How to Help Someone With Addiction

Helping someone with an addiction is challenging enough but to help a loved one struggling with an addiction can be a rough battle. Sometimes a direct, heart-to-heart conversation can start the road to recovery. But when it comes to addiction, the person with the problem often struggles to see it and acknowledge it. As a result, a more focused approach is necessary. You may need to join forces with others and act through a formal intervention.

Examples of Addictions That May Warrant an Intervention Include:

  • Alcoholism
  • Prescription drug abuse
  • Street drug abuse
  • Compulsive eating
  • Compulsive gambling

People who struggle with addiction are often in denial about their situation and unwilling to seek treatment. As a result, they may not recognize the adverse effects their behavior has on themselves and others. An intervention presents your loved one with a structured opportunity to make changes before things get even worse, and it can motivate them to seek or accept help.

Intervention is a carefully planned process that may be done by family and friends, in consultation with a doctor or professional such as a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, or directed by an intervention professional (interventionist). It sometimes involves a member of your loved one’s faith or others who care about the person struggling with addiction. During the intervention, these people gather together to confront your loved one about the consequences of addiction and ask them to accept treatment. 

Tips for How to Help Someone With Addiction

Helping a loved one struggling with substance use and alcohol is not easy, and there is no magic formula that will get your loved one to stop using. However, here are some suggestions on how to help a loved one get treatment for their drug addiction:

How to Help Someone With Addiction
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Educate Yourself About Addiction

You see what you know. But, until you know about addiction and the symptoms of drug abuse, it is easy to miss the signs that are right in front of you.

Addiction is complex, and it is okay if you do not know everything right away. However, taking the time to understand your loved one’s disease and how it affects someone is incredibly beneficial to both you and your loved one. It also helps you be more aware of the signs that your loved one needs help.

Offer Your Support

People with an addiction do not always understand how much their family and friends love them. Talk to your loved ones about your concerns, and do not wait for them to hit rock bottom to speak up. Let them know that you are going to support them on their journey to recovery.

Encourage Them to Get Help

As with other diseases will treat the earlier addiction, the better. However, do not be surprised if you met with denial or excuses about why they cannot or will not seek treatment. Be persistent about how important it is that they enter treatment for their addiction but avoid making them feel guilty or ashamed in the process. Another option is to hold an intervention for your loved one. Although these are often difficult to do, an intervention may know what your loved one needs if they are deep into their addiction. Consider bringing in an intervention specialist to help you navigate this process.

Support Recovery as an Ongoing Process

Once your loved one decides to enter treatment, you must remain involved. Continue supporting someone’s participation in ongoing care, meetings, and participate in support groups for families of addicts. Be the support system they need and show them that you will be there every step of the way.

Take Care of Yourself

Although you may see this as selfish, you must be there for others and make the best decisions possible. Make sure your own needs will meet by getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating well. Do not be afraid to go to therapy to get help if you find yourself struggling due to your loved one’s drug addiction.

What to Avoid When Helping Someone With An Addiction

When talking to a loved one about getting treatment for their addiction, here are some things to avoid:

  • Preaching, lecturing, threatening, or moralizing your loved one
  • Emotional appeals that may increase the feelings of guilt and the compulsion to use drugs
  • Lying or making excuses for their behavior
  • Taking over their responsibilities — doing this protects them from the consequences of their behavior
  • Enabling their behavior by covering up the abuse or giving them money for drugs
  • Arguing with your loved one when they are using drugs — during this time, your loved one will not be able to hold a rational conversation and likely will not be open to what you have to say
  • Feeling guilty or responsible for their behavior — it is not your fault.

If you feel that your loved one abuses drugs or alcohol, the best thing you can do is encourage them to seek treatment for their addiction. Be loving and supportive but know that they are likely going to make excuses for their behavior. So be firm in what you want and keep encouraging them to get help. Although this is not easy to do, it is a critical first step in helping someone with an addiction achieve a healthy and happy life in recovery.

Understanding Drug Addiction

People start using drugs for many different reasons — curiosity, to have a good time, because friends are doing it, improving athletic performance, numb emotional pain, and more. Drug use does not automatically lead to abuse, and it is often hard to pinpoint a single moment where drug use goes from casual to problematic.

Usually, drug abuse and addiction are less about how often a person uses substances. Instead, it is more about the reasons why people turn to drugs in the first place and the consequences of their abuse. For example, if drug use is causing problems in your life, such as losing a job or strained relationships, you likely have a problem with drug abuse.

Not everyone who uses drugs becomes addicted. The likelihood that someone will become addicted to drugs varies from person to person.

Risk Factors That Increase the Likelihood of Addiction Include:

  • Family history of addiction
  • Abuse, neglect, or other traumatic experiences
  • Mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression
  • Method of administration (injecting or smoking a drug may increase the likelihood of addiction)
  • Early use of drugs

Symptoms of Drug Abuse

There are many signs — both physical and behavioral — that indicate drug use. Each drug has its unique manifestations, and symptoms of abuse vary from drug to medicine. However, some general signs that your loved one may be addicted to drugs include:

  • Sudden change in behavior
  • Mood swings
  • Withdrawal from family members
  • Red or glassy eyes
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Problems at school or work
  • Lack of energy or motivation
  • Becoming careless about personal grooming
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, sports, and other favorite activities
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Sudden requests for money or a spike in spending habits

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use or addiction, at We Level Up Treatment Center, we provide world-class care with round-the-clock medical professionals available to help you cope. We all work together as an integrated team providing you resources when you’re wondering yourself, How to Help Someone With Addiction, and other aspects of the treatment. Make this your opportunity to reclaim your life. Call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our specialists know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

Your call is private and confidential, and there is never any obligation.

Special thanks to our We Level Up Rehab Program in California