Published On: Tue, Sep 18th, 2018

6 Ways To Help A Friend With Drug Addiction

According to a 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 21.5 million Americans struggled with drug abuse, and the numbers continue to rise every year.

Most drug addictions start out innocently enough, through curiosity, friends or even medical prescriptions. More addicts report using prescription medications such as opioids and adderall than hard drugs such as cocaine or heroin.

Having a friend who struggles with drug addiction is heartbreaking and difficult. Addiction can have ripple effects that hurt more than just the person addicted. Read on for six ways to help a friend or family member with drug addiction.  

Public domain photo/Psychonaught

  1. Learn About Addiction

Despite being so common, addiction is frequently misunderstood and demonised. For example, many people try to directly confront their addicted loved one and guilt the person into quitting the drug. However, this has the opposite intended effect.

Educate yourself on addiction- how it occurs, common side effects, and how to help. By taking the time to understand the problem, you can be part of the solution.

  1. Offer Your Support

Addiction is powerfully isolating for the person addicted. Many wrestle with shame and guilt for disappointing the people around them, causing them to rely on the drug even more to suppress those negative emotions.

Just the simple act of verbally reaffirming your support and compassion can be a huge help for a person struggling with addiction. Try to do this privately and avoid lecturing- instead, focus on your genuine concern and offer any support. Make the addict feel loved.

  1. Get Professional Help

Although a small minority of addicts can recover with just the support of their friends and family, most people need professional help in the form of counselling or rehab. There are thousands of facilities devoted to helping addicted people.

You can play a role in getting your loved one professional help by taking them to and from appointments and having open conversations with the addict to reduce any shame they might feel about getting medical help.

  1. Don’t Enable

If the addict is someone who lives in your home or visits you often, you should examine your own life closely for behavior that might be enabling the addiction. For example, if the person is struggling with adderall withdrawal, make sure to remove any trace of the drug from your home and life.

You could also offer to clean out the person’s home for them. Other enabling behaviors you should watch out for include giving money to the addict or protecting the addict from legal proceedings. Letting the addict feel consequences while also removing opportunity will help reduce temptation.

  1. Recovery Is A Process

Recovering from any form of drug addiction is a huge accomplishment, but the threat of relapse is always present. Many people relapse as a result of too much pressure being placed on them to stay clean.

People who have never been addicted sometimes view addiction as a linear process, where you get addicted, go to rehab, and are clean forever. Unfortunately, it is almost never that simple. Be patient with your loved one and remember that recovery is a lifelong struggle.

  1. Take Care Of Yourself

Supporting a loved one through a difficult time is a burden for anyone, even the most committed and caring friend. At the end of the day, you have to take care of yourself.

Constantly being stressed about another person can cause resentment. By exercising, sleeping and focusing on your health, you can set a good example and be fully ready to help your friend.

Hopefully you found some ideas on how to help your friend through the struggle of drug addiction.

Author: Himanshu Agarwal

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