My Loved One Refuses Addiction Treatment. Now What?

loved ones holding each other's hands discussing about going to addiction treatment center

My Loved One Refuses Addiction Treatment. Now What?

loved ones holding each other's hands discussing about going to addiction treatment centerIf your loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you’re not alone. Today, an estimated 46.3 million Americans have a substance use disorder, meaning that almost 1 in 4 of us has a close friend or family member with a substance abuse problem. When your loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, getting them into addiction treatment is a logical first step. But, what happens when they don’t want to go? Or if they won’t go?

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that just 4.1 million people, or less than 10% of the total number of people with a substance abuse problem, received addiction treatment in 2021. Most people aren’t getting help – although reasons for not getting help are diverse. Understanding some next steps, you can take will allow you to continue supporting your loved one and hopefully eventually get them into treatment as well.

Be There for Them

It’s important to try to avoid enabling behavior, such as paying for your loved one’s rent, lying to their boss, or otherwise making decisions that are likely to enable them to continue using. It is true that any kind of support and care will do this to some extent, however, you can be there for someone to help them stay safe without helping them to use.

Being there for someone might look like:

  • Picking them up at any time of night, no questions asked, providing they sleep on your couch after
  • Giving them access to sleep on your couch or in a guest room if they have to
  • Taking time to listen and offering emotional support
  • Offering to help with things like cleaning up (rather than doing it for them)
  • Offering to go to the doctor, to AA or NA meetings, and to other treatment

If you live with someone, it’s important that you don’t take on all of their responsibilities. However, you can offer to help, you can listen to them, and you can try to make it known that you’re trying to support them without overloading yourself.

Keep Learning

Addiction is a complicated behavioral disorder that can stem from a vast number of causes and vulnerabilities. Taking time to learn about addiction, doing so with your loved one where possible, and discussing what you learn with them can be helpful. For example, you can learn the basics of how addiction works, you can read books about recovery, and you can read about different types of therapy and treatment. You might not be able to get through to your loved one in this way. However, you will show them that you care, that you’re continuing to invest time and energy into them, and that you want what is best for them.

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Be Nonjudgmental

 a couple holding hands on top of the mountainBeing nonjudgmental can be extremely difficult. Most of us are raised with old-fashioned ideals about addiction as a personal failing, as poor choices, and as a disease, which is incurable. None of these ideas are correct. Instead, addiction is a behavioral disorder that’s often complicated and very often resulting from a complicated range of addiction risk factors including mental health, social situation, physical health, social standing and social behavior, stress levels, epigenetics, genetics, and other factors. People become addicted for a variety of reasons but it’s never a choice.

Understanding that your loved one isn’t flawed and that they can get better is an important part of approaching addiction nonjudgmentally. However, it’s also important to let go of what other people might think, to show concern for your loved one and not for other people’s opinions, and to invest in your loved one’s health not in whether or not they drink or use drugs. That can take a significant mindset change from you as well because you may have to let go of bias you might not even realize you have.

Why should you work on being non-judgmental? It will help your loved one to realize they can still have a relationship with you, that they have people who believe in them and continue to believe in them, and that they are more than an addiction.

Detaching with Love

Detaching with love is the process of stepping away from over-investing in someone who doesn’t have the capacity to give back or to not hurt you because of your investment. It does not mean dropping your loved one or cutting them out of your life. Instead, it means to expect nothing and to accept failure. That might mean refusing to stay up or hold dinner for someone who is habitually late. It might also mean expecting that your loved one will be drunk, even if you don’t think they have alcohol. It might mean expecting that they won’t come up with their portion of the rent, or that they will slack at their chores.

If you understand that someone is going to fail at their obligations and responsibilities, you can better prepare yourself for that. And, it’s also important that you don’t take up the slack for them, that could increase stress and push you to burnout. However, it is important that you don’t invest in your loved one changing, in them doing the things they say, or in things suddenly improving. If you can’t accept your loved one as they are now, you should probably be stepping further away until you can.

Continue Working Towards Addiction Treatment

Just because your loved one won’t go to addiction treatment now doesn’t mean that they will never go to addiction treatment. Instead, it means they have to have the motivation, the understanding of why they are going, and they have to be ready for change. Building those may require understanding that people in their life are there for them and they have a reason to get better. It may require understanding that addiction isn’t permanent, and they can change. It may mean learning about how addiction works. It might also be about them understanding that addiction treatment is about them, their health, and their future and not about their family and what their family thinks.

