What to do When You Recognize the Signs of Addiction

Patient Support

You’ve noticed changes in a loved one – physical, social and emotional changes that point to addiction, and you’re wondering what should I do?

When you first recognize the signs of addiction, it is completely normal – and valid – to feel an array of emotions. Fear, anger, panic to helplessness and guilt. Addiction doesn’t solely affect the person with a substance use disorder (SUD), it affects those around them as well. It’s a complex brain disorder, and like other medical diagnoses, treatment and recovery is not solely their own.

Additionally, some of the signs you first recognized may have been an impact upon your relationship with this person. And your feelings surrounding those issues are valid as well. But know, there is hope for healing for your loved one and you!

What to do When You Recognize the Signs of Addiction

Opening Up The Conversation

Now that you’ve recognized the signs, you want to have a conversation about what you are noticing. I recommend finding a calm environment and coming from a place of concern, hope and caring. Try not to point fingers or be accusatory, but be specific in what you’ve noticed in their behaviors and why they are causing your concern.

Be open to having a conversation with them about what you are seeing – this shouldn’t be a one-sided conversation. You want to get input from your loved one about what they are going through.  

You may experience some resistance, as it can be difficult for your loved on to see or admit a problem. But the specifics that you provide should show the importance of the conversation.

If Your Loved One is Resisting Support

If your loved one is resisting support, it is important to not give up (be wary of making ultimatums in the heat of the moment!) Family and friends are often the highest motivators for those seeking or in recovery. Your support and encouragement has power from the very start.

But it is also important for you to remember the importance of self-care in this situation – how you feel matters and it will actually impact the way you respond to the situation. Take care of yourself by setting healthy boundaries (i.e. express care and concern but state that you will not have conversations when they are under the influence.) 

If Your Loved One is Ready for Help

If your loved one is ready for support, that’s the first step in recovery! I recommend having ideas of treatment providers in your area and what services they offer. Have a conversation with your loved one and, if they are willing to go to treatment, offer support in making phone calls with them.

Reach Out for Help

Recovery is a life-long journey. As Dr. Kirane said, there will be ups and downs. If you are struggling with your sobriety, being open and honest about that struggle with expert treatment professionals may be what you need. Our advanced treatment program focuses on individualized care plans that identify your motivations and give you the tools to stay motivated, with the goal of setting you up for long-term sobriety success.

Advanced Treatment Care at Wellbridge

We know what an important role family and friends play in SUD recovery – that’s why we include you in the treatment process. Our comprehensive, strength-based Family Program offers skill-based techniques and coping skills, family visits, joint therapy sessions and support groups.

If you are interested in advanced support for a loved one, contact us to learn more about our patient-centric treatment program.