Through the process of addiction recovery, your patient will go through a lot of changes. While change can be good, it can be intimidating for many people. Some patients will come into treatment with strong resistance to the idea of changing. Assessing their readiness to change can help you understand where to begin in their treatment process and what actions need to be taken to ready them for the changes they will need to make.
To determine a patient’s readiness to change, you should consider a variety of relevant factors. Assessing each of these factors and observing their mindset toward the act of recovery itself can shed a light on their current readiness to recover.
Legal or Financial Issues
If a patient is dealing with legal consequences as a result of their substance use, the likelihood of them desiring change is greater. This factor is not a guarantee that the patient is fully ready to accept the changes ahead. However, often individuals in this situation desire to make the necessary changes to avoid further legal consequences. People who have faced significant financial strain from substance abuse may have similar motivations.
While legal or financial consequences can hurt your patient’s mental state through addiction recovery, they can also be motivating factors for change. Going through change can add to this stress, but change may be viewed as a more important and necessary action for individuals overcoming legal obstacles.
Some patients struggle to accept the potential of change out of fear of social consequences. Going into treatment or stopping the use of substances may affect their standing in their current social group. Out of fear of losing their social network or being judged for their decision to change, many individuals will resist this important aspect of recovery.
This outlines the importance of having a healthy support system. Ensuring your patient’s social circle is helping and not hindering them through the process of recovery can make a large difference in their long-term success. If your patient is struggling to overcome negative social peer pressure, addressing the importance of healthy relationships can help them to adapt to the changes ahead. You can also guide them toward establishing a strong support system of positive influences.
Recognition of Their Addiction
Another way to help assess a patient’s readiness to change is by observing their recognition of the severity of their addiction. If a patient frequently denies the harmful aspects of their addiction or tries to downplay its effects, they likely are not ready to make significant changes to overcome their addiction.
If your patient is aware of their addiction and the problems that arise with it, they likely understand the importance of making changes in their life to overcome these effects. Being self-aware and recognizing the external factors of addiction can show that an individual is ready to take on the changes ahead.
The environment and individuals we surround ourselves with can have a large impact on many of our decisions and viewpoints. By discussing your patient’s surroundings with them, you can observe potential influences that may be leading them to feel a certain way about recovery. These influences can be positive or negative. Observing the influences that are prominent in your patient’s life can help you determine if they are ready to change or are holding on to hesitancy.
While this can tie in with social inhibitions, there are other factors involved as well. The relationship your patient has with their family, the habits they engage in, and their goals for the future can all make an impact on their readiness to change.
Desire for Help
Another helpful way to gauge a patient’s readiness to change is to observe their level of desire to receive help. If they are involuntarily in treatment and do not want help to overcome their addiction, their desire to change will likely be very low. However, what you learn from talking with them may surprise you.
If your patient chooses to come into treatment on their own, they likely understand that there is a problem with their state of addiction and are wishing to change it. When patients voluntarily come into treatment, they are asking for and desiring help from professionals to assist them in the recovery process.
Putting Your Observations to Use
Determining a patient’s readiness to change can often be done through very simple observations. There are key responses and attitudes toward the addiction that indicate that your patient is wanting to change or is only willing to do the bare minimum.
By addressing your patient’s readiness to change, you can set up a recovery plan that will be effective for them. If a patient does not appear to be ready to change, it may be influential to implement motivational techniques and help them acquire skills for self-awareness before moving on to goal-setting and habit-forming skills.
Accurately understanding each patient’s readiness to change can help you set up a recovery plan suited to their needs. If a patient is not ready to change, the approaches you take initially may differ. Observing a patient’s legal and financial issues from substance abuse, social inhibitions, level of recognition and self-awareness, surrounding influences, and desire to get help can help you determine how ready they are to make the necessary changes in recovery. By gauging these aspects, you can gain a clear idea of what your patients need to move forward. If they do not appear to be ready, focus on implementing motivation and self-awareness during the beginning phases of recovery. Just because an individual does not appear ready to change does not mean they are unable to recover. To learn more about assessing readiness to change, reach out to Dream Recovery at (949) 732-1960.