Over 10% of the U.S. adult population needs addiction treatment. Most of us never get that help. Still, it’s important to work with your loved one and continue to ask them to move into recovery, to get better, and to work on getting their life back. It might not succeed immediately or at all, but you can help your loved one to find motivation to get their life back.

If you or your loved-one struggles from alcoholism or other substance abuse please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors about our detox, partial hospitalization, and residential treatment programs. We’re here to help you recover.

How To Flush Alcohol Out of Your System

man thinking about alcohol detox

How To Flush Alcohol Out of Your System

man thinking about alcohol detoxIf you’ve overindulged at a party, you might be wondering how to flush alcohol out of your system to get rid of a hangover. In that case, the answer is pretty simple. Drink plenty of water, possibly some soda or carbonated water, eat a few healthy meals, go for a walk, and wait it out. But, most people looking up how to flush alcohol out of their system are looking to detox, either because they want to sober up, because they are facing a drug and alcohol test, or because they’re taking medication.

If that’s the case, the answer is unfortunately a lot more difficult. It’s almost impossible to speed up how quickly alcohol leaves your system. However, you might be able to influence how quickly you sober up – although even that won’t always be the case.

Can You Sober Up Quickly?

Unfortunately, once you’re drunk you’re just going to have to wait it out. Having caffeine and some water can help you to feel steady sooner. That’s also true of having a solid meal. However, it won’t reduce the impact of alcohol on your senses any sooner. Instead, you might feel safe driving or work, even when you really shouldn’t be. For most people, you’ll have to wait at least an hour after every unit of alcohol before you’ll sober up. If you’ve had a bunch of shots, that could be the same number of hours as the number of shots you had.

Most importantly, a lot of people resort to chugging water or caffeine. Not only does this not help, it can actually hurt you. Similarly, forcing yourself to throw up won’t reduce the alcohol in your system – although it may prevent you from getting more drunk if you’ve had alcohol within the last 15-45 minutes.

How to Recover From Drinking More Quickly

If you’ve had a long night drinking and are facing a hangover, there’s unfortunately not too much you can do. Here, most of the steps you can take to prevent a hangover are important before or during drinking. For example, eat a good meal before you start drinking, get enough sleep, and drink plenty of water or soda while drinking. You’ll also want to try to drink in moderation – but if that were the case, you wouldn’t be looking for tips.

  • Get some exercise, it will help you speed up your metabolism (briefly).
  • Drink plenty of water. Alcohol dehydrates and many of the negative effects the day after are “just” dehydration. Of course, it will do more if you try drinking a glass of water per alcoholic beverage you drink at night.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Your body needs time to rest and process alcohol.
  • Drinking soda while drinking can create pressure in your stomach, moving alcohol through your system more quickly. However, you might also feel the effects of alcohol more quickly.

Those tips may help you with a hangover. However, they won’t really help you to detox.

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Can You Flush Alcohol Out of Your System for a Test?

man consulting a doctor regarding alcohol detoxIf you’re facing a drug and alcohol test or a breathalyzer test, there’s not much you can do. Unfortunately, breathalyzers can detect alcohol for 12-24 hours after your last drink. If you have a blood test, it can detect alcohol for up to 12 hours. And, if you have a urine test, that could be up to 80 hours. That can be bad if you’re taking a test and you’ve been drinking when you shouldn’t have been. However, there’s not much you can do.

In fact, all of the home remedies such as drinking a great deal of water, taking herbal supplements, or taking detoxes don’t actually work. You can’t speed up how quickly your body processes alcohol. Instead, that’s determined by factors like your metabolism, body fat, liver health, volume of alcohol consumed, normal alcohol consumption, etc.

Otherwise, there’s no way to fake a test. Instead, you’re recommended to be upfront about it, to admit to drinking alcohol, and to talk about it with your employer. If you just had a late night, everything should be fine. And, even if you’ve broken company rules, you’ll likely still have an easier time if you talk about it right away instead of waiting for a test to come back.

How Do You Detox from Alcohol?

