What to Do When Your Loved One Has An Addiction

Invisible illnesses are one of the hardest things for people to talk about, and there is still so much stigma around certain ones. For example, mental health. One in four people will suffer with a mental health condition at some point in their lives, yet we still find it so hard to talk about.

One of the worst stigmatised mental health conditions is an addiction. When a friend or family member suffers with an addiction, it can be hard to know what to do. This guide will help you when a loved one has an addiction.


Recognising Addiction As A Problem

One of the hardest things to come to terms with is the issue itself. Both for the person with an addiction and their loved ones.

You may find yourself excusing their odd behaviour or telling others that it’s just a “phase.” However, the first step to your loved one finding help is for everyone to recognise the problem.

This could be a lot easier for you to do than the person with the addiction. Don’t push this issue with them, however. It’s important that they recognise that there is a problem in their own time and on their own terms.

Talking Things Through

It’s important to remember that addiction is a mental health illness; an invisible illness. The reason your loved one may not be talking about it is because they fear the tuts and mutters under the breath – the stigma.

You need to make sure that you become a safe place for them to talk about what is going on in their lives, without fear of judgement.

Let your loved one know that you’re there for them to talk about anything.

Open up a dialogue with them and give them the opportunity to talk. They may not tell you everything right away, but just knowing you’re there is the first step. Soon, they will come to you and talk about things.

Addiction Help

You may be tempted to seek out addiction help for your loved one before they’re ready. When someone is living through an addiction, they are the only people who can get themselves help. Pushing them too far in the wrong direction could break the trust that you’ve built up by talking to them.

Approach the subject gently and ask them if they have considered talking to a professional about things. You may also want to seek support for yourself, especially if the person suffering with an addiction is a very close friend or family member.

It’s important to remember that you may be suffering too – and you need to talk to someone yourself.

Ring An Addiction Helpline

The three biggest addictions in the UK are alcohol, drugs and gambling. Below you will find important helplines and charities that can help you with these three issues. However, if your loved one is dealing with something more specific, there are plenty of other organisations that can help. Make sure you talk to someone as soon as you can, to find out if there is anything they can do to help.

Alcohol Addiction Charities and Helplines
Drug Addiction Charities and Helplines
Gambling Addiction Charities and Helplines

You and your loved one will get through this, but it’s not going to be an easy journey. Make sure that you’re there for your friend or family member the whole way through. But also remember to take some time out to care for yourself, too.


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