If you know somebody who is struggling with addiction, you probably experience moments where you feel completely helpless. You want to help and give support, but aren’t sure where to start. You might even feel as though you are doing everything you can to support your loved one but they are still struggling with addiction. So, how can you help an addict?
This article will address how to help an addict by explaining addiction, reviewing the warning signs of alcohol and drug abuse and co-occurring mental health conditions, and directing you on where you can find help for an addict at a treatment center today.
The Warning Signs and Risks of Addiction
One way that you will be able to help an addict from the start of their journey is to recognize the risks of addiction. As family members and friends of someone struggling with addiction, you usually have additional insight into the person’s background. Use your knowledge of the person with addiction struggles to better evaluate exactly what they might be going through.
For example, if there is a family history of substance use disorders, there will be a greater risk that your loved one will also struggle with the symptoms of alcoholism or drug addiction. If you have insight into your loved one’s upbringing, including any traumatic experiences or abuse, you should recognize that this also puts them at a higher risk for developing addiction struggles.
Moreover, if your loved one has any co-occurring mental health conditions (i.e, depression, eating disorders, schizophrenia, phobias), you will want to stay up-to-date on their symptoms. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism shares that mental health conditions are “two to three times more likely” in a person with addiction struggles, and often the symptoms are more intense and longer lasting.
Thus, knowing if your loved one has a mental health condition could greatly influence their experiences with alcohol and drug use and require intensive, specialized treatment, such as a dual diagnosis program.
By first understanding the risk of addiction for your loved one, you will be better prepared to recognize the warning signs, should they develop. Some common signifiers that you might recognize include:
- An excessive use of drugs and alcohol
- Needing more of the substance to feel its effects
- Engaging in risky or impulsive behaviors
- Forgetting or lying frequently
- Worsening mental health symptoms
If any of these warning signs look familiar, your loved one might be struggling with addiction. While it can feel incredibly urgent to confront the person struggling with addiction as soon as any warning signs appear, know that the best way you can help an addict is to practice patience and prepare for what might be a very challenging conversation or intervention.
How to Stage an Intervention and Help an Addict
An intervention is meant to jolt your loved one into understanding (or beginning to recognize) that they might have a problem with drugs or alcohol. We recommend coming up with an intervention plan ahead of time. As a group of family members or friends, you will choose the right environment for this conversation as well as the talking points you’d like to cover. With the plan in place, you will be ready to invite your loved one into the discussion.
Prior to expressing your concerns to your loved one, take a moment to examine your own feelings. Why do you feel it is important for them to recover? How has this person’s addiction impacted you? What are your goals for their recovery? Any conversation about addiction can be extremely tricky to navigate for both parties. Reflecting on the emotions that you could be bringing into this interaction can help you to respond appropriately to any conflicts that arise.
That being said, we suggest coming into an intervention with honest intentions to help your loved one. Reserving judgement, using patience, and suggesting solutions such as a local addiction treatment facility will guide the conversation toward a place of healing rather than confrontation. If you’re not sure how to help an addict, make sure to start from a place of genuine care and respect.
Remember, it’s important to understand that addiction is not a choice and it’s not something that goes away overnight. Rather, it’s a life-long battle that your loved one is going to have to fight. Now more than ever, your support and understanding of addiction is necessary in helping them to overcome addiction.
Your Support in Addiction Treatment
Getting your loved one to a trusted substance abuse and mental health treatment center is truly the best way that you can help an addict. Not only are you leading them to the professional resources they need to safely detox from alcohol and the effects of drugs, but by supporting their journey through rehab, you are also giving them the chance to develop long-term strategies to maintain their sobriety and mental health concerns.
There are many different treatment options for your loved one and their recovery program will depend on the type of addiction they struggle with as well as if they have any co-occurring mental health disorders. At the top rehab facilities, your loved one will be able to attend a program that is specific to their needs, such as:
While your loved one will spend a lot of time working their program, going to individual therapy, and attending group sessions, you can still be involved in their recovery process through treatment options like family therapy. Family therapy sessions help everyone to engage in conversations about addiction and mental health challenges, and they can be incredibly healing to patients and their friends, family members, and support team.
Ultimately, the best approach on how to help an addict comes from your dedication to the process, just as much as your loved one’s hard work. By listening to their needs, being open to forgiveness, learning about addiction, and offering support during and after their time in their recovery program, you will know how to help an addict to the best of your abilities.
Help an Addict with Professional Care
Knowing how to help an addict is not an easy task, and it’s not one that you should take on alone. The truth is that substance use disorder is a mental health condition that requires professional treatment in addition to your love and assistance. The most effective way that you can provide your support to an addict is by getting them professional addiction treatment today.
At the Blackberry Center, we offer professional substance abuse and mental health services for any challenges someone struggling with addiction could be going through. Contact us with your questions and concerns by calling 888-512-9802 or fill out our confidential contact form.