Alcohol detox is the process of going through withdrawal, usually in a controlled medical environment. Depending on how much you drink, how often you drink, and whether or not you experience withdrawal symptoms when you quit drinking, this process may be extremely difficult and dangerous or relatively simple.

In most cases, alcohol withdrawal sets in within 12-24 hours of your last drink. Symptoms start out slowly and increase over the course of a few days. From there, you’ll normally experience cravings, cold and flu symptoms, shaking, paranoia, anxiety, and potentially mild seizures. 2% of heavy drinkers develop into longer-term symptoms with potentially severe side effects. For this reason, if you drink heavily, it’s important to seek out medical detox and support when trying to quit alcohol. Withdrawal should normally take about 2 weeks from start to finish. However, it will only get you through physical addiction to alcohol. If you have cravings, seeking behavior, or behavioral addiction to alcohol, you’ll need addiction treatment to fully quit alcohol.

If you’re drinking so much that you’re concerned about being caught, are struggling with hangovers, or find yourself drinking in situations where you shouldn’t or where it causes danger to others, you probably need help. That often means seeking our addiction treatment including therapy and counseling to help you understand the underlying causes behind your reliance on alcohol, to help you find better coping mechanisms, to help you build life skills to manage stress, and to build a life you can enjoy.

Going to rehab can sound like a big step and it is. At the same time, alcohol addiction treatment can help you to get your life back, and it’s just the first step on a journey to recovery.

If you or your loved-one struggles from alcoholism or other substance abuse please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors about our detox, partial hospitalization, and residential treatment programs. We’re here to help you recover.

The Benefits of Pets in Addiction Recovery

a young man with his pet during his breakfast at an addiction treatment center in the riverside california

The Benefits of Pets in Addiction Recovery

a young man with his dog during his addiction recoveryIf you or a loved one is recovering from a substance use disorder or an addiction, it’s a long journey. For many of us, addiction recovery is a process that takes years. But, whether you’re just getting out of rehab or have been in recovery for some time, you’ve likely heard that pets can be a great call.

This is very true. Research consistently supports that there are many benefits to having pets as part of medical interventions including addiction recovery. Having a pet can boost your mood, improve your habits, and change how you respond to yourself and others. However, it’s also important to go into something like pet ownership when you’re ready and not immediately when you get out of rehab.


Different kinds of pets offer different levels of companionship. However, your pet does give you a companion. That’s true whether you pick a rat, a snake, a bird, or a cat or dog. You’ll have someone to talk to, someone to share your space with, and something to be there. While that can be tangential and you won’t likely feel like you have very much of a companion if you opt into pet fish, it can make a big difference in how you feel. Studies show that pets actively provide companionship, although it’s important to note that pets also have negative emotional and practical burdens as well.

Building Habits

Pets require a sometimes-significant amount of care. If you choose something like a cat, you’ll have to clean up after it every single day. If you choose a dog, you’ll have to walk it every day, sometimes for several hours a day – depending on the breed you choose. That responsibility can be significant. In addition, pets typically require regular food and water, regular care, and attention in order to be healthy. That can force you to invest in building habits like getting up at X time to walk the dog, going for walks every day, building discipline to care for something else, etc.

Importantly, if you’re not ready, those responsibilities can be stressful and may have a negative impact. If you don’t have room to add on more things that you have to do, it’s not yet time for you to get a pet.

Good Responsibilities

Getting a pet means taking on financial and emotional responsibility. For many people, that can seem insignificant upfront. However, it means you’ll have to work, take care of yourself, and take care of your responsibilities to your pet simply because that pet depends on you. Again, depending on where you are in your recovery journey, that can feel like stress and can feel extremely negative. If you’re ready, it can give you the push you need to improve how you take care of yourself. It may also boost your self-esteem – giving you the opportunity to feel good about yourself, to actively build on your self-image as someone who takes care of the things you love, and to get started with social responsibilities in a relatively low-stress environment.

Improved Emotional Health

a young man with his pet during his breakfast at an addiction treatment center in the riverside californiaPets have been linked to improved outcomes, decreased loneliness, and increase in motivation in several studies. While that will sometimes depend on what kind of pet you have, it is often the case that pets give you an outlet, someone to share with, and will offer positive mood input. In one study, pet owners showed reductions in loneliness, improvements in ability to interact with others, and to focus on the now rather than living in your head or being stressed.

