How To Help a Family Member Struggling With Addiction

woman struggling

According to the United Nations, in 2019, an estimated 35 million people globally are experiencing drug addiction-related disorders. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are other types, such as gambling, alcohol, or sex addiction, and they can manifest in many ways.

Addiction is difficult to face, especially if it’s someone close to you. It can be tempting to try and handle everything on your own, but it’s important to remember that you don’t have to go through this alone. There are people and resources available to help you through this tough time. Here are some tips on how to help a family member struggling with addiction.

1. Educate Yourself About Addiction

The first step in helping a family member struggling with addiction is to educate yourself about the disease. This will give you a better understanding of what your loved one is going through and how you can best support them. There are plenty of resources available online and at your local library. Attend support meetings, or join an online forum for families affected by addiction. These sessions and platforms can provide valuable information and support.

When it comes to these situations, ignorance is not bliss. The more you know about addiction and its effects on both the individual and the family, the better equipped you’ll be to help your loved one. Education gives you the understanding and compassion you need to be an effective support system. It also enables you to identify the condition in its early stages and seek help before things spiral out of control.

2. Set Boundaries With Your Loved One

It’s important to set boundaries with your loved one struggling with addiction. You need to take care of yourself physically and emotionally, which means setting boundaries to protect yourself. Remember that you cannot control or fix your loved one’s addiction; that’s up to them.

Be clear about what you will and will not tolerate, and stick to those boundaries. For example, you might say, “I’m happy to talk with you about your addiction, but I don’t want to hear about your using.” It can be difficult to set boundaries with a family member, but here are some examples that might help:

  • Establish limits on the amount of time you spend talking about the addiction or with the person.
  • Refuse to tolerate certain behaviors, such as drug or alcohol use, in your presence.
  • Put conditions on help, such as requiring that the person gets help for themselves before you will provide any assistance.
  • Say no to requests for money or other forms of support.
  • Limit access to yourself and your home.

It is important to set boundaries with a family member suffering from addiction because it can be very easy to become codependent on them. When you put your needs and wants aside to support someone with addiction, you are doing them a disservice. You cannot help them if you are not healthy and strong. Setting boundaries allows you to take care of yourself and puts the responsibility for change back on the person. It also sends the message that you will not tolerate certain behaviors or actions. This can be an important step in helping your loved one to get the help they need.

3. Seek Professional Help

Sometimes, the best way to help a loved one is to get them the help they need. This might mean finding rehabilitation centers or therapy programs that can help them to address their addiction. There are different types of programs available, so do some research to find one that will be a good fit for your loved one.

a young woman looks depressed as an older woman comforts her

These centers provide a safe and supportive environment where people can get the help they need to overcome their addiction. Some offer inpatient treatment, while others offer outpatient treatment. Inpatient treatment requires the patient to live at the facility for the duration of their program. On the other hand, outpatient treatment allows them to continue living at home.

These facilities provide various services, including counseling, therapy, and medication-assisted treatment. They also offer support groups and relapse prevention programs. The staff at rehabilitation clinics are experienced in helping people with addiction. They will provide guidance and support as your loved one works through their program.

If you’re finding it difficult to cope with your loved one’s addiction, you can also seek professional help. Talking with a therapist or counselor can help you deal with your feelings and develop healthy coping mechanisms. They can also provide guidance on how to best support your loved one during their recovery journey.

Addiction in the family is indeed a challenge, but you don’t have to go through it alone–there are people and resources available to help you every step of the way. The most important thing is to take care of yourself physically and emotionally so that you can be there for your loved ones when they need you most.


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