Author: James Anderson

Treatment and Recovery Strategies: Insights from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

how to help someone with a drug addiction

Encourage your friend or loved one to talk to their doctor about using treatment programs, online therapy, or support groups as part of their recovery. Research suggests that online therapy can also be an effective treatment option for substance use disorders. Such programs often incorporate elements of CBT and motivational interviewing, which involves using structured conversations to help people think about how their life will improve by ending their addiction. In addition to the heavy emotional costs, money problems can also mount for families of drug abusers. Heavy drug use can be expensive, as can the cost of rehab and resolving legal problems stemming from your loved one’s drug dependency. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to overcoming an addiction to drugs, and it’s rarely a process that’s quick or straightforward.

They may have disordered thinking and behaviors due to changes in the brain’s structure and function. Additionally, as someone with addiction becomes tolerant over time, they may need larger doses of alcohol or drugs to feel the same effect. Other people turn to drugs to change how they feel, to fit in, or to alleviate boredom or dissatisfaction with their lives.

Tips for living with a person in recovery from addiction

Stress tends to fuel addictive behavior, so criticizing, demeaning, or shaming them will only push your loved one away and may even encourage them to seek further comfort in substance abuse. While you can’t force someone to tackle their addiction, your love, support, and patience can play a vital part in their recovery. With these guidelines, you can learn to support your loved one’s efforts, set the necessary boundaries to preserve your own health and welfare, and find some stability for both yourself and your loved one. The problems that triggered your loved one’s drug use in the first place will still be there once they get sober. If they turned to drugs to self-medicate a mental health problem such as anxiety or depression, they’ll need to find healthier ways of coping with these issues without resorting to substance abuse.

  1. Be prepared, though, for the possibility that your colleague will dismiss your concern.
  2. Your loved one may become defensive or angry and refuse to discuss their drug use.
  3. Twelve-step and peer support groups can also be helpful during the recovery process.
  4. Residential, inpatient treatment programs—what’s known as “rehab”—are in the news when a celebrity has an addiction problem, but they are by no means the only form of treatment.
  5. But dwelling on circumstances outside your control will only sap your energy and damage your mood.

An overdose happens when the person uses enough of a drug to produce uncomfortable feelings, life-threatening symptoms, or death. CRAFT is an evidence-based method for helping families get help for loved ones. It has replaced traditional interventions as the preferred method of helping people with addiction get the help they need, such as therapy. If you have a friend or relative who is living with addiction, you might be wondering how you can help. To be clear, it’s not always easy to make the decision to provide help with substance use or another type of addiction. However, your loved one will often have a greater chance of overcoming their challenges with your support.

Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available. What you can do is take steps right now to ensure your safety and protect your well-being. John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Someone who thinks they may need support for codependency can find it in a program such as Co-dependents Anonymous.

Staying Social When You Quit Drinking

Encourage them to express their concern for the person’s welfare. It may also help to discuss the consequences that could ensue if the person’s behavior continues. Host it somewhere quiet where the person with the addiction feels safe, such as their house or that of a family member.

Recovery times vary according to the individual circumstances, which may involve several treatment strategies such as medication, rehab or treatment programs, and support groups. According to Addiction Center, this might involve providing money to enable someone’s addictions, letting a person stay with them rather than attending rehab, or supplying them with drugs or alcohol. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that addiction is like other diseases, such as heart disease. Both disrupt the typical, healthy functioning of an organ in the body, having severe harmful effects and can lead to death. However, as with heart disease, people can prevent and treat addiction. SMART Recovery offers online and in-person support worldwide for family and friends.

how to help someone with a drug addiction

Often interventions occur without an intervention professional taking part. Sometimes the intervention occurs at the professional’s office. An intervention gives your loved one a chance to make changes before things get even worse. 2 in 3 adults who ever had a mental health problem considered themselves to be recovering or in recovery.

Overall progress and setbacks during recovery can extend the duration of treatment. While it can be frustrating, remember that the decision to change is theirs. A person with an addiction is much more likely to be open to thinking about change if you communicate honestly, and without being threatening. Consider joining a support group, for instance, such as Al-Anon or Nar-Anon. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a variety of resources designed to provide insight and support for families of addicts.

A structured program, or a stay at a treatment facility or hospital, may be needed for more-serious issues. Working with an addiction professional, such as a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, or interventionist, can help you organize an effective intervention. An addiction professional will think about what’s going on in your loved one’s life, suggest the best approach, and guide you in what type of treatment and follow-up plan is likely to work best. Stopping drug use is just one part of a long and complex recovery process. When people enter treatment, addiction has often caused serious consequences in their lives, possibly disrupting their health and how they function in their family lives, at work, and in the community. For people with addictions to drugs like stimulants or cannabis, no medications are currently available to assist in treatment, so treatment consists of behavioral therapies.

Millions of readers rely on for free, evidence-based resources to understand and navigate mental health challenges. Please donate today to help us save, support, and change lives. Despite your efforts and your loved one’s best intentions, the truth is that recovery often involves relapse.

Setting healthy boundaries

To better help someone with a drug addiction, it’s often necessary to hold them accountable for their actions by establishing limits or boundaries for what is and isn’t acceptable behavior. Without boundaries, your loved one never has to face the consequences of their actions—and you’ll eventually feel burned out from all the attempts to cover up, excuse, or compensate for their behavior. Another important tool is education about treatment possibilities. Of course, you have to find the right moment for the conversation, and it is definitely not when your loved one is high or hung over.

The American Psychiatric Association advises that remaining in treatment for an adequate time is critical to recovery. This article looks at what experts say about how to help someone with an addiction. Additionally, it explains how to set boundaries and care for yourself if you are in a relationship with someone with an addiction. Avoid trying to lecture, threaten, bribe, or punish the person. Getting angry or making emotional appeals will likely only add to the user’s feelings of guilt and reinforce their compulsion to use.

How do you find a treatment program to offer at the intervention?

The process of recovery is highly personal and occurs via many pathways. It may include clinical treatment, medications, faith-based approaches, peer support, family support, self-care, and other approaches. Recovery is characterized by continual growth and improvement in one’s health and wellness and managing setbacks.