There’s nothing more painful seeing someone you care about struggling in the throes of an addiction. It’s often difficult for friends and loved ones to understand how to help an addict when they’re in such a state. There’s the fear that pushing them too hard could cause them to pull away. Yet, if you just sit by, they could end up getting sick from or even dying from their illness. How do you manage the tricky balancing act that is figuring out how to help an addict find a place of healing? At Atlantic Recovery Center, we have the answers.
Educate Yourself About Addiction
Learn as much as you can about addiction and the effects it has on the brain. The more you understand, the better you’ll be able to confront the problem of helping an addict overcome their dependency. Understand the signs to look for and how it changes the behavior of those struggling with addiction disorders.
- Often appearing to be under the influence while in public
- Exhibiting lethargic behavior or complain about having problems sleeping
- Letting their appearance and hygiene deteriorate
- Constantly avoiding social events to use their substance of choice
- Stealing money and other valuables from friends and family
- Lashing out whenever anyone broaches the subject of substance abuse
- Start having issues staying employed
- Lie about the amount of a substance they use each day
- Go through withdrawal when they attempt to stop using their substance of choice
People often exhibit different behavior when sober versus being under the influence. You’ll hear them saying hurtful things or risking their lives doing things like driving while intoxicated or getting into fights. You may feel intense pressure to step in before things go to a tragic place.
Find Support for Yourself
It’s important that you take care of your own mental and physical well-being while figuring out how to help an addict. Dealing with the whiplash that comes with dealing with someone with an addiction takes a toll on your well-being. Turn to support groups like Al-Anon or Nar-Anon for some much-needed reinforcement. You may also look into attending individual or family therapy sessions for professional guidance.
Try to Avoid the Blame Game
One way many people try to help someone struggling with addiction is by staging an intervention. That’s when friends and loved ones gather to speak directly to the individual in question about their substance abuse. It’s important that the focus remain on showing compassion, not on airing personal grievances. Heaping blame on the head of an addict may end up driving them further away, to where they cut you off entirely.
Break the Cycle of Codependency
While you should avoid the temptation to attack an addict over their destructive behavior, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set boundaries. Avoid the trap of doing things like providing money to support a habit or allowing them to continue using a substance while living in the same household. Avoid making yourself responsible for their well-being. As painful as it can be, stop putting their well-being above that of yourself or anyone else you are close to. Stay consistent in enforcing your rules while keeping the lines of communication open.
Find the Right Rehab Setting
One of the best solutions for those trying to work out how to help an addict is getting them professional help. Longer rehab stays increase the chances that an addict will avoid relapse once they leave. However, if you can’t convince someone to go in for inpatient or residential treatment, try to convince them to try other methods like partial hospitalization or outpatient therapy. It may take some time to convince them to fully commit to the process. In the end, any first step is positive, even if it may not be one you would prefer.
Get Help With Addiction at Atlantic Recovery Center
Atlantic Recovery Center offers a variety of programs and services meant to help those looking for ways on how to help an addict.
Call 1-866-824-5193 if you have more questions about our programs or need some advice on the best way of helping an addict work through their issues.