How to Help a Loved One with an Addiction

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Useful tips on how to help a loved one with an addiction seek treatment

If you are concerned that someone you love may be struggling with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, it can be difficult to know what to do. Addicted individuals are often reluctant to admit they have a problem, because the thought of seeking help is too overwhelming. As long as your loved one’s addiction goes untreated, their mental, emotional and physical health will be at risk. Addiction can lead people into behavior they would never consider normally, such as lying, manipulating, and stealing in order to obtain money or drugs to feed their habit. If you’re wondering how to help a loved one with an addiction, the best thing you can do is to help them enter rehab before their addiction causes them to commit acts that will horrify them and make recovery more difficult. Here are some tips on the best way to accomplish that effectively:

Educate yourself about addiction and treatment options

Before speaking to your loved one, find out everything you can about their substance abuse problem. Your local addiction treatment center can give you advice on coping with addiction of a loved one. Find out how the condition may affect the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of addicted individuals. Research what treatment options are available, and find out which offer the best chance of recovery. If possible, obtain your loved one’s insurance information to see what their policy will cover. That way, if you get your loved one to admit they have a problem, you can move straight into treatment without delays that will give them a chance to change their mind.

Speak up and express your love, support, and concerns

Most addicts are unable to recognize that they have a problem. Pick a time when the person is not high and talk to him or her about your concerns, giving specific examples of behavior that is problematical.
Don’t lecture or threaten your loved one – demanding that someone seek treatment is not how to help a loved one in denial. Be prepared for them to respond with anger and denials. Have calm, rational answers ready to back up your concerns.

Reassure your loved one that they can have help with withdrawal symptoms

One of the biggest obstacles that keeps addicts from seeking treatment is the fear of what will happen when they have to stop taking drugs. Most individuals who are addicted to drugs or alcohol have experienced some withdrawal symptoms as their addiction was progressing. They have gotten a small taste of the cramps, cravings, depression, and other symptoms that they will experience during detox, and they are terrified of what will happen when they completely stop taking drugs. Remind them that drug addiction treatment centers are very experienced at keeping people safe through the detoxification process. Medical detox may be available, where addiction specialists can administer medications and supportive services that make withdrawal symptoms much more bearable.

Provide assurance that you will support their recovery

Stress that you will be with your loved one throughout the recovery process. It is easier for someone to take this giant leap into recovery when they know that they will not be going through it alone, especially if they have damaged relationships along the way. Pledge that you will support their recovery by participating in therapy sessions, support groups, and meetings during their time in addiction rehab as well as after.


If you would like some help finding a drug and alcohol treatment center, BetterAddictionCare can help. Call 1-800-429-7690.