How do you get someone into rehab? You're not the first person stumped by this question.When a loved one is in the grips of addiction, family and friends often find themselves stuck in a cycle of fear, panic, anger and despair. Desperate for the addict to change, loved ones may try a myriad of tactics, threats and emotional pulls to get them into treatment. It's impossible to say what it will ultimately take for your loved one to choose help. However, it's a lot easier to say what won't work. In fact, most families' first instincts to get a loved one into rehab won't work. Shame and Addiction: How Not to Get Some Into Rehab Addiction already provides limitless opportunities to experience shame without misguided but well-intentioned loved ones adding more to the pot. Though a mountain of research proves addiction to be a disease of the brain, not a character flaw, the stigma surrounding it is still highly prevalent in society. Research indicates that the more shame an addict feels about their substance use, the more likely they are to relapse. Research also supports a correlation between shameful experiences early in life and substance use disorders down the road. Thus the vicious cycle: People abuse substances to cope with shame, and substance abuse is perpetuated by feelings of shame surrounding their addiction. What\u2019s the solution? Shame vs. Guilt: One Works Deborah Okrina, LCSW, provides counseling to individuals struggling with addiction and mental health issues at Promises P.A.T.H addiction and mental health rehab in Texas. An expert on the complexities of shame and substance abuse, Okrina leads therapy groups addressing shame and is senior faculty for \u201cThe Daring Way\u201d shame resilience curriculum. The Daring Way is a widely used and respected methodology based on the work of renowned researcher, author and speaker Dr. Bren\u00e9 Brown. Dr. Brown\u2019s research distinguishes between guilt and shame, a topic she discusses in her TED Talk series. Like Dr. Brown, Okrina describes the fundamental difference between guilt and shame as: \tShame is, "I am bad." \tGuilt is, "I did something bad." \u201cIf you believe that you are inherently bad, there is no way to improve the situation,\u201d says Okrina. \u201cIf you believe that you did something bad that is not indicative of your worth as a person, you can accept responsibility, and take action.\u201d Guilt Motivates Change; Shame Makes Change Impossible Much research backs guilt as a motivator. One example is a study published in the Psychological Science journal, which indicates guilt as an effective stimulus for behavior change. Researchers found that inmates who expressed guilt for their actions while incarcerated for a crime were less likely to commit future crimes in the year after release. The Association for Consumer Research even found guilt to be a motivating factor in advertising, driving consumers to make purchases in an attempt to resolve guilt. So, just use guilt to persuade an addict instead of shame? That's how you get someone into rehab, right? Unfortunately, it\u2019s not that simple. What Guilts One Person, Shames Another Okrina describes the line between shame and guilt as murky and complex, based on each person\u2019s perception. Perception is influenced by an individual\u2019s past, thought patterns and unique experiences. For example, one person could take the statement, \u201cI think you need to go to treatment,\u201d as a personal attack and feel shame. They interpret it as, \u201cYou think I\u2019m a bad person, because you want me to go to drug rehab.\u201d Another person could interpret the same statement as, \u201cYou think I\u2019ve done something bad and I need help.\u201d This interpretation comes more from a place of guilt than shame, and is thus more motivating. How to Get Someone Into Rehab by Minimizing Shame Since it\u2019s impossible to predict another person\u2019s perception, Okrina recommends starting with yourself \u2014 addressing your shame and your perception. Through this process you\u2019ll gain a better understanding of shame, guilt and other emotions, and in turn, be better able to relate to and empathize with your loved one. 1. Educate yourself on shame The shame of addiction isn\u2019t limited to the individual abusing drugs or alcohol. Loved ones may feel the same social stigma, hesitant to let others know their family is suffering for fear of being judged. Okrina recommends reading the works of Bren\u00e9 Brown as a starting place for understanding shame and triggers. 2. Educate your loved one on shame If they\u2019re in a space where they\u2019ll listen, share what you\u2019ve learned about your own shame with your addicted loved one. This approach shouldn\u2019t put them on the defense, because it\u2019s about you. Your conversation could present a non-threatening opportunity to suggest they explore their shame as well. 3. Use non-blaming language Try using \u201cI\u201d statements instead of \u201cyou\u201d statements. Phrase communication in a way that focuses on how their actions make you feel, and take ownership of your feelings. For example, \u201cI felt betrayed when I found out you used drugs again and told me you didn\u2019t,\u201d versus, \u201cYou used drugs again. You can\u2019t be trusted.\u201d The first statement is more effective and less shaming. 4. Practice empathy When you are feeling more empathetic, you are less likely to shame and blame others. \u201cEmpathy is the opposite of shame because shame disconnects us and empathy connects us,\u201d Okrina said. Working on your own sense of shame and engaging in practices like mindfulness can help breed empathy. 5. Have someone else do the talking. If you know your addicted loved one favors the opinion or company of a particular relative or friend, enlist them to help with communication. If the addicted individual is at ease and doesn\u2019t feel immediately \u201con guard,\u201d they might be more apt to accept suggestions, and feel guilt vs. shame. You Can't Control Your Loved One; Control You Communicating with an addicted loved one is difficult. Getting them into rehab can be even more challenging. Make sure to take care of yourself during this time. Get the help you need to be resilient and stay healthy. By: Sara Schapmann Sources: Dana-Nicoleta Lascu (1991) ,"Consumer Guilt: Examining the Potential of a New Marketing Construct", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 18, eds. Rebecca H. Holman and Michael R. Solomon, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 290-295. National Institute on Drug Abuse: \u201cDrugs, brains, and behavior: the science of addiction.\u201d https:\/\/www.drugabuse.gov\/publications\/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction\/preface Rahim M, Patton R. (2015) \u201cThe association between shame and substance use in young people: a systematic review.\u201d PeerJ 3:e737. Randles, D., Tracy, J.L.\u00a0 \u201cNonverbal Displays of Shame Predict Relapse and Declining Health in Recovering Alcoholics." Clinical Psychology Science, April 2013 vol. 1 no. 2, Pages 149-155. Tangney, J.P., Stuewig, J., Mashek, D., Hastings, M. \u201cAssessing Jail Inmates\u2019 Proneness to Shame and Guilt Feeling Bad About the Behavior or the Self?\u201d Criminal Justice and Behavior, July 2011 vol. 38 no. 7, Pages 710-734.