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 / Addiction Information / How to Help A Family Member

How to Approach and Help an Addicted Loved One

What is Addiction?

You may not know how to help a loved one battling an addiction. Addiction is a complex disease that impacts individuals and their loved ones, but it is essential to approach the situation thoughtfully. Here are some tips for approaching someone who needs help from addiction.

Addiction is a disease that affects the brain and the body. People who suffer from addiction may experience cravings and withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using drugs or alcohol. People who suffer from addiction may have trouble controlling their actions and share negative thoughts and feelings.


The brain and the body are impacted by addiction.

Tips When Approaching an Addicted Loved One



The first step is to be empathetic. The more you understand your loved one's situation, the more you can offer support. It does not matter if you are the person struggling with addiction or if you are the person who is supporting them. Being compassionate and listening to what they say is critical in this situation.




When you are aware of the effects of addiction, it can help you to understand what your loved one may be experiencing. You may assist a close friend or family member through several methods.


Knowing what to do is the first step in practical support for someone struggling with addiction. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can help if you're unsure what to do.




When your loved one is fighting addiction, listening is essential. Listening to what they say is important, even if you do not understand. This is because the more you listen, the more you know what is happening.




The next step is to understand what is going on. This is the most crucial step when supporting a loved one with an addiction. You need to know why they are struggling. This cannot be easy, but you need to understand.


The more you understand, the more you can help.




The final step is to offer support. This is the most critical step in practical support for someone struggling with addiction. You need to be a source of support and understanding. You can help them with the struggles they are facing, and you can help them find the help they need.


We all know it is good to do something for the ones we love, and we should be there for them when they need us. This can be difficult, not easy, but it is essential to offer support. If you are the one who is struggling with addiction, you need to find the help you need.

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Expert Contributor

Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

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What is an Intervention?

Now you have known tips to approach your loved ones suffering from addiction. The next step is to help them overcome that addiction with successful intervention. When a loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, an intervention may be organized by family members, friends trained in the art of intervention, or qualified alcohol and drug therapists.


It's not uncommon for a member of your loved one's religious community or others concerned about the addict to become involved.


Interventionists are meant to face your loved one with the implications of their addiction and urge that they agree to treatment. It's called "the intervention."


It gives detailed instances of damaging actions and their effect on your addicted loved one's family and friends. It provides a treatment strategy with predetermined activities, objectives, and recommendations. If your loved one rejects therapy, make it clear what each individual involved will do.

What is the Procedure for an Intervention?

In most cases, an intervention entails the following measures:




Family or friends come up with the idea of intervention and get together a team to make it happen. To have the highest chance of success, you should seek the advice of an expert in the field of addiction treatment, a psychiatric medical professional, a counselor, or an interventionist. 


An intervention may elicit strong emotions such as rage, hatred, or a feeling of guilt among those involved.




It is essential to gather as much information as possible about the individual. There are several ways to do this. The first is to talk to the individual, their spouse, and other family members. The second is to speak to the individual's therapist.




Individuals from the planning team are assigned to the intervention and are expected to participate in its implementation. Teams work together on a pre-planned presentation date and venue, then deliver under the agreed-upon strategy. 


It is common for non-family members of the team to assist the debate centered on facts and agree with ideas rather than strong emotional reactions.




Outcomes are usually the specific steps that will be taken following the intervention. These are usually a requirement for the addict's admission to treatment. The group should decide on a clear set of recommendations for the addict and should state these clearly to the addict. 




There are concrete situations in which each team member explains how the addiction has affected their lives, ranging from emotional distress to financial hardship. As you bring up the negative consequences of their actions, show your concern and the hope that they will improve. 




Your addicted loved one gets summoned to the intervention location without providing a cause for their summons. 


Afterward, each team member has a turn voicing their worries and opinions. Your loved one is offered a treatment choice and expected to accept that decision immediately, without further discussion. 


Your loved one's team members will detail what modifications they intend to make if they don't get your approval. Make sure you're prepared to carry out whatever consequences you threaten if you do so.




Helping someone with addiction remain in treatment and prevent relapsing requires the support of a partner, relatives, or others. 


Relapse may be avoided by modifying your daily routines, participating in therapy sessions with a loved one, obtaining help for yourself, and understanding what to do in the event of a recurrence.

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It's essential to consider the many therapy choices available since some of them are beneficial. Assess your and your loved one's objectives to determine which strategies are most appropriate.


Various treatment options are available depending on the type of addiction, including counseling or outreach programs. There are a few alternatives, such as:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)


CBT is based on the belief that addiction is a learned behavior. The treatment involves changing a person's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to reduce cravings and triggers. Group or individual sessions are available for this therapy.


Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)


DBT is a treatment for anger, aggression, and impulsivity that successfully treats addictive behaviors. DBT includes cognitive and behavioral strategies to help people cope with emotions and change their behavior.


12-Step Programs


12-step programs are based on the belief that the only way to recover is to admit the addict's weaknesses and turn to a higher power for help. The 12-step programs are often the only alternative for individuals in the throes of addiction.


Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)


MAT involves taking prescribed medication to help with withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapses. For example, in the case of opioids, it consists in taking the drug under medical supervision. 


Online Psychotherapy


Assists individuals in thinking about how their lives will be better after they stop using; these programs generally integrate aspects of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and behavior modification.

What If Your Loved One Rejects You?

If they decline your assistance, there is nothing you can do. However, one method to assist someone who rejects drug abuse treatment is to understand their addiction and then look for tools to persuade them to alter their ways. 


Alternatively, to challenge them, provide them reasons to see a physician. A medical expert may persuade a loved one or acquaintance to get treatment for their addiction more effectively than a relative or friend.

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Substance abuse can be a devastating issue for a loved one. If your loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it's essential to help them stay clean and sober. By assisting your loved one with addiction, you can positively impact their life. However, it would help if you did not act as a judge. They should accept their loved one's choice to get help.

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What is addiction?
Tips when approaching an addicted loved one
What is an intervention?
What is the procedure for an intervention?
Discover an effective plan of recovery
What if your loved one rejects you?
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