Preparing a Loved One for Addiction Treatment [How-To]

Detoxification is the first step towards preparing for addiction treatment. Detox programs are set in place in order to safely guide your family member through the withdrawal process. This can be done through a detox program at a medical facility and it is conducted in a controlled safe environment. As members of the family, you get to be your loved one’s support system through this difficult time. Preparing for addiction treatment through detoxification is a process that will require patience and understanding.

If a family member of yours is considering preparing for addiction treatment call us today and we can help you get started with the detoxification process. Call us at 912-214-3867 where we can answer any questions or concerns you may have. A happy, healthy, and sober life is just around the corner for your loved one. 


Preparing for treatment can be a challenge. Continue reading below for information about getting yourself or someone you love into rehab. If you require additional assistance, then contact us today.

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Detoxification is Not Rehabilitation

Detoxification is designed as the first step in preparing for addiction treatment. However, detoxification is not rehabilitation. Detoxing means that your loved one has to rid their body of the drugs or alcohol that they are constantly putting into their system. 

According to NCBI, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, detoxification is a “medical intervention that manages an individual safely through the process of acute withdrawal. A detoxification program is not designed to resolve the long-standing psychological, social, and behavioral problems associated with alcohol and drug abuse. Detoxification is not substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation”. 

Moreover, substance abuse treatment is a step that follows detoxification. In fact, you cannot be treated for addiction while you are still on the substance. Therefore, you first have to ‘become clean’. Detoxification is also called a withdrawal process. The body is flushing out the toxins and starting to become sober. This process is usually supervised however it can be done in other settings  

According to NCBI, “supervised detoxification may prevent potentially life-threatening complications that might appear if the patient was left untreated. At the same time, detoxification is a form of palliative care for those who want to become abstinent. For some patients, it represents a point of the first contact with the treatment system and the first step to recovery”. 

Once your loved one attends a detoxification program then they can then go straight into a rehabilitation program. This is where they will learn how to permanently become sober through therapy and medication. What to do before drug detox and how to prepare for alcohol detox starts with education and understanding.

Support and Encourage

In order to prepare your loved one for detox, you need to understand what they are going through. Addiction is a nasty process that can take hold of anyone. Stopping is not simple and it will be a long process. However, if you are there trying to recognize their struggle then you can better help them on their journey to recovery. For example, your loved one might be experiencing feelings of: 

  • Demoralization 
  • Lack of motivation
  • Sadness
  • Confusion 
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Isolation
  • Shame/Embarrassment
  • Denial

Once you and your family understand your loved one’s struggles, you might find it easier to empathize with them. Your family member feels very alone right now and doesn’t believe anyone could possibly understand what they are going through. Nonetheless, you and your family can still help by supporting and encouraging them as they are preparing for addiction treatment. 

Examples on How to Support Your Loved One

You can not judge, blame, or become angry with them during this time. This might be a demanding request for you to fulfill. However, when it comes to addiction you have to think of the other person’s recovery being more important than your anger. This doesn’t mean your feelings aren’t valid, they absolutely are. But making amends will be easier to do once your loved one is in treatment. Therefore, here are some suggestions on how you can support your family member as they are preparing for addiction treatment with detoxification. 

For instance, according to Behavioral Health Evolution,  

  • being there to listen, talk, and help your loved one process stressful experiences 
  • helping solve practical problems related to stress 
  • reminding your loved one of the coping strategies for dealing with distressing symptoms or cravings 
  • expressing the belief that abstinence is key to recovery 
  • helping your loved one avoid exposure to others’ alcohol and drug use, including staying away from social situations where substance use is common and avoiding substance use with the family 

These tips can be used before, during, and after detoxification and treatment. They may not seem like much but this kind of encouragement towards your loved one can go a long way. By showing that you still love and care for them, you can make them realize that their journey to become sober is important. Learning how to prepare for addiction treatment will be scary for them because it is going to be a strenuous and long ordeal. Knowing that you are right there encouraging them will help them to continue. If you or someone you love are struggling with addiction, then contact our experts today. We can help you start on the path to recovery.

Alcohol and Drug Detox

Before drug and alcohol detox and rehabilitation it is important to be aware of the withdrawal symptoms. During a detox, your loved one is essentially preparing for addiction treatment by ridding the alcohol or drug from their body. What your loved one will experience during their detox period depends on several variables. For example, the intensity of the symptoms will be based on:

  • Their age
  • How long they have been abusing the drug
  • What kind of drug or drugs they used
  • If they have pre-existing conditions such as physical health issues, anxiety, or depression 

Unfortunately, there is no way to tell how long the detox will last due to all of these variables of the individual. Detoxification is a crucial first step in preparing for addiction treatment, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. The symptoms the body will be going through can be overwhelming, however, they are manageable. 

