How To Care For A Loved One Going Through Addiction


Nobody wants to see their friend or loved one going through a tough time, which is partly why addiction has such a far-reaching impact on not only the individual in question but also those who care about them too.

For example, you may find that worrying about your loved one takes its toll on your own mental health, leaving you more prone to stress, anxiety, and low moods.

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With that in mind, here are some useful tips that you can use to care for a loved one going through addiction.

Know the signs or risk factors.

Being able to identify the signs of addictive addiction can come in handy when trying to show up for a friend or loved one. For example, you may have noticed that their mood changes rapidly and often without explanation or that they are withdrawn and much quieter than usual. In some scenarios, they may be indulging in risk-taking behavior, such as drinking heavily or otherwise behaving out of character. Being able to pick up on these signs quickly means that you can intervene as soon as possible.

It's also worth noting that there are certain risk factors in place that could mean an individual is more likely to deal with addiction during their lifetime. For example, those who have active military, veterans, and first responders are more likely to deal with addiction than the average adult, as this is a typical response to traumatic events. In some cases, genetics plays a role, as does experiencing severe grief. Again, knowing ahead of time if someone is at risk gives you the chance to offer them support as soon as they need it.

Of course, it is worth noting that there are many different signs and risk factors associated with addiction than those listed above, which is why further research is necessary. You may also want to reach out to a healthcare or addiction specialist for further advice and support. 

Let them know you are there when they are ready to talk. 

One of the easiest ways to show up for your friend during this time is to let them know that you are there for them - when they are ready to talk. This is often a far better approach than confronting them outright, which could cause them to deny everything or to close themselves off from you. 

Instead, let your friend know that you have noticed that they seem to be going through a tough time, and remind them that you will always be in their corner, no matter the finer details of the scenario. Make it clear that you are their safe space and that you will not judge them, either, before letting them know that they can contact you at any time - day or night.

If this approach does not work and things take a turn for the worse, you may need to look at coming together with others to stage an intervention. In some cases, being direct is the only way to get through to your friend, but it's better to try a softer approach first as they are likely to be more receptive to this. 

Provide them with access to resources. 

There are many different resources designed to support those dealing with addiction in all forms. However, for the person dealing with this, the sheer number of resources available may feel overwhelming, as they’re unsure where to begin. As such, you could assist them during this time by finding relevant resources on their behalf and sharing them with them.

For example, you could write down a list of local support groups or the contact numbers of therapists who may be able to help your friend. Alternatively, you could gather different information manuals about addiction, its symptoms, and strategies for recovery.

Look into rehab.

Rehabilitation centers often play a key role in the recovery of a person going through addiction. This is because they help them tackle their issues head-on while also developing healthy coping mechanisms that will help them move forward. 

However, that is not to say that making the decision to attend rehab is an easy one. In fact, it is something that many active addicts will try to avoid, which is why you may need to step in to help them get on the right track. In many cases, this could mean that you are the person who reaches out to the facility on their behalf or that you accompany them to a site visit. 

When looking into different facilities in your local area, try to keep an eye out for specialist facilities that will be able to offer your friend or loved one the most comprehensive, tailored support possible. For example, Warriors Heart

va rehab is a rehabilitation center specifically for active military, veterans, and first responders. Not only this but it is also run by veterans, meaning that attendees can relate to those offering them care. 

Encourage them to attend therapy.

Therapy can also play a crucial role in addiction recovery. This is because it helps the individual understand why they may have fallen into addiction in the first place. An addiction therapist will also help them to develop a wide range of coping skills to use as they head down the path towards recovery, which can hopefully stop them from falling into bad habits.

If they are not a fan of talking or one-to-one therapy, look for alternatives. For example, they could join a support group for others in the same situation as them. Hearing from other individuals with similar or comparable struggles could show them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel while also making it easier for them to open up. A local support group will also help your friend to become part of a community of individuals who are actively trying to get better, which will play an instrumental role in their recovery.

Be a consistent source of support. 

When your friend is going through addiction, they do not need you to have all of the answers. They simply need to know that you are there for them, no matter what. As such, you should ensure that you are as consistent as possible in your support. Be sure to show up each time they need you, even if their addiction is causing them to be rude or unkind (so long as it is safe for you to do so). 

If they are avoiding hanging out with you in person, be as consistent as you can through calls and messages. Check-in every day, and make it clear that there is no bad blood between you.

Take care of yourself, too. 

While making time for the people you love is important, it is also crucial that you do not let your own well-being suffer during this time. After all, you will struggle to show up for your friend and loved one if you are not showing up for yourself first.

Fortunately, there are many different ways in which you can ensure you take good care of yourself (while also trying to care for your friend or loved one). For example, you should make sure that your own wellness needs are met and that you find a healthy outlet for your own emotions during this time - whether that means you open up to a therapist or a friend and family member.

There may also come a time when you have to give your friend something of an ultimatum. Often, a person dealing with addiction will not be able to leave these behaviors behind until they want to - and no amount of begging or bargaining on your end can change this. As such, if this begins to have an increasingly negative effect on your own life, it could be that you need to set stricter boundaries with this friend or reduce your contact with them - until they take a step towards getting better, no matter how small a step that may be.

This does not, of course, mean that you do not care for your friend or loved one. In fact, it's often an indication of just how deeply you care for them, as you do not want to be around to see them put themselves through hell.

Final Thoughts. 

Addiction is a disease and an incredibly scary one at that. However, if someone you know and love is going through addiction currently, it's important to know that you are not alone. There are plenty of systems and resources in place to support not only the person dealing with the addiction but yourself and others, too. 

This can help you to work together to develop a recovery plan, whether that involves attending therapy, a rehabilitation center, or joining a group such as NA (Narcotics Anonymous) or AA (Alcoholics Anonymous).

However, while being there for your friend is important, you should also make sure that you priortize your own well-being. Neglecting your own mental health means that you’ll struggle to provide consistent support to your loved one during this time.

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