5 Tips for Family Members of Addicts

Written by Chloe Nicosia

These helpful tips for family members of addicts teach loved ones how to cope and maintain a positive outlook through very tough times.

 According to The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, thirty three thousand people lost their lives to opioid addiction alone in 2016. The opioid epidemic continues to worsen in the United States and more families are being impacted by the addiction of loved ones.  The pain and suffering many family members endure when dealing with a loved one who struggles with addiction can be agonizing. This situation is often emotionally draining, unpredictable, and leaves family members feeling helpless. It is difficult to know how to help an addict who doesn’t want help, or how to help an addict without enabling the individual. Here you will find five tips for family members of addicts. While there is no rule book to follow for learning how to cope with the addiction of your brother, sister, parent, or child, these tips for family members of addicts can help you take action that is in the best interest of your loved one while maintaining your own sanity:


  • For parents of adult children who struggle with addiction, it is important to know how to love your child without enabling his or her addiction. Knowing how to help an addict without enabling the individual means offering to help find him or her support services, rehabilitation treatment, or providing financial assistance and support to the level which you are able if that assistance will facilitate movement toward sobriety. Do not provide money to your adult child and trust him or her to use it for food, to get back on his or her feet, or to obtain treatment services needed to get clean and sober. Taking this chance carries a high risk of more manipulation and bad behavior. Instead, financial support should be tied to the effort the child makes to improve his or her situation.


  • When trying to figure out how to help an addict who doesn’t want help, start by encouraging the individual to at least consider using anti-craving medications if he or she is struggling with an opiate addiction. Use of anti-craving medications such as Suboxone, Methadone and Vivitrol have been found to effectively reduce cravings, as well as the risks of relapse and overdose, and other health related risks associated with active addiction.


  • Get overdose prevention training. Many opioid overdoses can be prevented when naloxone, also known as Narcan, is administered when an individual is overdosing. Narcan is an overdose reversal medication. You can learn more about Narcan here. Find out how to get trained to administer it here: Get Naloxone Now.


  • Protect yourself and the rest of the family. This is one of the tips for family members of addicts that should be take precedence over everything else. Do not allow the loved one’s addiction to destroy your family or impact it any more than it already has. Set limits as to how much destructive behavior your family will tolerate. The mental and physical health of other family members needs to be a priority even when dealing with the chaos of a loved one’s addiction.


  • One of the most important tips for family members of addicts is the recommendation of family therapy and individual counseling. These services are essential in helping family members work on their own recovery, as well as healing the family as a whole. Families can learn about addiction, the unhealthy behaviors associated with it, and how to recognize co-dependency. Therapy and counseling can also teach family members how to interact with each other in healthy ways as well as how to provide a healthy support system for the addict.


When it comes to addiction, family members often suffer the most. For some, knowing how to help an addict without enabling can be puzzling. Call us now at 1-800-429-7690 for more information about how to help an addict who doesn’t want help. Speak with an addiction specialist today and learn how you can best support your loved one in getting effective treatment for his or her addiction.