What are the Detox Symptoms of Drugs and Alcohol?

Depending on the drug that was being abused the withdrawal symptoms during detoxification will be different. Detoxing from opioids such as heroin, or Vicodin can have withdrawal symptoms such as: 

  • Muscular pain
  • Body aches
  • Anger
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting

Detoxing from stimulants such as methamphetamine or cocaine can have withdrawal symptoms such as: 

  • A lack of pleasure
  • Fatigue
  • An increased appetite
  • Anger
  • Irritation 

Detoxing from alcohol can have withdrawal symptoms such as: 

  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • High Anxiety
  • Fevers
  • Hallucinations
  • Possible seizures 

Attending a detox program is the safest option since your loved one will be surrounded by medical professionals who will be there during the detoxification. They will be there to help ease the process.  As terrifying as these symptoms may sound they are the first necessary step towards preparing for addiction treatment. Detoxification has to come before any other treatment because your loved one has to get the drug out of their system. By knowing what to do and what to expect before drug detox will make the process less shocking for the family.

Detoxing at Home

Medical professionals highly encourage the detoxification process to be done in a medical facility. Detoxification can happen at home but it is more dangerous. Detoxifying at home in order to be prepared for addiction treatment can succeed if you know what to be aware of. 

If your loved one is detoxifying at home you need to know what relapse signs look like. As your loved one is going through the withdrawal symptoms of either a drug or alcohol addiction, the side effects might be too much to bear. Therefore, they will want to return to the substance they have been abusing in order to feel better. The first step is to educate yourself on your loved one’s warning signs.

According to Behavioral Health Evolution, if your loved one is preparing for addiction treatment by detoxifying at home you can help prevent relapse by:

  • knowing your loved one’s early warning signs of relapse 
  • monitoring your loved one to detect possible warning signs; keeping your eyes open and noticing changes 
  • developing a family plan in advance, together with the loved one, for responding to the signs of possible relapse or an actual relapse 
  • involving other important people (such as treatment providers) in making a relapse prevention plan 

By knowing these warning signals you and other family members are better able to help. With your love and support, the better your loved one will be prepared for addiction treatment. Detoxifying at home is not an easy process. It can result in unsafe conditions for your loved one, and death in extreme cases. Therefore, consult with our medical professionals to see what kind of help your loved one will benefit from the most.

Advice for the Family

Most people do not know what to do before detoxification or how to prepare for alcohol detox. Frankly, most people don’t know what to do when it comes to addiction and this is completely understandable. You are probably facing many questions and concerns, especially surrounding when your loved one eventually does go to treatment. There are a lot of stigmas wrapped up in mental health, addiction, and therapy treatments. Therefore, it is important for you to know that your loved one is not going through the misconceptions you might have in your mind.  

According to an article called ‘Coping with a Family Member in Alcohol or Drug Rehab, there are things to keep in mind if you have a close family member going through detoxification or treatment. For example, according to the article, it is comforting to remember:

  • To take a deep breath 
  • That they are in good professional hands
  • They are not being held against their will or locked up 
  • They are where they need to be in order to heal
  • That they are surrounded by peers who are or have been in the same situation that they are in and will provide an additional support system for your loved one
  • Your family member will receive tailored therapy, counseling, and medical care

In other words, it is okay to worry but try to remember these truths when you do. There is no place better for your loved one during this time than treatment. It may be painful for you to be on the outside but that is okay. Knowing how to prepare for addiction treatment and what to expect will make you better equipped to support your loved one. Contact us today to learn more about supporting your loved one in recovery.

Keep Hope Alive

Hope is a powerful concept that can fuel your loved one’s recovery and yourself. Change is possible in your family member’s lives. Speak truth over their situation and watch them become determined to succeed. Fortunately, soon they will be able to take back control over their lives and live in sobriety. Hope can be a medicine all on its own for them and for you. Don’t forget to fuel yourself with hope and education. If you are struggling with their situation don’t hesitate to seek help for yourself. There are programs and support groups for you to get involved in as well. You don’t always have to be the supporter, you are allowed to be supported too.

There is hope for you and your loved one’s situation. Call us today at 912-214-3867 where we can help you and your family begin preparing for addiction treatment through detoxification. There is hope for a better life and it starts with the first step. 


Written by: Julia Bashaw


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