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5 Dos and Donts When Your Loved One Is Struggling with Drug Addiction

Published May 25, 2021 By Addiction Helpline America

It’s hard living with a person who has a drug addiction, especially if you love them and want all the best for them. While the condition is harmful to the health of the affected individual, you may also have issues because of it. Feeling hopeless, angry, offended is completely fine in this situation.

However, you should know that there are things you can do to help. There are also actions that aren’t recommended for your and their well-being. Drug addiction causes depression signs, and any conversation may make matters worse.

To help you out, we’ve gathered 5 dos and 5 don’t in this situation. We wish you to go through these hard times and help your loved one get their life back and live drug-free.

5 Dos on How to Deal with a Drug Addict

First of all, let’s see how you can help your close person heal from addiction.

1. Prepare to Communicate About the Issue

Ignoring the problem won’t help its treatment. You must be ready to communicate on the issue. This may seem scary, especially if the affected person hasn’t realized they are addicted yet. However, sooner or later, the conversation will take place.

Here are some recommendations:

  • Make sure they are sober when you’re talking about the issue;
  • Contact professionals to consult on the best methods of starting such a conversation;
  • Do your best to stay calm and talk smoothly, without aggressiveness;
  • Help them realize you’re there to help;
  • Don’t strike with rehab propositions right away until you get a proper reaction;
  • Consider writing down the speech to make sure you know what to say when the stress hits.

2. Make Sure You’re Educated Enough on the Problem

In the world of stigma about literally everything, all people seem to know what addiction is. However, most of them know very little. Their knowledge consists of what they’ve heard from neighbors about someone’s husband and similar things.

It’s important to educate yourself. Gladly, there are many official online sources ready to serve the purpose:

Get information, contact specialists if you need to know more, do everything so that you can prove your arguments in a conversation. This knowledge may help your beloved person heal.

3. Consider Creating Boundaries

To motivate the addicted one to change and seek help, it’s wise to set boundaries. Choose whatever you feel comfortable with, whether it’s a curfew or an agreement that you won’t help them with financial and legal issues if they happen because of the addiction.

This seems harsh and may bring changes to your relationships. However, hopefully, the person will understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Plus, you won’t fuel the problem anymore.

Make sure to set consequences for breaking the boundaries. This will show that you’re serious and there’s a reason to get out of the condition.

4.  Investigate the Range of Treatments

There’s a treatment for any addiction and all underlying causes. Inpatient and outpatient programs (when the person stays at the center versus goes there for treatment), communities, psychotherapy, and many more types are available.

Learn as much as you can about them. Contact facilities, ask for their assistance in persuading the person with an addiction to try healing. There’s a lot of information online, so you don’t have to make excuses for going to the centers asking for information.

Read about the issue and what causes it. Make sure you know how to help your loved one heal when they are ready for it. When the opportunity arises, you have to know where to go and what to say.

5. Set Up Your Self-Care Routine

Living with an addicted person is stressful. Not to get depressed, you need to remember that you need care as well. Create a routine, including actions to maintain and improve your mental health, physical condition, skin, hair, and mood. 

Don’t think that if the loved one is struggling, you have to, too. Instead, show them with your example that it’s possible to live a happy life where you have no mental health problems, pleasant ways to cope with stress that don’t involve alcohol or drugs, and the kind of routine that doesn’t include self-destruction.

Become the perfect example!

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5 Don’ts on Helping a Loved One Fight Addiction

Here are the 5 things you should never do if a close person has developed a drug addiction.

1. Don’t Force Them to Do Anything

Many people are making mistakes like trying to force a person with an addiction to quit. They present conditions such as “It’s either me or your drugs”, etc. While this may be merely a desperate attempt to make the person hear you, it makes the situation worse.

At some stages, they can leave. It doesn’t mean they don’t love or respect you. Drugs change how the brain works, and doing anything to get another dose becomes the main focus. Do your best to be gentle in dialogues.

2. Don’t Look at Them Like They Aren’t Normal

Looking down at a person with an addiction like they are insane will promote depressive signs, which isn’t an improvement. Nobody chooses to be addicted. If the condition develops, make sure you provide moral support and understanding instead of judgment.

The major punishment is the addiction itself. It breaks their body and mental health down pretty quickly. And having a loved one around constantly picking at them isn’t the best treatment. Be as understanding as you can when talking to them.

There are many stereotypes around addiction; you don’t want to power them even more.

3. Don’t Give Up As Soon As the Problem Comes

Things may get so difficult you will think about giving up. However, no situation is worth giving up if you’re truly in love with the addicted person. You may be the only anchor they have connecting them to the real world. Losing the sense that they can change will make the consequences much worse.

While you shouldn’t let the situation harm your physical and mental health, try not to give up and do everything you can to help the close person regain their life. Fortunately, you’re not alone. There are many other people being anchors for their loved ones. There are also professionals who can help heal from any addiction.

4. Don’t Enable Them; Help Them

Don’t give them money, don’t lie to get them out of trouble, even if this seems like a great deal of assistance. This sounds like a contradiction to helping a person. However, you have to see the line between enabling and helping. If you give them money, pay their rent while they spend their finances buying drugs, this won’t help.

All material wealth is just a deposit for them now to go get more drugs or alcohol. Remember, the brain work changes when someone develops an addiction. It’s very sad, but you should be able to see that line between helping to recover and paying for further deterioration.

This includes anything you do or say which enables the person to go indulge in the addiction instead of handling their life.

5. Don’t Act Like There’s No Problem

If the affected person tries to calm you down by saying it’s not a problem when it clearly is, don’t ignore it. The easiest thing to do is to let them bury themselves in addiction and its consequences. It may also be difficult to realize that someone you love needs help. 

Our brain loves to think that everything is alright even when we’re in trouble. It’s one of the defense mechanisms, but it will bring more harm than good.

If you see an issue, try communicating about it, present arguments and examples to help the affected one accept that the condition is pretty bad. The matters will get worse the longer they drink or take drugs. So, it’s worth acting as soon as you notice something.

Get Help with Drug Addiction ASAP

As soon as you start seeing addiction signs, don’t panic. Help the loved one realize they have a problem and find proper treatment. If they deny the fact, negotiate lightly. Most people don’t actually think they have an issue before hitting rock bottom.

And of course, it’s better to start healing before that happens. There are hundreds of rehabilitation centers where they can get help with detox, mental health issues, etc. You can find many guides online on how to find the perfect rehab. The official sources like the US Department of Health and Human Services provide lots of official information and statistics to make the right choice.

Don’t give up before you try to help your beloved person start a new, sober life. Everything is possible with the right approach. There are always specialists nearby who can help you rescue a close person and not fall into the depression pit yourself.


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