How To Talk To Someone With An Alcohol Or Drug Addiction
You might feel anxious or worried about talking to your loved one, and thats completely normal. It may be helpful to set aside time to talk when you and your loved one are sober and youre both feeling calm.11
Theres no perfect way of knowing how to help someone dealing with addiction, but a few ways to start the conversation can include:10, 11
- Emphasizing your love and concern, such as saying, I love you and I am concerned about your drinking/substance use.
- Sticking to the facts and providing examples like, I am worried by your angry behavior when you drink/use drugs.
- Letting them know that treatment can help, and they dont have to do it alone. You might say, I know it is not easy for you, but I have read that many people can stop drinking/using drugs if they get some type of treatment.
- Acknowledge their feelings. Let them talk and listen without judgment or arguing.
- Reinforce that you want to help and that youre going to stick by them. You might say, I am here for you no matter what, and I want you to know that I am willing to help you.
What If My Friend Isnt Responding To My Help
Sometimes, even the best efforts to help a friend arent enough to make them stop.
Find out about treatment resources that are available
Narcotics Anonymous and SMART Recovery are two self-help recovery programs that offer support from other people recovering from drug addictions, address the factors behind drug abuse and help people regain control of their lives. These websites have tons of information about addiction and getting help. If your friend isnt willing to go to a support group, try suggesting a confidential telephone service such as DirectLine.
Dont forget about yourself
When someone you care about is trapped in addiction, it affects you, too. Family Drug Help provides support and information to family members and friends of someone with an addiction.
How To Get An Addict To Tell The Truth
There are many red flags for addiction. Lying is one of the earliest identifiable signs that addiction is developing.
People addicted to drink or drugs lie for many reasons, often lying about alcohol intake and lying about their behavior when confronted by loved ones. Shame often underpins these lies, as does outright denial. Also, addiction triggers changes to thefunction and structure of the brain, often leading to someone speaking with less than complete honesty.
Some people lie to enable them to continue using substances, claiming they do not have a problem at all. Prolonged alcohol abuse or substance abuse can lead to problems with decision-making and other areas of routine executive functioning.
The more you understand about addiction in general, the more easily you can establish why your loved one is lying in the face of what appears to be overwhelming evidence of substance abuse. You are seeing the actions of your loved one being controlled by the substance and its effects rather than seeing your loved one as they really are. Once you grasp this, it becomes less frustrating to deal with any lies they might tell.
If you have no success in confronting your loved one about lying on your own, you could consider a formal intervention.
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Tip #: Get Counseling
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It may be helpful to get some individual counseling to assist yourself. Counseling isnt just for the addict. The more you are able to manage the better you will be able to help your loved one. There are a variety of resources to find counselors. Your company may have an Employee Assistance Program or your health insurance may have mental health benefits that you can access. Talk to someone you trust about finding the resources you need and do a search for resources in your area.
Speak With Your Friend And Encourage Them To Engage With Addiction Treatment
Initiate a conversation with your friend about substance abuse when they are not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When approaching your friend about addiction, try to create a dialogue instead of delivering a lecture.
Tell your friend the specific behaviors you have observed, emphasizing that you are concerned about the effects of their substance use, both on them and their family.
Reinforce that you are approaching them purely from a position of love and concern.
Impress upon your friend how engaging with addiction treatment is the best chance they have of reclaiming their life before things get even worse.
Do everything you can to ensure your friend finds a suitable treatment facility with an appropriate level of care for their needs.
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What Should I Expect After My Love One Returns From Rehab
After a loved one returns from rehab, you can expect things to be different, for a time. Recovery can be a vulnerable, confusing, and awkward time for people. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has outlined four points that can best support an individual in recovery.
|Health||Managing ones disease/symptoms and making healthy choices that promote physical and emotional well-being|
|Having relationships that provide support, friendship, love, and hope|
Initially, medical professionals recommend that family members educate themselves about addiction including the specific substance use disorder their loved one suffers from. Learning more about how substances affect your loved one can help you understand their mindset and why addiction is considered a chronic disorder. Alcoholism, an Opioid addiction, and a Meth addiction are all different, and individuals act differently when under the influence of each of these substances. Educating yourself will also help you recognize potential triggers and bad influences. To get started, clear your home of any alcohol or stimulants/intoxicants.
