How to Convince Someone They Have a Drug Problem

How to Convince Someone They Have a Drug Problem – A Guide to Helping a Loved One

When a loved one has become addicted to drugs or alcohol, it can cause you great fear and concerned about their future, and with good cause; in 2017, more than 72,000 souls were lost to drug overdose in the United States.  What makes things harder is that the addict usually defends their substance-abusing position – actively avoiding any kind of treatment. Therefore, the best ways on how to convince someone they have a drug problem will be discussed in this article.

Want to learn more about ways you can help a loved one with an addiction? Click here for effective tips.

Educate Yourself about Addiction

One of the most common myths about addiction that still persist today is that it originates from poor decision making and a lack of self-control or willpower. How to convince someone they have a drug problem from such a stance can do more harm than good. The truth is that it has little to do with self-control and poor decision making since it is a clinical mental disorder, recognized in the DSM-5 as substance use disorder.

How to help a loved one get sober starts by learning everything you can about how addiction works so that you can better understand what kind of help and support they need, as well as what to avoid doing.

Learn About the Specific Drugs

One of the things that will help you to know how to convince someone they have a drug problem is to learn about the specific drug or substance that they are abusing. Each drug, including stimulants, hallucinogens and sedatives among others, has a different effect on the body and mind. What substance your loved one is abusing may cause them to become paranoid, angry or they may find it difficult to focus on what you are trying to tell them.

The Causes of Addiction and How Addiction Works

Just like other mental disorders, there are causes that are often outside of the sphere of control that the individual has. The factors that can increase a person’s likelihood of becoming an addict include:

  • Environment – These are all the things that are unique to the individual’s situation such as their circle of friends, family, quality of life and economic status. Other factors can include stress, sexual abuse, peer pressure and more.
  • Biology – A person’s biology accounts for roughly half of their risk of becoming an addict. These can be things such as their gender, mental disorders, and ethnicity.
  • Developmental factors – It has been discovered that the earlier a person starts to use drugs in their life, especially during their developmental stages, it can increase their risk of forming an addiction. However, it’s important to note that any person who abuses drugs or alcohol can become an addict, regardless of their age.

Is There Another Mental Disorder?

When there is a mental disorder such as PTSD or bi-polar present, then there is a much higher chance that the person can become hooked on drugs or alcohol – especially if the symptoms of their disorder are not treated effectively, or at all.

Learn About Treatment

How to help a loved one get sober requires that you also know about their options for treatment. There are many programs to choose from such as:

  • Outpatient rehab
  • Inpatient rehab
  • Residential rehab
  • Partial hospitalization
  • Medically-assisted detox
  • Aftercare services

Of course, deciding on the specifics as far as what types of behavioral therapies should be used can be handled by professionals.

Create an Intervention Plan

One of the best ways on how to convince someone they have a drug problem is through an intervention. An intervention is when a person or group of people comes together to try and help the addict come to the sudden realization that they need help for an addiction. An intervention is a planned event so that everyone involved in helping the addict can prepare what they are going to say and not allow their emotions to dilute the message.


An intervention plan should involve all of the aspects that are required to get your message across. This includes choosing a suitable time so that the right people can be involved; discussing what each person will say, and making sure that treatment is ready for the addict.

Of course, this can be a daunting task. However, you can employ the services of an intervention specialist that will assist you through every step of the process.

The Confrontation

Finally confronting the addict about their substance abuse problem should be done carefully so as not to undermine your efforts. How to support an addict without enabling is about letting them know that you are there to love and support them, but you cannot be a part of their substance abuse. This message must come from a place of love and concern for their wellbeing above all else.

How to support an addict without enabling them in this sense, and during the confrontation, is about not letting your emotions such as disappointment, shame, fear, or anger get the better of you. If the addict were to become enraged and you respond by becoming similarly enraged and then resort to letting go of the situation because it feels like you can’t control the outcome, then you are in a sense enabling the behavior – especially if you were to cover for them and continue to support them financially.

Withhold Judgment

How to convince someone they have a drug problem can be difficult if you haven’t gone through the same situation. Your words may hold less weight because you cannot truly know what they are going through. As such, it’s important to withhold your judgments as they serve no place in trying to help the addict get into rehab for their problem.

Have a Rehab Treatment Program Ready

One of the important aspects of an intervention and helping a loved one find help is having treatment ready. If you were to convince an addict that they need help but don’t have treatment ready for them, then by the time you organize a treatment program, their minds may have changed.

Find a rehab that meets the standards of effective treatment and speak to them before attempting to confront the addict. You can then make preparations so that they are ready to accept the addict into a treatment program.

The most ideal situation would be that you found a rehab near you, such as the local rehabs found on Better Addiction Care, and then be able to drive the addict to the rehab facility directly after the intervention.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.


  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Drug Addiction Treatment in the United States. Accessed June 28, 2023.
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Talking With Your Adult Child About Substance Use. Accessed June 28, 2023.
  3. American Addiction Centers. How to Approach a Loved One About Their Drug Addiction. Accessed June 28, 2023.
  4. Mayo Clinic. Drug Addiction: Helping Someone With Addiction. Accessed June 28, 2023.
  5. HelpGuide. Helping Someone with a Substance Abuse Problem. Accessed June 28, 2023.
  6. Psychology Today. How to Help Someone with Addiction. Accessed June 28, 2023.
  7. Addiction Center. How to Help Someone with a Drug Addiction. Accessed June 28, 2023.
  8. Healthline. How to Talk to Someone About Their Drug Use. Accessed June 28, 2023.
  9. Verywell Mind. How to Help Someone with a Drug Problem. Accessed June 28, 2023.
  10. How to Convince Someone to Get Help for a Drug Problem. Accessed June 28, 2023.
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