how to help an addict

If you care about someone who is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you might feel helpless at times. Though you might be able to clearly see that the person you care about needs help with their addiction and mental health, they might not be ready to face the truth. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t try to help them. 

Today, we will review how to help an addict to understand that they do not have to live with addiction. In addition to looking at why your loved one might be struggling with addiction, we will cover different approaches on how to help an addict get the help they need.

How to Help Someone with Drug Addiction

how to help a drug addict

Having an addiction to drugs or alcohol can be a serious risk to one’s physical and emotional wellbeing. When you are trying to learn how to help an addict, it’s important to start with recognizing all of the warning signs. While it’s true that anybody can develop an substance abuse issue, there are certain factors and causes of addiction that could put your loved one at a greater risk.

Things like a family history of addiction, your loved one going through a traumatic experience, or them having co-occurring mental health disorders are all risk factors that contribute to addiction. But being aware of these significant risk factors can give you a head start on knowing how to help an addict that you love. You might be able to bring these elements to their attention before the problem gets out of hand.

Additionally, look for any changes in your loved one’s behaviors or health, such as:

  • Using prescription drugs more frequently than the recommended dose
  • Collecting drug paraphernalia or using household items to store drugs
  • Constantly talking or asking about drugs or alcohol
  • Experiencing memory loss
  • Going through withdrawal symptoms when not using
  • Having more severe mental illness symptoms

This last factor of addiction shows that mental health and substance use often go hand-in-hand. This means that untreated mental health concerns can lead to more substance use and more substance use can actually lead to worsening mental health symptoms. So, knowing how to help an addict also encompasses mental health assistance.

How to Help an Addict with Their Mental Health

Mental health can be a sensitive topic. Unfortunately, mental health is seen as taboo in society, meaning that it’s not well understood. But the reality is that millions of people in the United States struggle with some sort of mental health issue. Some commonly occurring mental health disorders are:


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  • Anxiety
  • Affective disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Mood disorders
  • Panic attacks 

While the symptoms of all of these disorders range widely depending on the person and their experiences, red flags that your loved one might be struggling with their mental health include self-isolation, expressions of hopelessness, and turning to drugs or alcohol in moments of stress.

One of the best ways on how to help an addict with their mental health is simply to ask them if they would like to talk to you. Having a supportive friend or family member can sometimes help them to feel as though they have someone to go to for help. Furthermore, assisting your loved one in finding professional mental health care is the most important thing that you can do.

Mental health conditions like the ones listed above and so many others require expert treatment. In mental health treatment, your loved one will have opportunities to engage in recovery options such as:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Group therapy
  • Medication management
  • Trauma therapy
  • Discharge planning

Moreover, dual diagnosis treatment is specially meant to help those who struggle with both addiction and mental health concerns. This type of programming might be exactly what your loved one needs to find full healing from all of their symptoms.

How to Help Someone Recovering from Addiction

how to help someone with drug addiction

When the time is right, your loved one will hopefully receive the help they need. Recovery comes in many forms, but it is much more achievable with the help of a rehab facility catered for addiction and mental health guidance. Besides, some of these recovery centers offer family therapy and counseling. This means that you can be involved in the healing process alongside your loved one.

After treatment, your loved one will need more support than ever. Keep in mind that recovery is a long-lasting process. Your loved one will need to readjust their entire lives to maintain sobriety and emotional wellness. The best way to support them as they continue to recover would be to ask them what they need from you. 

They might need somebody to talk to during hard times or even somebody to help take them to addiction meetings and therapy sessions. They might also need sober companions so that they feel confident enough to brave the outside world without having to rely on drugs or alcohol. Most importantly, they will need your love through all of the ups and downs that come with addiction and mental health recovery.

Find Help for Your Loved One Today

Regardless of what approach you take on how to help an addict, remember that help should come from a place of love. At Georgetown Behavioral Hospital, our experts are here to help you prepare for the challenging conversations about addiction. Between mental health care and addiction recovery, your loved one will have access to many different opportunities to heal. And when you are introducing options for recovery to your loved one, be sure to let them know that they do not have to navigate everything on their own. 

Additionally, we believe that your loved one should not have to worry about the financial burden of recovery. Therefore, we will work with every patient who makes the choice to enter into recovery. This includes patients with and without insurance. 

To get more information on how to help an addict, give us a call at 937-483-4933 or complete a confidential contact submission today. With your support and the help from Georgetown Behavioral Hospital, your loved one will see that recovery is right at their fingertips.

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