Helping A Loved One - Sovereign Health Group

Helping A Loved One

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If you are reading this, it is probably because you know or suspect that a loved one – a child who is a young adult, a parent, a spouse or sibling, or someone else you care about – has a substance abuse, a mental health problem or both. You may just have suspicions, or you may be certain.

Millions of people have difficulties with substance abuse, and one in five Americans will have a mental health issue in his or her lifetime. Some people have a dual diagnosis of two or more co-occurring disorders. These conditions are diseases caused by a combination of factors including biology, heredity and environmental issues that shape personality. Some people are more vulnerable than others, so it is important for patients and health care providers to understand underlying causes and appropriate coping skills and mechanisms.

While your loved one’s problem is not your problem, it is still something that you are living with. One of the most difficult things when dealing with a substance abuse or mental health problem is the feeling of helplessness when you don’t know what action to take. You have come to the right place for help.

Sovereign Health of California is a leading behavioral health provider, accredited by and dually licensed for treatment of mental health, addiction and dual diagnosis. We can help you learn more about treatment. Please contact our 24/7 helpline listed on this webpage.


Talking to Your Loved One

Having a conversation with a loved one about mental health or addiction is never easy. First of all, many people do not realize the extent of their problem or how it affects their lives or the lives of others. Even if they are aware of the problem, being confronted about it is likely to provoke an emotional or defensive reaction.

Many people are afraid of confrontation with anyone. When it comes to a loved one, a common fear is that a confrontation will damage the relationship. But the relationship is already strained because of substance abuse or mental illness, and it is probably deteriorating. You may want to bring matters into the open, but you hesitate because you don’t know the best way to go about it. Meanwhile, if both parties are willing to pretend that there is no problem, then it is unlikely that there will be any effort to find a resolution.

Fear and Denial

Despite efforts to overcome it, some people still attach social stigma to certain diseases involving addiction and mental health. People who suspect that they have these conditions may be afraid of the stigma as well as discrimination. However, without assessment, diagnosis and treatment, a person will continue to have episodes of illness that could be managed with more information, education and the right tools.

This can have serious consequences for education, employment, relationships and the overall quality of a person’s life.

Some people get treatment, but then relapse. That happens more often than many people realize. For example, research suggests that 50 to 80 percent of people who are treated for substance abuse resume using within a year. One cause is exposure to triggers that overpower a person’s coping skills. Another problem is incomplete diagnosis – for example, some people abuse substances in order to deal with an undiagnosed mental health problem, so if they only get treatment for an addiction, they will resume substance abuse when there is another episode of mental illness.


Starting the Conversation With a Loved One

How you say something is at least as important as what you say. If you want a productive conversation with a loved one about substance abuse or addiction, be aware that it may get heated. Starting the conversation when one or both of you are upset will be constructive.

The most important thing to do is to start out by explaining that the reason you want to have this discussion is because you care about the other person. Once you get to your concerns about the other person’s behavior, be prepared for anger. Your loved one may be angry, or may try to conceal shame and embarrassment with anger. Do your best to remain calm, and not react emotionally.

It is often helpful to have a mental agenda or script that you can try to follow, so that the conversation does not go off track. Remember that it is legitimate to talk about yourself and your feelings, but don’t make accusations or blame the other person.


Is a Formal Intervention Necessary?

Sometimes, a formal intervention is the most effective way of handling a situation with a loved one, particularly if the situation is related to abuse of drugs or alcohol. An intervention can also be helpful for other behavioral health issues such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or other conditions. An intervention is a staged event where a group of people can express their concerns about a loved one. A professional interventionist can provide guidance on how to hold an intervention, or be actively involved.


Getting Treatment May be Easier Than You Think

For treatment to be successful, it must be the right treatment, so a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis are essential for recovery. Sovereign Health provides a thorough assessment, as well as comprehensive treatment that is customizes to each client’s needs. Sovereign Health makes it easy to get the treatment your loved one needs, because we have a variety of evidence-based residential programs for mental health, addiction or dual diagnosis. To learn more about what we offer and how we can help you find the help your loved one needs, contact our 24/7 helpline listed on this webpage.


Sovereign Health of California

Located in beautiful San Clemente, Sovereign Health of California is a dual diagnosis treatment facility. We treat underlying and concurrent mental health and substance abuse disorders, including detox (under medical supervision if required). Clients receive a thorough assessment as part of the admissions process. The treatment plan is customized to each individual’s needs, and will include a combination of individual and group therapy as well as complementary alternative programs such as yoga, meditation, equine therapy, music and art therapy, and even nutritional education. At Sovereign Health, we treat each client as a person, not a disorder.

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