When your spouse or partner struggles with drug addiction, you might feel overwhelmed, helpless, and afraid. Maybe you’re just plain exhausted from the endless cycle of empty promises and judgment from others. Here are some practical tips on how to help your spouse with drug addiction.
If you can relate, don’t despair, and please know that you’re not alone. Many people have been in your shoes and found hope while helping loved ones with addiction issues.

Common Terms You Should Know to Help Your Spouse with Drug Addiction

Entering the world of substance abuse and drug addiction treatment isn’t easy. It can feel like you have to learn a whole new language. Here are some common terms you’ll need to know to help your spouse with drug abuse treatment.
Drug Addiction – According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is a chronic disease that occurs when a person seeks drugs and uses them compulsively, even with negative consequences.
Drug Abuse – When someone uses substances for something other than what they’re intended for, it’s called drug abuse or substance abuse. Abuse doesn’t always lead to addiction, yet addiction always starts with abuse. The differences between drug abuse and drug addiction can be subtle, however.
SUDs – SUDs is an acronym that stands for substance use disorders.
Level of Care – Level of care refers to the intensity of drug addiction treatment. Some typical levels of care include detox, RTC (inpatient residential treatment), PHP (partial hospitalization program) and IOP (intensive outpatient program).
Recovery – When a person addicted to drugs receives treatment, stops using drugs, and lives a productive life, they are said to be in recovery.
Relapse – When a person in recovery starts using drugs again, they have relapsed. This is a normal part of the recovery process.
Relapse Prevention Plan – A detailed plan is developed during treatment to help an addicted person avoid returning to drugs.
MAT – Medication assisted treatment is the use of prescribed medicines to help someone recover from drug addiction. Most programs include suboxone medication, for example, in addition to outpatient drug addiction counseling and group therapy.

Types of Treatment Options to Help Your Spouse with Drug Addiction

There are many types of treatment to help your spouse with drug addiction. Treatment options can be divided into two main categories: inpatient and outpatient.

Inpatient Treatment Options

Detox – Medical detox typically occurs in an inpatient hospital setting. Sometimes withdrawal symptoms from drugs may be so severe that medical professionals must monitor the person around the clock.
Subacute Detox – When someone withdraws from drugs, they might need to spend up to seven days in subacute detox. An independent subacute detox facility or inpatient residential treatment facility often cares for a person at this stage. Once the person is physically stable, they can be moved to the residential treatment area and start participating in the recovery programs.
Inpatient Residential Treatment (RTC) – Typically known as drug abuse “rehab,” residential treatment occurs in an inpatient setting where a person lives at a center. Programming generally includes individual and group therapy, medication management if necessary, and family involvement. Recovery in this type of setting is very structured, and the length of stay depends on each individual’s progress.

Outpatient Treatment Options

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) – Partial Hospitalization is an outpatient treatment where someone attends a recovery program during the day and may go home at night. Some PHP programs offer live-in boarding as an option. Intensity varies, but may be up to 7-8 hours a day, 7 days a week. Programming is similar to RTC with individual and group therapy.
Intensive Outpatient (IOP) – Intensive outpatient is a step down from PHP and usually consists of group therapy 3-5 hours a day, several days a week.
Outpatient – General outpatient for drug addiction may include weekly therapy sessions and medication management including MAT and group therapy.
Support Groups – Many treatment providers offer alumni support groups to help people in recovery stay sober. Other support group options include community meetings like AA, NA and ALANON.

How to Best Navigate the System to Help Your Spouse with Drug Addiction

Trying to figure out how, where, and when to get treatment, plus how to get insurance to pay for treatment, are challenges to helping your spouse with drug addiction. When trying to find a qualified treatment provider, you’ll want to look for a place that’s nationally accredited with licensed professionals.
Another part of navigating the system to help your spouse with drug addiction is to contact your insurance company. Typically, you can call the customer service number on the back of your insurance card and ask about mental health and substance abuse benefits. You can get information about coverage, network providers, deductibles, co-pays, and other helpful details.
When looking for a treatment provider, you may be concerned about logistics if there’s no provider in your immediate area. Your insurance company and providers can help with logistic and legal hurdles, as well as help resolve these and other issues.
For more information on how to navigate the system to help your spouse with drug addiction, call Mending Fences at (888) 793-4189

Practical Tips for What to Expect When You Help Your Spouse with Drug Addiction

An initial screening is one of the first things you can expect when seeking treatment for your spouse with drug addiction. This may happen over the phone or in person. Specific questions about things like drug use, withdrawal symptoms, and mental health issues may be asked to help determine the most appropriate immediate level of care.
When your spouse enters treatment, they will receive a more thorough substance abuse evaluation. This is a comprehensive assessment of physical, mental, and addiction issues by a team of treatment providers to help determine the course of treatment, goals, and a relapse prevention plan.
If your spouse enters an inpatient recovery program, the treatment facility will provide a list of practical details, such as what to bring and what to expect in treatment.
You might be concerned about how to tell loved ones, including children, about your spouse’s drug addiction and treatment. Being honest helps loved ones understand and foster ways to be supportive during the recovery process. They may also need support and understanding.

Success Stories from Others Who Have Helped Their Spouses with Drug Addiction

The good news is that drug addiction is treatable with the right kind of help, and many people are successful in their recovery. On many provider websites, you can find testimonials from people who have overcome their drug addiction.
Here’s one success story from a person who completed treatment for their drug addiction:
“This was the most beautiful place I have ever seen. I usually don’t write reviews, but I felt inspired to share my experience in the event that someone needs help for mental health issues or addiction issues and don’t know where to go. Florida can be a difficult place to find an ethical and truly impactful place if you or a loved one need help. It’s hard enough asking for help, and I have been deterred from wanting to go to another facility after prior experiences in Florida’s mental health programs. Mending Fences saved my life and the really tall guy who I believe is the boss actually met with me when I first got there and seemed to really care about us.” – Megan E.
Starting the journey of recovery from drug addiction isn’t easy. Although there may be bumps in the road, getting help for your spouse with drug addiction isn’t likely to be something you’ll regret.

Action Steps to Help Your Spouse with Drug Addiction

If you suspect your spouse or partner is addicted to drugs, one of the first things you can do is find a qualified treatment provider who can give you information. They can explain addiction and recovery options, as well as resources and referrals.
For more information on how to help your spouse with drug addiction, call Mending Fences at (888) 793-4189. The Mending Fences professional staff is ready to answer your questions and help your spouse get on the road to recovery from drug addiction.