Frequently Asked Questions
Next, once youve set boundaries, you can encourage your loved one to take up some healthy habits to avoid triggers. Most 12-step groups urge individuals to exercise and participate in activities that keep the mind busy.
Approaching And Helping An Addict
Trying to help someone with an addiction can be a long, challenging, and painful process. Unlike someone with a physical health condition, such as cancer, a person with an addiction might not recognize the true danger of their illness or understand the risks of not treating it.
Its important to remember that they are ultimately responsible for their own recovery. Typically, they must first recognize that they have an addictive disorder. Then, they must be ready and willing to address their addiction before their recovery can even begin. Setting realistic expectations and boundaries can help you provide support, while protecting your own well-being.
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Support Recovery As An Ongoing Process
Once your loved one decides to enter treatment, its essential that you remain involved. Continue supporting their participation in ongoing care, meetings and participate in support groups for families of addicts. Be the support system that they need, and show them that youll be there every step of the way.
About Crest View Recovery Center
Crest View Recovery Center is an addiction rehab facility in Asheville, NC. Our treatment center specializes in an innovative form of reality therapy, with access to a variety of quality rehab programs. All programs allow each individual to focus their attention on getting better.
Dont let addiction take over your life. You can learn the skills necessary to overcome addiction issues. Contact us today to discover how the treatment professionals at Crest View Recovery Center can help you.
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Looking Ahead: The Future Of Treatment
Progress continues to be made as researchers seek out new and better treatments for alcohol problems. By studying the underlying causes of AUD in the brain and body, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is working to identify key cellular or molecular structurescalled targetsthat could lead to the development of new medications.
Thoughtfully Choose Your Words
Remember that language matters, and communicate as respectfully as possible. Avoid using language that promotes harmful stereotypes about addiction. Some words can negatively influence how people with addictions feel about themselves and about their ability to recover.
For instance, people often use the word “clean” to describe someone who is drug-free. However, the use of the word clean implies that the person who is addicted is “dirty” when they are using drugs.
Avoid calling them names like “addict” or “junkie.” A person’s addiction shouldn’t define who they are. Being called an “addict” can feel dehumanizing. Try using person-first language, such as “person with an addiction.”
I’m sorry you’re struggling with your addiction. I am here to help support you.
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Advice For Friends And Family Members
Caring for a person who has problems with alcohol can be very stressful. It is important that as you try to help your loved one, you find a way to take care of yourself as well. It may help to seek support from others, including friends, family, community, and support groups. If you are developing your own symptoms of depression or anxiety, think about seeking professional help for yourself. Remember that your loved one is ultimately responsible for managing his or her illness.
However, your participation can make a big difference. Based on clinical experience, many health providers believe that support from friends and family members is important in overcoming alcohol problems. But friends and family may feel unsure about how best to provide the support needed. The groups for family and friends listed below may be a good starting point.
Remember that changing deep habits is hard, takes time, and requires repeated efforts. We usually experience failures along the way, learn from them, and then keep going. AUD is no different. Try to be patient with your loved one. Overcoming this disorder is not easy or quick.
Pay attention to your loved one when he or she is doing better or simply making an effort. Too often we are so angry or discouraged that we take it for granted when things are going better. A word of appreciation or acknowledgement of a success can go a long way.
How To Help Someone Struggling With Addiction
John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. He is the medical director at Alcohol Recovery Medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health .
If you have a friend or relative who is living with addiction, you might be wondering how you can help. It’s not always easy to make the decision to try to help someone who has an addiction, but your loved one will have a greater chance of overcoming addiction with your support.
This article discusses some of the strategies you can use to help a friend or loved one who is struggling with an addiction. While every situation is unique, there are some general guidelines that can help.
Focus on building trust so they will be more likely to listen.
Be honest and let them know how the addiction is affecting your life and your relationship with them.
Respect their privacy while being supportive. You can’t force them into quitting, but you can be a source of strength.
Threaten. Giving ultimatums may lead them to hide the behavior.
Criticize. This can contribute to shame and lessen their belief in their ability to quit.
Expect immediate change. Recovery takes time and setbacks are bound to happen.
