How to Help Those with Addiction

How to Help Those with Addiction

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Addiction is tough, not only because drugs and alcohol effect the brain chemistry and make it nearly impossible to stop using on your own, but because the addict is not the only one effected. Friends and family members often have to simply stand back and watch as a loved one goes down the dangerous path of addiction. They may wish to help, but have no idea how or when to offer help and when to simply let the person fall to their lowest point and ask for help. This article will explore what to expect in trying to help an addict and how to actually help.

Expect Difficulties

Addiction is a complicated matter and there are going to times of great difficulty for a variety of reasons. These include things like the person not agreeing that they have a problem, not wanting to change what they are doing, and even fearing the consequences of getting hep. Some addicts may be embarrassed, feel awkward discussing person issues with a professional counselor or doctor, and be engaging in addiction to escape other issues in life. There is no easy way around any of these issues. Overcoming an addiction takes strength and willpower as well as professional help, but there are some ways you can help and build a relationship in order to start that pathway to help.

Steps to Helping

You cannot force someone to get help for addiction, but there are a few things you can do to make it easier to offer help when the time is right.

Establish Trust

This is a difficult concept as the addict may have already damaged your trust and vice versa. However, establishing trust on both sides is the first important step to helping someone consider change. However, this trust is easily undermined even when you are trying to help. To maintain the trust avoid the following: nagging, criticizing, lecturing, yelling, name-calling, and engaging in addictive behaviors yourself (even in moderation). Be well aware that even though you are trying to help, people may think you are trying to control them and they are likely using the addictive behavior to control stress. Building trust has to work both ways as trust is not established by putting up with bad behavior, if you do not feel like you can establish trust see the next step.

Get Help For Yourself

Being in a relationship or friendship with a person who is in active addiction can be stressful. Get help in dealing with your own stress before trying to help someone else.


Communication can get heated, but this is not productive. The decision to change is totally up to the addict. Communicate honestly with your loved one, but not in a threatening way,


If your loved one does get treatment and you are involved remember to establish trust prior to attending any counseling with the loved one. Be honest, but not confrontational. Do not blame, criticize, or humiliate your loved one. Be open minded and listen to what is being shared. Know that if you want them to change, you will need to change as well. If you are not involved in treatment, allow your loved one their privacy in everyday life and in therapy. Also keep in mind that change will not happen overnight.

It can be tough to watch a loved one suffer, but you can only do your best and allow them to make decisions. This is best for all