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Having a friend or loved one who is an alcoholic or drug addict is one of the most painful situations you can deal with. It’s impossible to act indifferent while you stand aside and watch them throw their life away on drugs and alcohol, but knowing what steps to take and how to help can sometimes be even harder.

Below are signs displayed by a person dealing with drug and alcohol abuse:

  • Becoming hot-tempered, sad or being defensive when questioned about their substance abuse.
  • Change in physical and outward appearance and may include rapid weight gain or loss, bruises or sores, skin rashes, and neglected personal hygiene
  • Experiencing symptoms of withdrawal when they are unable to take the drug.
  • Having difficulty with memory and cognition
  • Having problems at workplace or school, including falling grades, losing one’s job, getting arrested or dropping out of school.
  • Constantly asking for money or, in extreme, stealing money or valuable items to pay for drugs.
  • Feeling sick or tired, being lethargic
  • Sleeping more, usually at irregular hours.
  • Mood swings

Alcoholic and drug addicts are less likely to make conscious decisions about their drinking habits. Their constant state of denial prevents them from recognizing the full extent of the problem and its consequences. Reaching out to help some with an alcohol and drug problem can be challenging. It’s true that while the addict is the only person who can stop their own alcohol use, family members and loved ones can still take certain steps to try and curb addictive behaviors. Below are lists of actions you can take to encourage your loved one to get the help they need for their alcohol or drug addiction.

Know your Boundaries and Limitations


Before you begin your journey to help a loved one on drugs or alcohol, you need to understand that addiction is a chronic and progressive disease. Loving an addict and helping them recover from an addiction is a lengthy and boisterous experience that usually bring stress and confusion. You need to understand that you cannot fix their condition, every decision lies in their hands. You must know when to take a step back and allow them to learn on their own. This can be a difficult task, especially for parents who have children who are addicts. To sit back and watch your child lie, steal and ruin their chances at a bright future can be a difficult choice to make.



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Get the Help of a Professional


The first step to successfully helping an alcoholic or drug addict is to learn as much as you can about the disease of addiction. The best and fastest way to learn how to help an addict is to seek the advice of professionals who can guide you and help you put together a plan. A professional will assess their condition and help you find an appropriate treatment and program for the addiction. A professional can help you stage an intervention or simply find the right treatment facility to help your son get clean and sober. A licensed professional can explain the different types of facilities available, highlighting all the pros and cons. Such facilities include:

  • Inpatient treatment programs
  • State-run detox treatment programs
  • Dual diagnosis programs
  • Non-profit treatment facilities

Stop Enabling


This is one of the most difficult and challenging aspects of helping a loved one with an addiction. Adults who are addicted to drugs or alcohol will normally look to their family for money to support their growing habit. You may want to accommodate them or find a place for them to stay when they get kicked out of their apartment. But many of these behaviors will only show the drug addict or alcoholic that there are no negative consequences for their behaviors, enabling their addiction. There is a thin line between helping and enabling an addict


Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment Options


When you are considering how to help an addict, consider that there are mental and psychological aspects to addiction and dependency as well as the physical addiction. Help for alcoholics and addicts can be achieved through hospitals, clinics, interventions, and therapies, as well as through groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

Hospital Interventions


A hospital is well equipped with both inpatient and outpatient facilities. These special hospitals are built to cater to serious complications that may arise due to alcohol or drug use, as well as the withdrawal symptoms a patient may experience.

Upon arriving at any hospital, every individual must fill all necessary forms/questionnaires and complete a comprehensive evaluation which will allow the professionals to have an insight of the unique needs presented by each individual.

Outpatient treatment at a hospital gives the patient the option to come and go. This may be the best way how to help an alcoholic that has a busy schedule or has to maintain a normal schedule in his or her day-to-day life.

Outpatient facilities may not have the necessary facilities or medications to help patients with a more serious addiction, so the patient is likely to be referred to an inpatient service if it is not a condition the clinic can handle



Therapies are designed to help addicts better understand and analyze the core issues that fostered their alcohol abuse, and how to develop effective strategies to deal with them. They are also taught specific coping skills for dealing with their drug and alcohol use. Addiction treatment therapies include behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Contingency management, Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Multidimensional Family Therapy, Person-Centred Therapy, Integrative Approach, Motivational Interviewing and Matrix Model



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