What Should I Say to a Loved One in Alcohol Detox?

When someone decides to seek alcohol detox, it can be a scary time for everyone involved, including friends, family members, spouses, and children. The most important thing to remember is that, if your loved one is going into alcohol detox in Florida, this is the best, safest option for their recovery from addiction.
Still, you may be wondering how you should talk to someone you love who has chosen to seek out alcohol rehab or detox treatment. There are certain tips we can give you for what to say when your friend or family member is in treatment as well as advice on how you can help yourself deal with your feelings toward their addiction.

What Does It Mean to Be in Alcohol Detox?

You may not be fully familiar with what alcohol detox treatment is or what this part of the recovery process means. In general, it means that your loved one is in need of help because they have become dependent on alcohol.
Alcohol dependence leads to alcohol withdrawal when one decides to stop drinking. According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), it can cause symptoms that range from fatigue, mood swings, and nightmares to vomiting, anxiety, and depression. It could also lead to a syndrome called delirium tremens, which is an actual medical emergency. It’s hard to determine whether someone will experience the more severe symptoms of withdrawal, which can occur suddenly and without warning.
For these reasons, it’s best for a patient to go through alcohol withdrawal under professional medical supervision. Medications are used to minimize withdrawal symptoms, and patients are often given the opportunity to begin therapy, which can make the transition from detox to alcohol rehab much easier.

Will I Be Able to Talk to My Loved One During Alcohol Detox?

This depends on the needs of the patient and the severity of their condition. In some situations, it can be beneficial for someone in addiction treatment to take some time away from friends and family members and simply focus on getting better. This can be especially true of any detox, but particularly of alcohol detox, which can create a need for sedation during the most severe periods.
In most cases, however, patients will be encouraged to speak to their family members and friends during designated hours; visitation can also be arranged. In some cases, family therapy may also be an appropriate option during detox, alcohol rehab, or both treatment periods. Depending on your loved one’s situation, you might also be able to arrange for periodic updates on their welfare. This is only allowed if your loved one signs their consent for us to share their personal information with specific individuals.

What Will My Loved One Be Like When They’re in Detox?

This question is hard to answer, particularly because alcohol withdrawal can cause such disparate symptoms from one individual to another. Sometimes, people experience mild withdrawal symptoms and need only stabilizing medication to keep them from experiencing difficult symptoms. They may be completely lucid and able to carry on conversations easily. In other situations, the individual may require more intensive treatment that could leave them groggy. It’s important that you talk with your loved one and make sure they will be able to provide their consent so you can be kept informed as to how their treatment plan will work.
Your loved one may also enter treatment involuntarily, or may simply feel physically and emotionally drained, frustrated, or ashamed. The truth is that addiction affects everyone differently, and many people who begin treatment feel differently about it over the course of their care.

What Should I Say to a Loved One in Alcohol Detox?

When you do speak to your loved one who suffers alcohol abuse or alcoholism, it’s important to follow a few specific rules and think about what you will say beforehand:
Try to stay positive. Your loved one shouldn’t have to hear about how they hurt you just now or other issues you may be waiting to bring up. They are going through a difficult period, and unless you are working through these feelings together in family therapy, it’s best to wait until your loved one has become more stable before tackling those issues.
Show your support. Your loved one is having to rely on him or herself during treatment, possibly in ways he or she never has before. Knowing they have friends, family members, or a significant other at home who is rooting for them to get better is incredibly important. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), having the positive involvement of a family member or significant other in a patient’s treatment for alcohol or drug addiction can actually maximize and prolong the benefits of treatment. In essence, you are helping your loved one just by showing your support.
Provide love and care. Your job while your loved one is in treatment is not to fix them. In fact, it’s never your responsibility to fix someone else. Instead, your job is to provide your support and your love. Telling your loved one that you care for them and that you love them is never wasted time, and it can help them remember they’ve got a reason to get better.
Use honesty. As stated by NIDA, lying is a big part of addiction. Addicts often lie because they are afraid of losing the people in their lives but also of not being able to use. As such, they begin to tell falsehoods in order to try and keep both things in their lives. In treatment, people with addictions are taught to be more honest—with themselves, with their caregivers, and with their loved ones. Providing the same sort of calm, kind honesty can help them as well as you.

What to Say to Your Loved One:

  • “I’m proud of you.”
  • “You’re doing great.”
  • “We’ll keep working on this together.”
  • “I care about you.”
  • “I’m so happy you’re getting better.”

What Not to Say to Your Loved One:

  • “I’m so mad at you.”
  • “You better not relapse.”
  • “You needed to hit rock bottom before you could get better.”
  • “You need to learn to be stronger.”
  • “You owe me for XYZ …”
Above everything else, your loved one needs your support as they navigate recovery. Alcohol detox is going to be one of the hardest parts of their recovery process, so remember your loved one needs to know that you love them, that you’re glad they’re getting help, and that you will be there for them, every step of the way.

Getting Help for You

Recovering from addiction isn’t just about getting help for the addict. Often, those who are around an addicted person need to learn about the ways in which they enabled their loved one so they can avoid it in the future as well as how to deal with the hurt and pain they have experienced when it came to their loved one’s addiction. Seeking therapy with a licensed therapist is often a good way to get the help you need, or you can find a group, like Al-Anon, that meets for the specific purpose of helping the loved ones of addicts.
Getting your loved one into treatment is necessary for their safe recovery. Summer House Detox Center is a great option for those who have lost control over their alcohol use and need detox as well as addiction treatment. You should also remember to consider seeking treatment that suits your recovery too, whether it’s professional therapy, a support group, or another type of program suited to helping the loved ones of addicts. Remember, you and your spouse, family member, or friend can also recover from the painful ordeal of addiction and begin a better life.

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