Supporting a family member in recovery is a very important mission, and is essential in helping your loved ones overcome the challenges of maintaining a healthy life. The role family members play during the recovery process is crucial, so it’s best to learn how to provide the best possible support system for those closest to you.
Recovery refers to the process of overcoming drug or alcohol substance use disorder. This is a complex and holistic process that requires a drastic change in the affected person’s lifestyle: from seeking treatment and therapy, to eliminating daily stressors and changing their everyday activities and habits.
The Relationship Between Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health: How to Support Someone with a Mental Health Condition
A deep connection between substance use disorder and mental health exists. Oftentimes, an individual suffering from substance use disorder may also be fighting multiple mental health conditions, as well. For family members trying to support their loved ones in recovery, it’s important to consider their mental well-being. Figuring how to support someone with a mental health condition can present unique challenges, but keep in mind that recovery is a holistic journey, and for those undergoing recovery, both body and mind must be healed.
Here are a few ways you can support a loved one suffering from a mental health condition:
- Communicate: Expressing your concern and support is key. Make sure your loved ones know how you feel about their condition, as it may be the support they need to make a positive change.
- Seek treatment options: It’s important to remind your loved one that professional help is available. Help them to create a plan, and make sure they know that their condition can be treated.
- Extend an invite to plans: Individuals struggling with depression or other mental health conditions may have a hard time reaching out, along with making or keeping plans. Even though they are unlikely to accept your invite, make sure to include them on the plan (with no pressure) and let them know you’re excited to see them when they are ready to join.
- Help with everyday tasks: Depending on the mental health condition your loved one has, they may feel overwhelmed by simple everyday tasks. Offering a helping hand may help them destress.
General Tips When Supporting a Family Member in Recovery
There is always the possibility of relapse, which makes the support of family and friends critical in overcoming rough patches. However, the mere presence of family and friends can make a huge difference in the success of recovery. Below are some easy ways to help someone in recovery, that can make a huge impact:
One of the first steps should be an attempt to understand the mechanisms of substance use disorder and the impact on the individual. You can also help by participating when possible in therapy sessions and group support meetings, or simply drive them to their appointments.
Express Your Support Out Loud
Have you ever wondered what not to say to someone with a mental health condition? Your words should only express positivity and support. Acknowledge the hard period your loved one is going through and reiterate your support, assuring them that you are always going to be there for them. Also, recognize the courage needed to seek help and reinforce the idea that this was the best choice on the path towards recovery.
Be Prepared for the Worst
Recovery is not a straightforward journey. It’s very common for the individual undergoing recovery to relapse and have to start over again.
During these phases, individuals might refuse to get the necessary treatment or attend therapy sessions, so your influence could have a tremendous impact on their recovery journey. Try to encourage them to get back on track by acknowledging how hard it must be for them, while emphasizing the amount of progress that has been made so far.
Seek Out Professional Assistance and Learn How to Help Your Loved Ones Today
Supporting a family member in recovery requires strength, resilience, kindness, and most important of all, love. Very often, the family of those suffering from substance use disorder has suffered tremendously, and its members may require healing as well. There are support groups that aid families in understanding substance use disorder, and help enhance their techniques and approaches for supporting loved ones as they overcome the challenges of recovery.
Figuring out how to support a loved one in recovery is difficult. At Retreat, we understand how hard and overwhelming it is to tackle all these challenges, so we have answered several questions addressed by people who are supporting recovering individuals.
In addition, we offer a variety of services to make your mission a little bit lighter, such as private counseling sessions and online support groups. Join our loving community to receive all the support you need during the recovery journey of a loved one.