My friend is addicted to drugs, so what can I do? If you’re in this situation, then you know that helping a friend with drug addiction isn’t an easy task. From initiating the conversation about getting help to coping with the emotional rollercoaster of a friendship impacted by drug or alcohol abuse, assisting a close friend with something as major as recovering from addiction can be challenging, to say the least. Here are some tips on how to help a friend with addiction recovery that could help you begin the process of getting them treatment.
Tips on How to Help a Friend Quit Drugs
Drug addiction of any kind can have a severe impact on a person’s life. From their performance at school and work to their interpersonal relationships, substance abuse can slowly deteriorate all of the good things about a person’s life until they’re solely focused on getting their fix.
Drug addiction can be a difficult topic to discuss, especially if you think your friend has a problem. It’s important to stay open-minded and remember that, with the right kind of help and support, recovery from drug or alcohol abuse is possible. On the other hand, no matter the amount of support the person receives, they may not want to change their behavior.
Below are some tips on how to help a friend get off drugs that can help you navigate this difficult situation and contribute to the person’s recovery and ultimate sobriety.
Learn The Signs of Drug Addiction and Abuse
People use drugs for a variety of reasons, including to socialize, fit in, “escape” from stressors, and simply experiment with something new. Not only will knowing the reasons behind drug use help you when you talk to your friend, but it’s also important to educate yourself on the signs of addiction.
A person with a dependence on drugs or alcohol may exhibit certain physical, behavioral, and emotional signs of addiction, which may become more evident over time. Below are some common symptoms of addiction that may indicate your friend has a drug addiction:
Behavioral signs of addiction:
- Sudden changes in behavior or mood swings
- Withdrawal from you and other loved ones
- Lack of hygiene or carelessness about personal grooming
- Loss of interest in hobbies, sports, and other activities they once enjoyed
- Neglecting responsibilities at work, school, or home
Physical signs of addiction:
- Red, glassy, or bloodshot eyes
- Dilated or pinpoint pupils
- Constant sniffing or runny nose
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Track marks on the arms and legs
- Shakes and tremors
- Incoherent or slurred speech
- Impaired motor coordination and balance
- Sudden weight loss or weight gain
Other signs of addiction:
- Drug paraphernalia like burnt spoons and syringes
- Small, resealable baggies that could be used to store drugs
- Pipes, plastic bottles, or cans that have been tampered with or used to store drugs
- Burnt aluminum foil
- Missing money, valuables, or prescription drugs
- Numerous empty bottles of prescription drugs
Understand That Your Friend May Not Realize Their Problem
As obvious as these changes may seem to you, your friend may be in denial of their problem. Because they’re in the middle of drug or alcohol abuse, it can be difficult for them to see the big picture of how their behavior is affecting their life and the lives of others.
This can be extremely frustrating, especially as an outsider that has a clear view of the toll addiction is taking on your friend. However, it’s important to remain patient with your friend as you attempt to initiate the conversation about their problem.
Be honest with your friend about their issue and use clear language to ensure that they understand. Avoid talking to them while they’re high or under the influence of alcohol, so they can understand and remember the conversation.
Prepare yourself that your friend may become defensive or argumentative when you confront them about their substance use disorder. If you notice that the conversation is turning into an argument, end it at the moment and continue it when both parties are calm again.
Voice Your Concerns To Your Friend
Don’t be afraid to mention how your friend’s drug use has affected you and others in their life. This is not an opportunity to point your finger at them, but rather gently help them realize how their behavior has impacted their loved ones, including yourself.
Make sure they understand the physical consequences of addiction, as well. You can even point out any changes that you may have noticed in their behavior as a result of drug use, such as changes in performance at school or work or neglected friendships and activities they used to care about.
Avoid Speaking To Your Friend When They’re High
Although we already touched on this point previously, it’s important not to talk to your friend about addiction recovery when they’re high on drugs or under the influence of alcohol. They will most likely not understand the conversation nor remember it in the future.
Instead, wait until they’re sober to confront them about their drug use. This way, they’ll be able to absorb and consider what you’re saying.
Avoid Guilt Trips and Ultimatums
As tempting as it can be to give in to your frustrations and preach to, bribe, or threaten your friend about quitting drugs and alcohol, don’t do it. This will most likely only upset them, push them away, and make them less willing to hear you out in the future. Instead, just be clear and honest about how you feel and why you think they need to get help.
Be Positive and Let Your Friend Know You’re There For Them
Navigating how to help a friend with addiction recovery isn’t clear-cut, so be prepared to have several conversations with this person before the idea of treatment finally sticks. Remember that you can’t force anyone to do anything they don’t want to do, as obvious as the need for treatment may be to you.
With this in mind, remain patient with your friend and remind them that you’re there for them no matter what. Just knowing that someone will be around to offer support is often enough encouragement for people with addictions to take that first step towards recovery.
Treatment for Addiction
Despite the various tips on how to help someone that is addicted to drugs you can find, sometimes your efforts won’t be enough, and that’s okay. At this point, if it seems as if the person doesn’t understand the severity of their drug problem, you may need to seek out professional help.
Our Pennsylvania drug rehab offers intervention services and other levels of care for substance abuse treatment that can help your loved one take that first step towards sobriety. Our team of specialists creates treatment plans for patients following a clinical assessment.
This assessment tells us what we need to know about the severity of the person’s condition and any underlying mental and physical health problems that may need to be addressed during treatment. From medically monitored detox to manage withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings to individual and group therapy sessions, clients will have all the resources they need to recover from addiction sustain their sobriety at our Northeast addictions treatment center.