Here, most studies track the effects of dogs and other animals that actively engage with people and as parts of their lives. For example, dogs naturally increase social interaction by forcing you to go out and to be at the same dog parks as other dog owners. However, they may also provide a positive influence to mood by being positive and by showing affection for you. There are fewer studies showing the same results around guinea pigs, snakes, or cats – and those animals will not provide the incentive to go walking, which means you may want to choose a dog if you’re hoping to be more social.

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Decreased Stress

a young man playing with his in addiction treatment center in the riverside californiaCompanion animals have been shown to reduce stress in several ways. Here, the most consistent way is that sitting down and petting an animal showing you affection does decrease stress and improve mood. For many people, once you establish a bond with a pet, simply sharing contact and petting the animal can improve your mood. However, in other cases, pets can act to reduce stress in other ways. For example, giving you something to take care of can reduce stress by giving you a short-term sense of purpose.

That’s especially true if you’re still in the early stages of recovery and have to build up to moving back into the workplace and everyday responsibilities. Dogs can also help you to exercise more, which will decrease stress because exercise reduces stress. More importantly, they increase the amount of light exercise you do, which offers benefits like improved blood circulation and energy increases without increasing exhaustion and muscle soreness, which can help you to feel a lot better than spending several hours at the gym. Of course, you can get those benefits without a dog, but dogs can help you to build the discipline to do that walking which you might not be able to do on your own.

Don’t Start with a Pet

It’s important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t get a pet until you’re ready to get a pet. Even small pets are a significant amount of emotional and financial responsibility. Forgetting to feed your caged pet will mean that they get sick or die. If you’re still in an area where you’re in a high danger of relapse, you probably don’t want a pet yet. Many rehab experts suggest that people leaving recovery start out with something small and simple, like a potted plant. Once you learn to care for and keep a plant alive, you can move on to something that requires more time, more daily investment, and offers more reward for that investment.

Pets can be a great choice as part of your recovery. They can help you to feel better, to reduce stress, and to boost your mood. They can also be significantly stressful if you’re not up for the responsibilities – e.g., are you ready for the dog to chew up the carpet, a cat to spread litter everywhere, or a snake to escape and force you to find it? – but they can also provide significant benefits in terms of companionship, responsibility, and comfort.

If you or your loved-one struggles from substance abuse please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors about our detox, partial hospitalization, and residential treatment programs. We’re here to help you recover.

What Are the Most Addictive Prescription Medications?

What Are the Most Addictive Prescription Medications

What Are the Most Addictive Prescription Medications?

What Are the Most Addictive Prescription MedicationsMore than 1/3rd of Americans, or 66% of all adults, or 131 million people, take at least one prescription medication. Americans spend some $73 billion on prescription drugs annually, and that’s often with the expectation that those drugs will improve our health, reduce symptoms, and improve our quality of life. Unfortunately for many, prescription drugs don’t work the same for everyone and many can be habit forming and addictive. In fact, while awareness of the addictive potential of pain pills and opioids is on the rise, prescription opioid usage is still one of the leading causes of moving on to street drugs like heroin.

If you or a loved one is being prescribed a medication, you don’t have to worry. Talk to your doctor, request a Risk Evaluation and Management Strategy (REMS), and go in for your checkups. As long as you use the prescription medication as directed, you shouldn’t have problems with the drug. However, it’s important to have those discussions, to understand your risks, and to understand how prescription drugs can impact your health and your mental health.

Many drugs can be habit forming or dependence inducing, meaning they are “addictive”. However, the following are the most addictive prescription medications.


Opioids are the most well-known class of prescription painkillers. These drugs all work in similar ways, by binding to the opiate receptors in the brain. In small doses, they can reduce your perception of pain and create a calming or sedative effect. In high doses, they can create euphoria and intense highs that can be extremely addictive.

OpioidsFor many people, opioids are the most addictive drug. In fact, fentanyl, an extremely strong opioid, is one of the most addictive in the world, and also takes part in some 70% of all opioid overdoses.

