Updated on May 31, 2024
7 min read

How to Help an Addict Who Doesn’t Want Help

How to Help an Addict Who Doesn’t Want Help

If a loved one does not want help with their addiction, you can take several steps to help them find the treatment they need. These include:

1. Educate Yourself About Addiction

Before you confront your loved one, take the time to learn about addiction. The more you know, the better you can handle the situation confidently and calmly.

Consider researching:

  • Addiction
  • Detox
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Available treatment options.

Understanding what the person is experiencing, at least on a scientific level, will help you speak knowledgeably when it is time to discuss the addiction.

2. Offer Support

When you are ready to speak with your loved one, avoid sounding judgmental or patronizing about their alcohol or drug abuse. Be empathetic and let them know you understand.

Offer your love and support. Go through the treatment options available and encourage them to seek professional help.

3. Follow Through on Consequences

Many friends and family members threaten severe consequences for loved ones with substance use disorders who refuse treatment. However, someone with addiction problems may see these as idle, empty threats.

If you say you will enforce consequences, follow through with them. Whether you threaten to leave the family home or say you will take away the car, you must be willing to do it.

4. Stop Enabling the Addiction

Knowing the difference between helping and enabling someone with addiction problems is essential. If you are financially supporting someone with alcoholism or lying to help them hide their drug addiction issues, you are enabling them.

If you notice that you are enabling the addiction, stop it immediately. Once you stop enabling the addiction, your loved one will recognize the consequences of their actions. Additionally, refusing to allow your loved one’s addiction makes it more challenging for them to keep feeding it.

5. Intervention

If you cannot convince your loved one to seek support on your own, consider hiring a professional interventionist before the situation worsens. If the individual with the addiction problem is your child or partner, you may also have the chance to seek legal intervention.

6. Seek Help for Yourself

It is also essential to look after yourself and seek help if you experience mental health issues related to your loved one’s addiction. Consider attending support groups for relatives, partners, and friends of people suffering from addiction, such as Al-Anon.

Things to Avoid If You Want to Help an Addict

Living with an addict can cause stress, frustration, and unhappiness. The experience can deeply affect you.

Understandably, your instinct would be to do everything to stop the addiction. You may feel pressured to help your loved one, but you don’t have to do everything. 

Here’s a list of what you shouldn’t do if you want to help an addict:

1. Don’t Blame Yourself

You may blame your loved one’s addiction on yourself, their circumstances, or other people around them. Don’t fall for it. If your loved one is a drug addict or an alcoholic, they will abuse the drug or drink alcohol no matter what you say or do. It is not your fault.

2. Don’t Take it Personally

Oftentimes, an addicted person will go back on their word or break their promises. For example, they might continue to drink or use drugs after promising to stop.

It’s tempting to think they’d stick to their promise if they love you. But, an addicted person’s brain chemistry may have changed from substance abuse. It’s the alcohol or the drugs that are making their choices and decisions for them.

3. Don’t Try to Control it

As a friend or a loved one of an addicted person, it’s natural if you want to try everything to get your loved one to stop taking drugs or drinking alcohol. While you only want what’s best for them, this can actually backfire and cause you more frustration and disappointment.

The truth is you have no control over your loved one or the situation. Not even the addicted person can control their actions, even if they try.

When a crisis happens, watch from a distance. Because during a crisis (e.g., getting arrested with a DUI or getting fired from a job), they’ll finally realize they need help.

4. Don’t Try to Cover it Up

Addicted individuals usually don’t want to know the full extent of their addiction. They are afraid that if someone finds out, they will offer help.

However, an addicted person’s denial shouldn’t be your denial. Their distorted sense of reality should not affect the real situation. The best approach is to deal with the problem honestly and openly. 

5. Don’t Accept Unacceptable Behavior

Take unacceptable behavior for what it is. If you brush it off as “they’re just high” or “they’re just drunk,” the next time will be worse.

Before you know it, you find yourself in an abusive relationship. Protect yourself and the people around you from unacceptable behavior.

If you have a family member who is an addict, protect your kids. Abuse is abuse, and it is not, nor ever will be, acceptable. 

6. Consequences of Waiting Until an Addict Hits Rock Bottom 

Waiting for someone to hit rock bottom before seeking treatment is incredibly dangerous. Sometimes, it can be deadly. 

Reaching ‘rock bottom’ often has devastating and lasting consequences, including:

  • Financial problems
  • Relationship issues
  • Legal troubles
  • Long-term physical and mental health issues

For some people, showing up to work drunk and getting fired may be enough to prompt them to seek help. Taking enough drugs to go into a coma may be the turning point for others. However, for certain people, rock bottom may mean death.

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Signs Your Loved One is an Alcoholic

Alcoholism is the most severe form of problem drinking. It describes an intense and often uncontrollable desire to drink alcohol.

Those experiencing alcoholism often place drinking above all other obligations and responsibilities, including work and family. They may also develop a physical tolerance to alcohol or experience withdrawal symptoms if they quit drinking.

It can be challenging to spot the signs of alcoholism, as those suffering from the condition may be secretive. They may also become angry if confronted. 

The signs and symptoms of alcoholism are:

  • A lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Appearing intoxicated more regularly
  • Needing to drink more to achieve the same effects
  • Appearing fatigued, unwell, or irritable
  • An inability to say no to alcohol
  • Anxiety, depression, or other mental health problems
  • Becoming secretive or dishonest
  • Denial of addiction or hiding alcohol use

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Signs Your Loved One is Addicted to Drugs

Similarly, there are common signs and symptoms of drug addiction. People addicted to drugs often make getting drugs their main priority, above family relationships and work.

If your loved one displays any of the following signs, they may be experiencing drug addiction:

  • Obsessive thoughts and actions toward drugs
  • A disregard for harm caused by their substance abuse
  • An inability to say no to drugs
  • Denial of addiction or hiding drug use
  • Enlarged or small pupils
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Insomnia
  • Unusual body odor
  • Poor physical coordination
  • An unkempt appearance
  • Slurred speech

How Addiction Negatively Affects Family Members

The effects of drug and alcohol addiction can be short-term and long-term. Once peaceful and happy homes can be torn by the strain resulting from drug and alcohol abuse.

Conflict within a family may become typical and expected. You’ll begin to have trust issues, and communication can be more challenging.

Parents, partners, and children of an addicted person may experience:

  • Emotional problems
  • Financial problems
  • Medical problems
  • Legal problems

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Effective Treatment Options for Addiction 

There are various treatment options for drug and alcohol addiction. However, everyone responds to treatment differently.

Because of this, it’s important to consult a doctor or addiction specialist. They’ll be able to provide treatment services that can cater to your needs.

Available treatment options for addiction include:

Questions About Addiction Treatment?

If you have any further questions, we’re here to help. Call us at Addiction Group, and we will answer any queries regarding addiction treatment.

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Updated on May 31, 2024

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