Updated on May 9, 2024
3 min read

I've noticed that my friend has been using a lot of Xanax lately, and I'm worried they might be developing a dependence. How can I express my concern without sounding judgmental?

It sounds like you're in a tough spot. Your instinct to help your friend is right, but, understandably, you're concerned about doing this without harming your friendship.

Here's how you can approach the situation in a supportive, non-judgmental way.

Focus on Building Trust in Your Friendship

Before confronting them about their use of Xanax, make sure your friendship feels solid. Show them you care by being present and supportive without focusing on substance use just yet.

It's much easier for your friend to open up about difficulties if they know they won't be judged or abandoned. Create a safe space for real talk.

Approach the Conversation with Concern, Not Criticism

Try to find a quiet time to talk privately with your friend. Avoid doing this if they're under the influence or when either of you is rushed or distracted. 

Instead of saying things like "Your Xanax use is out of control," which might make them defensive, approach the conversation by expressing your worry.

For example, "I've noticed you seem [insert specific changes that worry you], and I care about you⁠—is everything okay?” Let them know you come from a place of love and care, not judgment.

Listen Without Fixing

Your first goal is to understand how your friend feels and why they might be using Xanax more. Ask open-ended questions like, "Can you tell me more about what's been going on?" 

Validate their feelings with phrases like, "That sounds really stressful." Resist the urge to give advice right away. Just knowing someone hears them can be incredibly powerful.

If your friend seems open to cutting back, you could discuss healthy ways to manage stress or anxiety. Avoid lecturing about how bad Xanax is—they probably already know. Instead, suggest doing some relaxing activities together like walks, yoga, or even just listening to music.

Offer to Help Find Resources

Let them know that if they want help, you'll help them find the right resources. This could be finding a therapist, researching support groups, or even offering to go with them to an appointment.

If they know they don't have to navigate it alone, that can be a huge boost. Some resources you can start with include:

Don’t Be Afraid to Draw Boundaries if Needed

You have to take care of yourself too. If your friend's Xanax use puts you in an unsafe situation or seriously interferes with your own life, it's okay to distance yourself.

Let them know you care but that some behaviors are too much for you to handle now. Your friend might get angry, defensive, or shut down completely, but don't take this personally.

You planted a seed. Even if change doesn't happen immediately, at least they know you're a safe person to talk to if and when they're ready.

Remember, you can't force someone to change, and that's not your job. You’re doing a brave and important thing simply by showing genuine care and offering gentle support.  Being there for a friend is sometimes enough to help them take the next step.

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Updated on May 9, 2024

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