What To Do When A Loved One Is Struggling With Addiction


It has never been easy to see someone you love succumb to addiction or extreme dependence on harmful substances. No matter the reason behind their condition, it’s difficult to witness your loved ones being affected by their situation and gradually losing a grasp of their bright future. Due to that, it’s crucial to know the appropriate measures you can take to help your loved one recover from this psychological condition before it destroys their lives.   

If you know someone who’s suffering from addiction, how are you helping them to recuperate? What are the measures you ought to take to make them get through their condition and take back the life they once had? If you’re wondering about these concerns, worry not as there are various alternatives you can consider to assist your loved one.   

The Painstaking Process Of Quitting Addiction      

Addiction is considered one of the most common types of psychological disorders prevalent among people of different ages. While the main causes of addiction could vary based on every person, it remains that its aftereffects pose significant impacts on one’s life. It may even cause permanent damages once neglected. 

Despite numerous medical advancements and plenty of research programs that aim to control the rising number of patients suffering from addiction, there’s no denying that mental healthcare providers and psychological experts still have a long way to go before they obtain their purposes. It’s also important to know how you can be a part of someone’s journey towards recovery from addiction. 

To help you more, here are some important information as to why some people find it hard to quit addiction:     

  • One of the most common stigmas associated with addiction implies that being addicted is a product of one’s conscious decisions and actions. Some people often believe that patients suffering from addiction chose this condition and are fully aware of the possible outcomes of their actions.
  • It’s worth mentioning that excessive dependence stems from various factors, which affect one’s sensible decision-making and capacity to make logical actions. Simply said, there could be underlying factors that influence a person to act as they did.
  • Some of the most common reasons behind such conditions may include peer influence, unhealthy environment, improper lifestyle, psychological stressors, intrusive thoughts, traumatic childhood experience, and drug accessibility.
  • Intrinsically, addiction involves persistent cravings for harmful substances, loss of awareness and control over their use, as well as unceasing involvement to them despite adverse impacts on their health.
  • Without taking those substances, the person will feel agitated and perturbed. This is because their brain, as well as their entire system, is already dependent on those substances.

Struggling With Addiction

Helping Someone Cope With Addiction

There’s no doubt that managing and coping with addiction is never an easy task. With many things to consider and the amount of time it could take for someone to recover from this psychological dysfunction, some people may think that the fight against addiction is a losing battle.

Fortunately, there are ways and alternatives you can consider to efficiently help your loved one get through their situation. From seeking professional help, undergoing psychological interventions, and signing up for addiction treatments, you’ll never run out of helpful alternatives.

To help you out, here’s a list of the things you can do when a loved one is suffering from addiction:


  • Establish A Recovery Plan


A person’s journey towards rehabilitation is more than just about seeking professional help. It could also come in the form of biological, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and social recuperation. However, it could be hard to help someone achieve their goals of recovery if you’re not fixated on your purposes.  

To better help keep your loved one focus on their objectives, it’d be beneficial to create a comprehensive recovery scheme that’ll serve as a guide for them to pursue recovery. Through that, you can keep them motivated and driven to undergo a series of psychological interventions and addiction treatments. 


  • Provide Moral Support


Note that addiction is largely a result of someone’s defense mechanism acting up to protect them from unwanted thoughts. That being said, when it comes to helping someone get through addiction, one of the most important forms of assistance you can offer them is your unconditional love and support. 

In some cases, patients suffering from addiction tend to succumb further to their condition because of a lack of motivation from the people around them to pursue recovery. If you know someone who’s struggling with the same situation, it’d be better to make them feel your empathy and readiness to help them get back to their old self. To better alleviate their struggles, you should also make them realize the value of self-care and encourage them to seek professional help.  


  • Help Them Identify The Cause Of Their Condition


Some of the most common symptoms of addiction include the demonstration of unusual behavior and a strange way of thinking. If you’re starting to notice your loved one behaving differently from their usual personality, then that might be the right time to talk to them about it.  

However, note that most people who struggle with addiction tend to view their strange behavior as a result of newly-found habits and routines, hence they may deny your observations. To help them get better, it’d be of great value to ask them about their problems and help them determine the root cause of their actions. Through that, you’ll know the appropriate treatment options for them.


  • Encourage Them To Seek Help


The earlier you take preventive measures to address your loved one’s condition, the greater chances of them recuperating from the situation. If you’re starting to notice red flags in your loved one’s actions, it’s high time to refer them to a reliable psychologist, psychiatrist, or counselor who can help them resolve their concerns.

Making them consider the idea of seeking professional help could monitor their condition and identify the appropriate alternative treatments for them. Also, your awareness about the signs of psychological disturbance and mental disorder is crucial in advancing their recovery.   


  • Be Involved In Their Journey


When someone’s struggling with addiction, they’re more likely to suffer from mental health issues and physical impairment. Apart from that, they’re also more prone to mild or chronic diseases, which makes it harder for them to heal faster. In such cases, family members and loved ones hold a vital role in the life of the person dealing with addiction. 

Allotting some of your time to execute interventions, which are focused on the betterment of your loved one, could significantly help them feel your love and support. Doing that could also help you set boundaries and limitations, speeding up their rehabilitation.    

Understanding Addiction And The Brain

Many people are still having a hard time dealing with addiction despite the efforts of healthcare professionals. Aside from the continuous rise in the number of patients suffering from substance abuse and dependence, the number of patients dying is also reaching an alarming rate. Additionally, there’s also a considerable increase in the number of patients in recovery centers and rehabilitation facilities.

To help you have a better understanding of this matter, here’s how addiction affects one’s brain:

  • Whether you believe it or not, addiction and the extreme feelings of dependence over harmful substances are a result of the chemicals affecting the normal functioning of the brain. Specifically, the part of the brain that’s greatly affected by addiction is the frontal lobes.
  • Once the prefrontal cortex is altered by the chemical in harmful substances, one’s ability to make sound judgments is also affected. This could hinder them from knowing what’s right from wrong.
  • The prefrontal cortex poses significant impacts on one’s impulse control, balance, and precision. In that aspect, addiction could affect one’s mental cognizance, contorting one’s perception of reality.
  • The anterior cingulate cortex and nucleus accumbens are some of the other parts of the brain affected by addiction. Primarily, these parts are found in the ventral striatum, and they’re responsible for the motivation and reward system. They’re also associated with the strong feelings of pleasurable sensations upon exposure to addictive substances.

Intrinsically, the addictive substance in harmful substances causes stimulation in the brain’s reward system, which stirs up pleasure sensations and immediate gratification after consuming them.

  • People may also feel gratification after taking addictive substances as they produce dopamine into the brain, which is often felt after eating or engaging in sexual activities. The sudden feelings of complacency and self-satisfaction after taking drugs and other addictive substances are some of the reasons why some people find it hard to quit despite its harmful aftereffects.


It’s never easy dealing with addiction, let alone see someone you loved suffer from it. While helping your family member recuperate from addiction might not be an easy task to accomplish, there are various alternatives you can consider to efficiently achieve your purposes.  

For starters, some of the ways you can consider may include creating a recovery scheme, encouraging them to seek professional help, providing moral support, and being with them throughout their journey. Through these simple acts of empathy and compassion, helping your loved ones recover from their condition and get back to their old life will be easier.

Roseanne D. Trower

Roseanne D. Trower has been a licensed addiction psychologist for almost12 years. She primarily focuses on helping patients to become more aware of their thoughts, actions, and feelings. She also helps people cope with addiction through therapeutic approaches and

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