The Best Way to Help Drug Addicts

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Learn ways to be supportive of a loved one with an addiction.

Addiction effects everyone in the family. When you see a loved one struggling with addiction, you want to do everything you can to help them get sober and have a good quality of life. Sometimes, your support can be demonstrated in ways you’d least expect.

There is a way to help drug addicts without enabling them. Gaining awareness about addiction will help you understand the challenges of trying to help an addict, as well as knowing what expectations you should have when getting involved. Here are things you should know if you are wondering how to help someone with drug addiction:

  • Learn all you can about drug and alcohol addiction, including the signs of abuse and the types of treatment options available. If the individual has entered residential treatment, you may be able to offer support by participating in family therapy sessions. This type of therapy is beneficial for family members as well as addicts, as it provides tools for everyone to make progress toward healing in a healthy way, learning how to understand one another, and repairing broken bonds.
  • Another way to help drug addicts is to talk to them about your concerns regarding their health in a non-confrontational way, with no judgement or shaming. Many addicts may be reluctant to discuss the issue due to being wrought with guilt, shame, and even denial. While you may not experience an honest exchange right away, you never know when a thoughtful, supportive conversation can jumpstart the road to recovery. Denial and shame are a breeding ground for lies and manipulation when the addict isn’t ready to stop using, however, reaching out and letting them know that you are there for them, whenever they are ready to accept help will speak volumes.
  • An intervention is how to help someone with drug addiction as well. Because the addict has difficulty acknowledging the severity of his or her drug abuse, a situation may evolve where an intervention can be effective. It may become necessary to join forces with others when the addict is refusing to get help or recognize the danger they are in with their addiction. Addicts often find themselves in trouble legally, professionally, financially, in addition to being at risk of an overdose or even death.  Interventions are most effective when they are structured and include a professional interventionist or drug addiction specialist, as well as a ‘team’ made up of the addict’s close family members and friends.

The intervention team plans the intervention by choosing the date and location of where it will take place. The team also collaborates to establish the message and plan they will present to the addict.  Finally, they make arrangements at a residential treatment facility for the addict to check into once the intervention is over, if he or she agrees to get help. Interventions are usually a ‘surprise’ to addicts due to the risk that they probably will not show up or may flee the situation if given prior knowledge about it taking place. Thinking of how to help someone with drug addiction through an intervention? Learn more in depth about planning an intervention here: MayoClinic.org.

How to help someone with drug addiction?

While there is more than one way to help drug addicts, if the person is initially not willing to be helped, don’t give up hope. While the path that leads to treatment and recovery may be rocky at first, it is a path that is worth the journey.

If you wonder what the best way to help drug addicts may be, continue learning from the many resources available, such as the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, which provides extensive information for families being affected by drug addiction. While staying supportive may be difficult and frustrating at times, the addict has the best chance for success for recovery with a support system in place that he or she can depend on for encouragement, guidance, and comfort.

 

Sources:

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/addiction/drug-abuse-and-addiction.htm

http://drugfree.org/parent-blog/want-help-adult-family-member-friend-drug-alcohol-problem-7-suggestions/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/in-depth/intervention/art-20047451