6 Ways to Help an Addict

Do you have your suspicions that a friend or a loved one might be going through a difficult time, that might be involving drugs or an addiction of some sort?

The steps one takes now might just be the most important steps to take regarding the health of the person you believe to be in need of help. It is important to handle this moment in the most gentle fashion possible.

Whenever we care or love anyone, our own intent might cloud our judgment into the handling of any situation. We might unintentionally do more harm, when all we meant to do was to help.

The following are 6 ways both families and friends can help a loved one through their struggle and help in the end as much as one can.

6. What To Look For

Whenever a loved one is going through anything difficult, most notable is an internal battle through addiction, while others might not know, to those closest to the loved one, things tend to be as obvious as a person hurting from a physical ailment is to the laymen.

However, because these people are the loved ones, people tend to overlook important details and overreact to others, when really a different approach should be taken instead.

In most cases of onset addiction there is a sudden change in behavior. A change in behavior tends to be one of the most noticeable signs of those closest to the person afflicted. Typically this might be the easiest sign to notice only because of the immediate reaction the body has from an interaction to certain drugs abused.

Part of the difference in behavior might include noticeable mood swings. These mood swings are mainly caused by the nature of addiction, but most importantly the irritably it creates within its users. Sometimes it might even be the chemical reactions the body undergoes when being manipulated by different types of drugs.

A strong indicator of drug usage or just addiction is the tendency to separate and detach oneself from family and friends. It typically shows itself in the afflicted once an addiction has settled for a substantial amount of time.

Another very common and noticeable sign of addiction in general is the inattentiveness to their very hygiene and grooming. Losing track of one’s own personal grooming and personal matters is some of the most common telltale signs of severe addiction. In this time, the individual begins to lose any semblance of what would be considered to be the self. This is because the addiction typically begins to overtake most, if any, free time throughout the day, if not already infringing on the hours of other things already. If a pet is involved, the outward projection should sometimes be noticeable on the grooming of the pet.

Any activities or hobbies that were once cherished or even done routinely will begin to suffer because the addiction. Addiction begins to take the place of all the other things the individual used to find pleasure in doing, until finally most if not all their free time will become devoted to the addiction alone.

A change in sleeping patterns or behavior related to rest, tend to be fairly noticeable to others that have gone through something similar, however, for those who haven’t this will tend to be a more difficult behavior to notice since sometimes we are not in the room with the person we wish to help. Because of the elusive nature of trying to track someone’s sleep cycle down and being both attentive to their actions might seem overwhelming, simply asking questions and listening to them might be the best way to find out.

Adding to the restlessness are the typical signs of sleep deprivation. Signs such as redness or swelling of the eyes, bags under the eyes to include some discoloration. Flu like symptoms are also typically common with heavy methamphetamine use, symptoms such as a runny nose, irritable and sensitive eyes.

5. Do Some Research

A very important action is to take some time and research the problem you believe might be arising. All too many times there is the issue of the person one is trying to help, being completely unaware that they might even be dealing with a problem, or what you consider a problem they might see as utterly harmless. Also not understanding the personal issues the person afflicted might also be dealing with, can cause your plan to backfire and fail. Personal lives very often contribute to substance abuse.

4. Offer Help and Support

Once the problem has been acknowledged and more or less fairly understood, it is important to offer support to the person in need of help. Keep in mind that just because a problem is understood, does not necessarily mean the person will agree in seeking help, in fact, many times the afflicted will justify many and any reasons to avoid seeking help.

An extremely important thing to remember when offering help and support, is to avoid ever passing any judgement. Passing judgement will denigrate the individual afflicted and probably exacerbate the problem. Sometimes in this phase, depending on the individual, intervention might be applicable.

3. Show Enthusiasm in Helping

A common problem that arises is that those helping the afflicted, might become tiresome or portray irritancy in the act of trying to help out. Needless to say, this will only express contempt and guilt from the person being helped. It should be fairly easy to understand how guilt can unintentionally have a lasting and damaging effect on the person trying to be helped.

Showing support and enthusiasm shows to the individual that the mountains and hurdles of addiction, can be crossed together rather than alone.

2. Accompany Them to Get Help

This might vary on an individual basis, but many times seeking help is a difficult task in and of itself, so they might make passive or shy comments hinting at the possibility of having accompaniment in the process of getting help. Typically seekers of help will many times seek company from either friends or family, simply because of the fear of telling strangers something they had a hard time telling you, might seem more daunting a task to do alone.

1. Never Cover Up or Mask the Issue

When one tries to sneak or keep the problem a secret from others, such as co-workers, distant relatives, or even other friends, this action affects the addict in a severely adverse way. The act of purposefully withholding the fact that a loved one is getting help is a certain way to imply, at least in the afflicted’s eye, a certain shame held for them. That feeling will almost undoubtedly always grow in the afflicted’s eye as a feeling of remorse. A feeling that there exists a certain something to be severely ashamed about. This is a mistake many unknowing commit that can have such a negative effect that many don’t then understand when it grows and evolves from that point.
 Keep in mind that these are only the most popular and common known ways for families and friends to help someone they believe to be an addict. There are a plethora of different ways into how to run about all these issues discussed and hundreds more online.


Originally published at oceanbreezerecovery.org on March 3, 2016.

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