Common opioids include:

  • Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet)
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Meperidine (Demerol)

Each of these drugs has different properties and strengths. However, all of them work in the same way. All of them also cause euphoria when taking large doses. And, people abusing these drugs normally start to show long-term cold and flu symptoms, stomach problems, lethargy or drops in energy, and increased “seeking behavior”. Here, individuals think about, use, or spend time acquiring drugs for a significant portion of their day, their behavior changes, and they may prioritize drugs over anything else.

Once someone is physically dependent on an opioid medication, getting off of it will require a withdrawal phase. That can mean up to 2 weeks of severe cold and flu symptoms, anxiety, and depression, which can interfere with normal life and responsibilities. For this reason, many people using pain pills end up continuing to use them to avoid withdrawal symptoms, despite no longer needing them for pain management.

However, if you receive an opioid medication, you’ll likely only have it for a few weeks. Doctors are increasingly aware of the dangers of opioid addiction and will therefore normally take large steps to ensure you are safe while you receive your prescription.

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Benzodiazepines are a class of central nervous system suppressants used to treat anxiety, panic attacks, and the symptoms of PTSD. Previously, they were also used for sleep issues. Today, some 30.5 million people have a prescription or use benzos illicitly. However, 17.1% of all people with a benzodiazepine prescription misuse them and a further 2% qualify as having a drug use disorder.

Benzodiazepines include:

  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Midazolam (Versed)

Today, most doctors won’t prescribe these drugs without a co-occurring therapy requirement. It’s also unlikely that you’ll receive a prescription for longer than 5 weeks. However, many people have had benzodiazepine prescriptions for years.

Unfortunately, these drugs are highly addictive and can cause significant psychological reliance, where users might work themselves into panic attacks because they don’t have the drug in case something goes wrong.

In addition, many people experience significant withdrawal symptoms while trying to quit benzos. Often, the only safe way to get off of them is to slowly taper usage over the course of a few weeks or months. If you go cold turkey on a benzodiazepine, chances of severe symptoms like seizures are high. For this reason, it’s not recommended to quit benzodiazepines without medical supervision,


Sedatives or prescription sleeping pills include several classes of drugs but most of them have similar effects and a similar addiction profile. Often, these drugs are prescribed for the short term, alongside a REMS, and alongside therapy that is intended to resolve the root of the problem rather than symptoms. However, some people have been on sleeping pill prescriptions for decades. Today, we know that these drugs are addictive and dependence inducing. But, if you’ve been on one for some time, chances of dependence and possible addiction are high.

Common sleeping pills include:

  • Zolpidem (Ambien, Zolpimist, Edluar)
  • Zaleplon (Sonata)
  • Triazolam (Halcion)
  • Temazepam (Restoril)
  • Ramelteon (Rozerem)
  • Eszopiclone (Lunesta)
  • Doxepin (Silenor)

All of these drugs are dependence inducing. In addition, like benzos, you should not stop most of these drugs cold turkey. Instead, they should be tapered off to avoid causing major symptoms such as seizures and major paranoia. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to consult with a doctor before quitting a sleeping medication or sedative.


Amphetamines are most-famous for street drugs like methamphetamine. However, they also make up a large selection of prescription medications including ADD and ADHD treatments like Ritalin, Concerta, and Adderall.

However, these amphetamines are rarely severely habit forming. Instead, most people will never have problems. At the same time, heavy abuse, especially in combination with other drugs or alcohol, can cause significant.

Getting Help

a beautiful woman during her individual therapyIf you or a loved one is struggling with a prescription medicine, there is help. The first step should normally be to go to your doctor, who can offer insight into your prescription use, where it went wrong, and what the next steps should be. Depending on your specific case, you may benefit from therapy, tapering off the drug, or rehab and drug abuse treatment. However, in most cases, if you’re compulsively using a drug, you’ll need therapy and treatment to help you resolve the underlying causes – or your risk of relapse or changing to a different drug will remain high.

Prescription medications can be dangerous. However, they can also be lifesaving. Following the prescription, avoiding mixing drugs, and stopping drug usage when you no longer need it can all help you to stay safe when using prescription medication. However, you should always discuss your plans and their safety with your doctor before changing how you use or take a prescription medication.

If you or your loved-one struggles from substance abuse please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors about our detox, partial hospitalization, and residential treatment programs. We’re here to help you recover.