance abuse or eating disorder.
Build an approach
It's important to have as defined as possible a plan before you formally broach the subject of treatment. Springing the question can create pressure and stress that an individual may respond badly to, setting everyone back in the process. While it can be difficult to build that case, a thought-out intervention can be an effective pitch. While unique personal circumstances and severity will decide the timeline for this planning phase, gather experiences, evidence and anecdotes can make an impression and inform arguments for treatment. It may be useful to consult a substance abuse or crisis counselor to help prepare.
Empathy is not always an easy or innate quality to effect. However, it's needed when talking with a loved one suffering from a substance abuse or eating disorder. Placing one's self in another's shoes is not a simple exercise. Yet trying to appreciate where pain, hesitation, reluctance, fear or other resistant behaviors and emotions come from can help level the playing field for an agreement to enter treatment. Empathy can lead to understanding, so try to keep a conscious and open mind.
The decision lies outside them
All the right efforts can be made, but the sooner family accepts that the decision is not up to them, the better. It can certainly be difficult to cede this control, given the stakes, but it's a reality family has to come to terms with. In a sense, it can be advantageous to the process if admitted from the outset, making it easier to pursue a solution in good faith. Family must consider their own well-being as well, which is no easy task either. Accepting that the decision rests with the individual does not preclude exerting all the effort family thinks is needed to sway a loved one toward treatment. It is, however, healthy to set boundaries, even in the toughest of life situations.
Mustering support and encouragement from all corners of the family — and community at large — can be a persuasive tacit. While having one-on-one conversations may be part of the overall process in convincing a loved one to enter treatment, bringing other family members or stakeholders into the process can help tip the scales. Demonstrating to loved ones how they affect the ones around them may not be a pleasant picture to depict, but it can be a forceful one.
Don't limit the coalition to just family, whether extended or close relations. Consider asking friends, neighbors or old teachers and coaches to write letters. Contacting professional help like therapists or intervention experts can help expand the toolkit and further reinforce upon the individual there is an entire team of people in their corner.
Know what treatment options exist
Before you recommend a path of action, you have to know where it leads. Floating vague calls to enter treatment may not resonate enough to actually convince a loved one. However, when presented with tangible steps and possible treatment solutions, that path forward can become clearer. This entails doing some research on local options, as well as other locations further away if they can offer specialized, quality service. This all contributes to having a defined plan to appeal to a loved one and further sets the table for a potential breakthrough.
As noted, having such conversations around entering treatment won't be quick or painless. But the more thought that's put in, the more chance for a positive outcome. If you need help trying to get a loved one agree to treatment, contact Fairwinds Treatment Centers today.