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National Addictions Management Service

How to Help Your Loved One
How to Help Your Loved One

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How to Help Your Loved One 

Addiction doesn't just impact the person with the addiction. It also affects their partner, their kids, their family members and their friends. It's not easy to help someone who is struggling with addiction but sometimes, as a close friend or family, you can make the biggest difference.

What to Understand Before Talking to a Loved One

When you approach your loved about getting treatment, don't be confrontational. No one likes to be pushed into a corner.


Be caring rather than harsh. Instead of confronting the person, be persuasive. Go in knowing it won't be an easy conversation and be prepared to keep your cool. Avoid anger and assigning blame. And don't accuse; instead of saying "You are a drug addict", try saying "I am worried about your drug use". This is less confrontational and also shows that you care.

Express concern and offer help

Start by showing concern and your willingness to help. You could say how you feel, like "I was really worried about you last night."

Explain that they have an illness

Explain that drug or alcohol abuse is a disease. It doesn't mean the person is morally weak or lacks willpower. Substance abuse is a serious illness that can kill and they need help.

Offer Information and Professional Help

Leave information around the house about where and how to get treatment. Key in the names and numbers of people who can help into your phone so you can give the information immediately if asked. If they are willing, call on their behalf. If the person doesn't want help, don't push it. Plant the seed and be ready to help when they are ready.

Offer hope

Quite often, people aren't hopeful that the addicted person will change. However, studies show that more than half of people who ask for help and get it have a better quality of life after just three months.

Treatment and recovery

Entering treatment is an important start, but it's only a start. And it's not just the person with addiction who needs help. Family members also need to start the healing process and to strengthen family ties. Apart from addiction, there may be other issues to deal with, such as marital, financial, and legal problems.

Family members also struggle with mental health and stress related issues from dealing with the problem. They need to take care of themselves as well.

You're not alone. Call our All Addiction 6-RECOVER Helpline at 6-7326837 to talk to someone confidentially who can walk you step by step through your options.

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All addictions: 6-7326837, Gambling helpline: 1-800-6-668-668