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photo of a young female patient in group therapy listening to a therapist

Experiencing an illness with a loved one can be one of the most challenging situations we can face. This is especially true when the illness in question involves drug and alcohol addiction and mental health problems. It can be taxing on one’s mental and spiritual health when a loved one is suffering from a substance abuse disorder. In this case, it is utterly important to try to separate the behaviors from the person. Keeping in mind that only after you get recovery help for your loved one, can their problem behaviors from alcoholism, drug addiction, and associated underlying mental health disorder begin to improve.

Just as a disease such as diabetes has associated symptoms, such as high blood sugars, substance abuse also has its fair share of associated symptoms. The reality of why it is so difficult to accept the behaviors of a drug addict or alcoholic is because their conduct directly impacts others in negative ways. It is crucial to understand that the negative behaviors and emotions that are associated with chemical dependence are, in fact, symptoms of this neurological disease.

Questions that loved ones ask about treatment for drug addiction and alcoholism

How do I know if my loved one is addicted to drugs or is an alcoholic?

There are characteristic signs and symptoms of drug and alcohol addiction, just as there are for any other disease. The simple fact that one drinks excessively or uses drugs does not mean that they are addicted. The major signs and symptoms of drug addiction and alcoholism include:


  • Tolerance: Needing more of the substance to get the same effect.
  • Withdrawal: Experiencing physical or psychological effects when the substance is abruptly stopped, or the dosage is lowered.
  • Inability to stop using the substance, despite one’s best efforts.
  • Associated Behaviors: Problems in relationships, work, home, and finances. Secretive behavior, criminal behavior, legal problems, isolation, and emotional or mental health problems.

Can my loved one be cured?

The reality is that addiction does not, to date, have a “cure”. But, the great news is that addiction is treatable. Because drug addiction and alcoholism are chronic diseases, they cannot be fully cured with the current treatment that is available. But, with vigilance and close follow-up, the disease of addiction can be treated and kept at bay.

Why is my loved one so angry when I try to convince him/her to get help?

This is a perfectly normal reaction for one who suffers from any debilitating disease. Anger is a defense mechanism. Defense mechanisms protect one’s mind from experiencing the full reality of the situation. Because drug addiction and alcoholism are profoundly ingrained in the primate brain’s reward mechanism, the thought of losing one’s substance of choice as a coping mechanism can bring along a great fear of the inability to survive and cope without using drugs or alcohol. There are professional organizations, like BWR, that can help you through this process. You need not do this alone. In most cases the initial anger and blaming will subside during drug and alcohol rehab, as the brain begins to heal, and the addict’s or alcoholic’s behaviors begin to change.

How can I find a quality drug treatment center for my loved one?

The staff at BWR have years of experience in finding the right treatment match for those suffering from drug addiction, alcoholism, and mental health disorders. Right now, it is important that the family focus supporting itself and its loved one. The professionals at BWR can help you with the burden of placing your loved one in a drug and alcohol detox and rehab.

My loved one refuses to seek help. What can I do?

The staff at BWR may be able to help you with an intervention by helping the one suffering from addiction and/or alcoholism understand the reality of the situation. Further, our professional staff can educate you and your family member on the benefits of treatment, the process of finding treatment, and what will happen during and after treatment. When necessary, the staff at BWR can refer you to a professional drug addiction and alcoholism interventionist who will work with you and your loved one in hopes of engaging him/her in the treatment and recovery process.

We don’t have a lot of money. How can we pay for treatment?

Drug and alcohol treatment is more affordable that many believe. Many rehab centers accept private and public insurance and most plans offer some type of coverage for drug and alcohol treatment. For those who do not have financial resources and don’t have public or private insurance, there are state-funded facilities that may provide drug and alcohol services for persons who are in need. The staff at BWR can walk you through this financial process and answer your questions.

How will I cope when my loved one is away from home?

At this time, it is important to focus on how to get your loved one into drug and alcohol detox or rehab as soon as possible. Asking friends, family members, and employers for understanding and help during this tough time is critical. Many are surprised when they disclose the situation to those who haven’t previously been aware in how understanding and supportive their contacts are. In terms of financial concerns, there are laws that protect some people from loosing their jobs and require that they receive the same or a similar position with identical compensation and hours when they return from medical care. The addiction specialists at BWR help you find the answers to your unique situation.

When a loved one needs treatment, the family need not go it alone. Relying on friends, family members, employers, and spiritual advisors can prove to be phenomenally helpful. The staff at BWR are here to support you during the complicated process of understanding addiction, finding a quality drug and alcohol detox and rehab to meet you and your loved one’s needs, and in giving you the emotional support you need.


Behavioral Wellness & Recovery is a Joint Commission accredited program. The Joint Commission recognizes excellence in health care organizations and programs.


Behavioral Wellness & Recovery is a Joint Commission accredited program. The Joint Commission recognizes excellence in health care organizations and programs.

Your decision to regain your life helps and heals your entire family. Do it for them. Do it for you.


1301 Wrights Lane East, Ste. 103
West Chester, PA 19380
Serving Philadelphia, PA, Lancaster, PA and Wilmington, DE