How to Help an Addict

Around half of Americans have abused a substance at some point. Learn more about how to help an addict here.

how to help an addict

Article Contents

Understanding Substance Abuse

Around 50 percent of people over 12 have abused a substance at least once in their life. That same study found that as of 2020, over three million people currently suffer from a substance use disorder. As a result, there is a high likelihood that you or someone you know is now struggling with a substance use disorder 1 and you need to know how to help an addict.

Substance abuse is a symptom of substance use disorders, a mental health disorder impacting the mind and body. Treatment can be difficult, especially without a robust support system, like any other mental health disorder If someone you know is dealing with addiction, it is important to know when to help—and how.

How to Help Someone Dealing with Addiction

The best way to help someone deal with addiction is to be a strong, healthy support system. This involves helping them while also not allowing your mental health to deteriorate in the process. It also involves knowing when it’s time for professional help.

However, before taking this step, there are other ways to help loved ones with addiction. This includes identifying substance abuse and substance use disorders, providing comfort during recovery, and understanding of their situation.

Recognizing Drug Abuse In Someone

The first step to helping someone with an addiction is recognizing substance abuse. Unless you witness someone abusing a substance, it can be challenging to know whether there is a problem.

Potential Indications of Drug Abuse

However, these changes in their lifestyle and health may be a key indicator:

How To Talk To Someone About Their Drug Abuse

Talking to someone about their drug abuse can be difficult. However, it can also be one of the best ways to support them and help them start their recovery. The number one thing to remember is not to delay. Once you feel that you are sure someone you love is dealing with substance abuse, create a safe environment for this conversation.

Important Considerations

It’s also important to express your concerns honestly. Let them know that you care about them and are worried about their well-being. Offer them information that can help and listen to what they have to say. Be prepared for denial, as admitting addiction is often a difficult process.

One conversation most likely won’t be enough to lead someone to seek help for a substance use disorder. However, remaining patient and compassionate while maintaining your boundaries is important. Avoid lecturing, threatening, bribing, or punishing your loved one.

Remain Sensitive and Understanding

Although it may be tempting to become frustrated, especially after what seems like a failed conversation, it’s important to be understanding of their situation. Substance abuse and addiction are results of a mental health condition, just like depression.

Recognizing a problem and seeking help can be daunting. However, by remaining a part of their support system, you’ll be able to help them more than you could through harsh words and actions.

Supporting Someone’s Addiction Recovery

After helping your loved ones recognize their addiction, you can continue to support them in their recovery. Some of the ways you can do this include:

  • Adjust your expectations
  • Encourage your loved one to seek help
  • Ensure they address any co-occurring issues
  • Help plan for triggers and cravings
  • Encourage them to explore new interests
  • Accept the likelihood of relapse.

Things to Consider If You Participate in Addiction Help

When supporting someone working to recover from a substance use disorder, it’s also important to consider your mental health. You cannot be a part of a healthy support system if you neglect your well-being. Make sure to take time for yourself and focus on your boundaries when necessary.

Some of the other things to keep in mind when helping a friend or loved one with a substance use disorder include the following:

  • Keep working on establishing trust.
  • Be honest about your feelings.
  • Do not blame, criticize, or humiliate.
  • Be prepared for blame.

Approaches That Work for Addiction

Addiction can make it difficult to connect with those around you. It can also take a toll on your mental and physical help. However, whether you or someone you love are struggling with substance abuse, there are treatments available. These science-based approaches target addiction’s mental and environmental sources to treat substance use disorder at the source.

As of 2018, only around 11 percent of individuals struggling with addiction and substance abuse were able to access care. Taking advantage of the variety of beneficial approaches, such as those below, can make care more accessible. Other options for treatment include medications, online therapy, and support groups.2

Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT)

Because beginning treatment for drug addiction and undergoing withdrawal can be daunting, motivation is often low at the beginning of treatment. Community Reinforcement and Family Training, or CRAFT, focuses on overcoming these times of lack of motivation to boost recovery rates.3

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is one of the most common forms of psychotherapy. It focuses on helping individuals better understand the relationship between thoughts and actions. This can help prevent unhealthy thoughts and their consequential unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Get Help With Addiction at Iris Healing

Although getting treatment for a substance use disorder can be daunting, it doesn’t need to be. Studies have shown that around 20 percent of people struggling with addiction aren’t sure of where to turn for help. At Iris Healing, however, you’ll find a variety of science-based holistic approaches focused on helping to restore balance to your life.4

Begin Your Holistic Healing Journey Today

Iris Healing provides a staff of licensed healthcare professionals dedicated to helping ensure your success during recovery from substance use disorders. From addiction treatment to wellness-focused sessions like yoga, you’ll find various treatment options best suited to meet your individual needs.

At Iris Healing, we will help you or your loved one regain autonomy over your lives and achieve long lasting wellness and sobriety. Contact us today to begin your healing journey; we look forward to connecting with you.

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