Getting Help for a Loved One with TBI and Substance Abuse Issues

A consistent, non-judgemental, loving message from family and doctors is the best way to help a loved one with TBI who may not realize the extent of his issues with substance abuse.

This is an excerpt from BrainLine's webcast Substance Abuse and TBI. See full webcast here.

Dr. Corrigan, how can family members get a loved one with TBI help with substance abuse, if he doesn't fully understand what the problem is? Well, that is one of the toughest issues we often face is when someone just doesn't see it themselves. For some folks after brain injury, it may be even harder for them to see it, so what's real important is that one, that the message that a person is getting, they're getting consistently, so they're hearing it from their doctor, they're hearing it from any of the professionals they may be working with, they're hearing it from their family. But the way it's being said is also important. One of the things we counsel against is confrontation that the minute somebody's emotional state goes up particularly for a person with a brain injury, then what they're hearing and learning goes down. So we really don't advise confrontation. It's about giving it in a nonjudgemental, loving way--giving a consistent message that we've got something here we need to deal with, and be willing to do it with them, not a you go get fixed, but let's go work on this.
Posted on BrainLine November 29, 2011.


About the author: John Corrigan, PhD

Dr. John Corrigan is a professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Ohio State University, and director of the Ohio Valley Center for Brain Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation. He is the project director for the Ohio Regional Traumatic Brain Injury Model System.

John Corrigan