How To Help A Loved One Suffering From Drug Or Alcohol Addiction

by • October 7, 2020 • Random NewsComments (0)1170

Dealing with an alcohol or drug addiction can be difficult. And for people who know of a loved one suffering from substance abuse, it may be just as difficult to know the right ways to deal with the situation. Hesitation, fear, and reluctance these are just some emotions one may go through when attempting to encourage others to seek professional and medical help regarding their condition. If you find yourself in these shoes and clueless on what to do, here are some ways you can try to approach the situation first. And if you need rehab options, check out for all the available treatment plans.

Step 1: Learn about addiction and treatment options

It is not easy to confront loved ones, especially if you are not knowledgeable on the topic of addiction and its treatment options. Learning and understanding what it means, the factors that result in the condition, and what kind of side effects addiction may have on an individual can be useful when approaching the problem. It also helps us to be practice more empathy as addiction can influence the way one thinks and responds to situations. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a useful website to research on causes of addiction and how it functions in an individual. It can teach you different ways addiction develops and what kinds of treatment options most effective in aiding recovery. Researching NIDA will help one understand why seeking treatment is so important when it comes to battling addiction. 

It is also useful to research the drug or types of drugs being abused by a loved one as different substances have different influences and side effects on an individual. This can help you understand why they respond or behave in certain ways especially if it’s uncharacteristic of their usual demeanor. Knowing this can also prepare one’s responses during the confrontation. 

Understanding the reasons why people consume drugs is only important as there could be other underlying medical conditions present. One may choose to abuse drugs or alcohol due to mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety and in such cases, one’s withdrawal treatment may have to be tweaked to accommodate for such these as well. 

Being informed on what kind of treatment options is also important in understanding addiction as this can differ from person to person. Information on medical treatment can usually be found at local health and human services facilities. Depending on the extent of their substance abuse, their probability of relapsing and general health, one form of treatment may be better than the other. It is also worthy to note that the readiness level of the loved one is also a big factor when it comes to being treated. Treatment can be found in the form of inpatient and outpatient care, as well as aftercare and therapy. Some people may also be more open to alternative forms of treatment. 

Step 2: Make a plan

If the act of confronting a loved one seems daunting, it helps to make a detailed plan after learning and researching about addiction. You can choose to gather a group of friends or family to help with the intervention, or even hire a specialist. It is important to prepare for potential objections as well as difficult situations that might arise; having your friends and family conduct their own research about addiction can be useful as well. If you do decide to seek professional help, the Association of Intervention Specialists serves as a platform to find trained professionals to plan the confrontation. Above all, it is always important to express the intent of care and concern and let the loved one know that you have their best interests’ at heart. 

Step 3: Learn to control your emotions

Intervening an addiction can prove to be an emotional task, not only on you but also on the victim. This is because underlying the confrontation may be harbored feelings such as worry, anger, fear which can bring about conflict if allowed to be expressed carelessly. This can result in the victim becoming closed off about trying treatment or even listening to what you have to say. However, this is not to say that these feelings are wrong because they are normal and justified opinions, especially if the addiction has negatively affected friendships and relationships. It is important to inform the loved one of the impacts of their behavior without pointing fingers. Let them know that you are saying this out of concern with their best interests’ at heart. Self-realization is one of the strongest motivators for loved ones to start on their recovery journey. 

Step 4: Learn to practice empathy

It can be hard to empathize with someone suffering from an addiction if you have never been through one before. And with all that we hear from the media and opinions of society, it is easy to form a personal judgment about the issue. However, when helping a loved one, this judgment is something we want to avoid as much as possible as it can aggravate and worsen their struggles. Judgment can cause loved ones to feel defensive and closed off, but asking questions and genuinely trying to understand their situation can go a long way. Even if you disagree with their decisions, it is important to let them know that you are on their side and am someone they can trust. Providing support may encourage them to listen, open up about their problems, and eventually seek treatment.  

Step 5: The quicker the admission to treatment, the better

There is evidence to show that the quicker one gets admitted to treatment the moment they are ready, the more effective and positive the outcome of the treatment. Hence, it is important to prepare opportunities for treatment even before the confrontation has begun. While researching addiction and treatment options, searching for treatment facilities can also be a worthwhile search. It can also be useful to consult these professionals when seeking advice on a loved one as they can help to determine the type and degree of care that they might need. A plan can also be formulated for their immediate entry into the treatment process as soon as they are ready. 


While helping a loved one, it is also important not to neglect your own physical and mental health. If you are struggling to practice self-care or feel drained emotionally with the situation, do seek professional help from organizations or support groups available as they can also help you to identify and process your own emotions. Other forms of help may also be available at local treatment centers. 

Photo by Kylli Kittus on Unsplash



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