How to Help People Struggling with Addiction

When someone you care about is struggling with addiction, it can be difficult to know how to help. It's important to remember that addiction is a complex condition and that recovery is a long-term process. However, there are steps you can take to support your loved one and encourage them to seek help. The first step is to set limits and boundaries.

It's important to be clear about what behaviors are acceptable and what behaviors are not. This will help your loved one understand that their addiction is not acceptable and that they need to seek help. Encourage them to find a therapist who specializes in addiction counseling and provide them with resources for treatment. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a number of medications that may be effective in treating alcohol dependence and other substance use disorders.

These include Vivitrol (naltrexone), Campral (acamprosate), and Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone). Research suggests that online therapy may also be an effective treatment option for substance use disorders. These programs often incorporate elements of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing, which involve the use of structured conversations to help people think about how their lives will improve by ending their addiction. It's also important to remember that the loved ones of addicts also need support.

Ask others involved in your loved one's life to avoid enabling the destructive cycle of behavior and to take active steps to encourage positive change. Allow the person to learn to gracefully reject tempting offers on their own, and let them develop the ability to talk about their substance use problems without shame. If you feel that your loved one is abusing drugs, the best thing you can do is to encourage them to seek treatment for their addiction. Be loving and understanding, but also know that they're probably going to make excuses for their behavior.

Be firm in what you want and continue to encourage them to seek help. While this isn't easy to do, it's a critical first step in helping them achieve a healthy and happy life in recovery. Studies show that people with addictions are more likely to proactively seek treatment when forced to deal with the consequences of their actions. During an intervention, these people meet to confront their loved one about the consequences of addiction and ask them to accept treatment. Fortunately, with consistent treatment and compassionate support, it's possible (and is common) for people to recover from addiction and regain their health, relationships, and goals. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends that people dedicate a minimum of 90 days to treatment.