Witnessing a friend or family member descend into addiction can be excruciating. You want to guide your loved one back from the depths. Learning how to help an addict can make a significant difference, both for you and for them. Even then, due to factors beyond your control, it might not be possible. But knowing the right steps to take will guide you.
Probably the most important factor in learning how to help an addict is to know when not to help an addict. A person who doesn’t want to be helped may cause additional pain and frustration. They’re just not ready. Sometimes stepping back is the best thing to do.
Professional help is important, as well. Counselors and addiction specialists are well-versed in how to help an addict through counseling, medication therapy, and other types of programs.
How to Help an Addict
The biggest challenge in figuring out how to help an addict is knowing whether to get involved — and when. People who abuse substances get very good at hiding the signs. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, symptoms of drug abuse include:
- Stealing or selling things to buy drugs
- Showing anxiety, grouchiness or depression
- Losing interest in things that give them pleasure
- Socializing only with other users
You may be hesitant to get involved in someone’s life. But the experts say that the thing that made the biggest difference was when a friend or family member spoke honestly.
You are helping an addict by caring. Approach the subject from the context of how their use is damaging their lives — hampering relationships or hurting careers. Be ready with some suggestions for treatment facilities. Find a neutral location. All of these will help you help the addict.
Addiction Treatment Programs
Rehab/detox facilities play a key role in deciding how to help an addict. Across the United States, there are more than 14,500 drug treatment centers, offering inpatient/resident and outpatient support.
Treatment starts with a full history and assessment. For example, we ask what substance is being abused and for how long? From there, clinical professionals will build a treatment plan consisting of a period of rehab/detox and therapy – individual, group, family, or other types. Treatment may include medication as well.
We design follow-up care to lower the risk of relapse.
What about Relapse?
Addiction is a disease, not a choice, and can recur. So, what does science about how to help an addict through a relapse?
The most important point is that relapse doesn’t make treatment a failure. It’s sadly very common. Between 40 and 60 percent of people treated for substance use and abuse will fall back into their old habits in the first year of recovery, according to industry research.
The challenge is that excessive drug and alcohol use, in effect, reprograms the brain. Priorities change from success at work and with family to getting more of their abused substance.
Relapse is one of the primary reasons why treatment at many rehab centers continues beyond the detox process. Aftercare support, through initiatives such as 12-step groups, provides stability for the person in recovery and are some of the most effective ways for how to help an addict.
Learn How to Help an Addict at Right Step Houston
At Right Step Houston we have the experience to guide you through how to help an addict. Whether a friend, family member, loved one, peer, or coworker, we can provide you with the information necessary. Our treatment programs can address most kinds of substance use disorders. For example, we have programs for:
These alongside our various therapy options and treatments offer the best chance at overcoming addiction. So reach out to us today at 1.844.768.0169 and learn more.