6 Ways to Help a Loved One Through Addiction

By Justina Gorman on August 24, 2023

Addiction leaves countless individuals and their loved ones reeling from its devastating impact. As a disease, addiction is frequently misunderstood and stigmatized. Beyond the stereotypical images of substance use, addiction can have behavioral and psychological effects.   

If you’re helping someone with addiction issues, the first thing is to know there is always hope and a way forward.   

Understanding Addiction as a Disease

To provide meaningful help to a loved one struggling with addiction, it’s important to first understand what it is and why it happens. Simply learning to understand why someone is struggling with addiction can do so much for them; recognize and remind yourself that it isn’t your fault (don’t put the focus on you).  

Addiction is a chronic disease that makes an individual seek out substances (like drugs or alcohol) or activities (like gambling or overeating), despite their harmful consequences.   

Addiction is not a lack of willpower or a moral failing. Instead, it’s a far more complex condition associated with changes in the brain’s structure and function. This is why it’s considered a disease that needs medical attention and care.  

Additionally, addiction often coincides with mental health issues. Many people with addiction issues also struggle with conditions like depression, anxiety or trauma-related disorders.   

The reverse is also true – those with mental health conditions are more likely to experience substance use disorders. This connection emphasizes the need for comprehensive treatment approaches.  

6 Ways to Support & Help Someone with Addiction Issues

When a friend, family member or other loved one is struggling with addiction, you might feel helpless and unsure on how to offer support. Here are some ways to help.  

  1. Emotional Support

Empathy is key. Show understanding and patience. Acknowledge their struggle and assure them that they are not alone.  

  1. Encourage Seeking Professional Help

Encourage your loved one to seek professional help. If they need assistance, help them find a professional or organization focused on addiction.   

Remember that while your support is important, it’s not a substitute for professional care.  

  1. Establish Boundaries

It’s crucial to establish clear boundaries to protect your own wellbeing. It will also help you avoid enabling addictive behaviors. It can be challenging, but it’s necessary for both you and your loved one. One more time for the people in the back: it’s not your fault.   

  1. Self-Care for Supporters

Supporting someone with an addiction can take a toll on your own health. Be sure to take care of your own physical and mental health. Seek counseling if needed and don’t isolate yourself.  

Remember: You can’t pour from an empty cup.  

  1. Addiction Resources for Families

Families may need specific strategies to cope with a loved one’s addiction. This can include family therapy, support groups for families, and learning effective communication techniques. Seek professional help if needed.    

  1. Dealing with Setback

Setbacks are not a sign of failure. In fact, they are quite common in the recovery journey.   

If a loved one has a setback, try to react with compassion rather than frustration. Encourage them to seek help immediately. Remind them of their strength and ability to recover. It’s critical to maintain a supportive environment during this time.  

Get Support in Stark County

Watching a loved one struggle with addiction can be very challenging. But understanding the nature of addiction and offering support can make a profound difference.  

If you’re looking for resources in Stark County, Ohio, search for addiction resources on StarkHelpCentral.com.   


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