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Supporting A Loved Ones Addiction Recovery
Theres no one-size-fits-all solution to overcoming an addiction to drugs, and its rarely a process thats quick or straightforward. While you can support your loved one and encourage treatment, you cant force them to change or control their decision-making. Letting your loved one assume responsibility for their behavior and choices is an important step on their road to sobriety.
Adjust your expectations. Everyone is different. Recovery for one person may mean total abstinence from drugs. For another, it could mean cutting back or staying mostly drug-free. Being too rigid in your expectations can lead to disappointment and a sense of failure, even if your loved one finds stability in their life again.
Encourage your loved one to seek help. While some people are able to quit drugs on their own, the more help and support a person has, the better their chances of success. Offer to sit with your loved one while they call a helpline or accompany them to a doctors appointment, counseling session, or peer support group meeting.
Help plan for triggers and cravings. Your loved one will need to find ways to cope with drug cravings and triggers. You can help distract them with other activities or encourage them to learn how to ride out the urge, but ultimately, they have to be responsible for their own sobriety.
From Involuntary Commitment To An Intervention Learn More About What Your Options Are For Convincing An Addict To Go To Rehab
Your loved one is lost in their addiction. Nothing seems to be working. Theyve refused to go to rehab, theyre in denial, and you just desperately want them to see how bad things actually are.
At this point, its only natural to wonder: Can you force someone to go to rehab? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2009 some 23.5 million people needed treatment for substance abuse. Only 2.6 million, or roughly 11%, actually got the help they needed. You might be scared to put to much pressure on your loved one, but the reality is that the right kind of pressure can get them into treatment. Heres everything you need to know.
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What Is An Intervention
An intervention is a process of safely and respectfully approaching a person about their addiction and behavior to encourage them to seek help. It is a structured event that is best supported with the help of a professional to avoid a confrontational environment that could feel threatening.23
An intervention usually takes place at a specific time and includes the support of family, friends, coworkers, and other people involved in the persons life, along with guidance from a trained interventionist.13
There is no concrete research that supports the effectiveness of confrontational interventions, and they could backfire or escalate, especially if they are not properly conducted or managed.23
If you are interested in having an intervention, seek professional guidance or encourage your loved one to talk to their doctor first. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that people may be more likely to listen to professionals than to conversations with family or friends, as these can be more emotionally charged.6, 23
Do: Seek Counseling Or Therapy
Addiction affects everyone, from the person in treatment to their loved ones. Its important to ensure youre well enough to manage the potential stress of helping someone dealing with addiction. Acknowledging that you may be in over your head and in need of professional help is normal and healthy. Its also necessary for you to help your loved one to the best of your abilities.
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How To Help Someone With Drug Addiction
It is not easy for a person to recover from addiction, and theres no quick, easy fix or cure. A person may keep using substances even though it hurts their friendships and family relationships. Its not just because they dont care about loved ones, but because their brain has changed due to the addiction.5
You may feel desperate and want to make a loved one go into treatment or get help, but you cant force a person with a SUD to stop using substances or go to rehab. However, you can support them in several ways, including:2, 6, 7, 8
- Educating yourself on addiction.
- Expressing hope that change is possible.
- Maintaining your commitment to loving and encouraging them.
- Be honest yet compassionate when expressing your feelings and concerns.
- Maintaining healthy boundaries.
- Avoiding blame or accusing the person of doing something wrong.
- Realizing that the person cant stop using without help.
- Researching treatment facilities and calling rehabs to discuss treatment options.
- Offering to accompany your loved one to the doctor. A physician can evaluate the addiction and discuss appropriate treatment options.
Its normal to feel stressed, angry, or anxious about the situation. Make time to care for yourself and ensure that your needs are met. Join a support group for loved ones of people with addiction or seek individual counseling to help you cope.8
Helping A Friend With Addiction
If you’re worried about a friend who has an addiction, you can use these tips to help him or her. For example, let your friend know that you are available to talk or offer your support. If you notice a friend backsliding, talk about it openly and ask what you can do to help.
If your friend is going back to drugs or drinking and won’t accept your help, don’t be afraid to talk to a nonthreatening, understanding adult, like your parent or school counselor. It may seem like you’re ratting your friend out, but it’s the best support you can offer.
Above all, offer a friend who’s battling an addiction lots of encouragement and praise. It may seem corny, but hearing that you care is just the kind of motivation your friend needs.
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