We Need to Talk, Now. How to Help a Drug Addict Realize Their Problem

how to help a drug addict

Observing a friend or family member in the throes of addiction can make anyone feel helpless.

Their personality begins to change and they start to feel like a stranger. You watch as their drug dependency drains them of their potential.

As their loved one, you don’t have to sit back and watch them self-destruct.

Telling some you’re worried about their drug use is never easy. You don’t know how they’ll react or if they will take your words to heart.

But it’s important that you try. Luckily, there are a few approaches that may make the conversation go more smoothly.

Some addicts don’t see that they have a problem until it’s too late. Learn how to help a drug addict realize they need treatment.

Wait Until They’re Sober to Approach Them

Confronting an addict while they’re high is not a good idea for a few reasons.

For one, you’re likely feeling frustrated with them that they’re high again. You should approach the conversation when you can express yourself calmly.

You also want them to be in control of their feelings and reactions. When people are drunk or high, their mood is affected. You don’t want the discussion to escalate into a fight.

Practically speaking, people often don’t remember what happened when they were high. The conversation will have more impact on them if they’re sober.

Starting the Conversation

When they are sober, sit them down privately.

Start by expressing how much you care about them. Then, explain your concerns about their substance use. It’s helpful to have some concrete examples.

It’s effective if these anecdotes show how their drug use is affecting their life. Maybe they were put on probation at work for constantly showing up late. Perhaps a girlfriend dumped them because of their drunk, brutish behavior.

But, as you point out this bad behavior, remain empathetic.

Express Empathy, Not Blame

While you point out these examples, make it clear that though their behavior might be bad, they aren’t bad people. Use empathy to communicate with them instead of blame.

Let them know that you aren’t judging them. You just want to offer them support. After you explain this, have some suggestions for what they should do next.

Next Steps

At this point, your loved one might not be fully convinced they have a problem. In that case, you could suggest that they just see a professional to be evaluated.

If they already know they need treatment, you can offer to help them find a program.

How to Help a Drug Addict: The Takeaway

The answer to the question, “how to help a drug addict?” is never clear and concrete. In the end, they have to be the ones to help themselves. All you can do is be honest while you show them love and support.

Having a loved one with addiction problems can take a toll on your wellbeing. To learn more about our support group offerings, click here.