Help for a Loved One with Addiction

Any addiction, whether it is to alcohol and other drugs or lifestyles such as shopping and gambling, can have a ripple effect on the lives of the individual and those around them.

Although the direct impacts of addiction will solely affect the individual struggling with the addiction, there are many more indirect impacts that many individuals do not consider.

Addictions are also known as substance use disorders when the individual is addicted to a substance and no other types of addiction.

For example, friends and family around the individual may pick up on signs and symptoms of the addiction but have little clue on how to help or offer support.

This is something that can cause serious distress to those around the individual struggling with addiction, especially if their loved one is in denial about their situation.

This is why Rehab 4 Alcoholism is ready and waiting to assist any issues surrounding addiction.

Whether its helping the individual struggling with addiction to find a suitable treatment, or if those around the individual may require additional support themselves.

To find help for a loved one with addiction, contact Rehab 4 Alcoholism today.

The effects of drug abuse and addiction on family and friends

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The effects of addiction on those close to the individual struggling can be both physical and mental.

Often, these effects are caused as a result of stress, helplessness, and a lack of knowledge on addiction and how to help a loved one with addiction.

Because of this, finding a suitable type of treatment for their loved one can be especially challenging.

Below are some of the most common effects of addiction on close friends and/or family of the individual struggling:

  • Constant worrying 
  • Lack of sleep/insomnia 
  • Financial issues 
  • Decreasing relationship with the individual struggling with addiction
  • Feelings of hopelessness on how to help

Understanding your loved one’s substance abuse

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In order to ascertain how best to seek help for a loved one with addiction, it may be useful to first understand why they have reached this point, or why they may have begun their substance consumption in the first place.

One of the most common reasons for the development of an addiction is initial recreational use that quickly snowballs to become an individual’s dependent substance.

For example, if an individual begins drinking large quantities of alcohol during social events, then this may continue into their daily lives – drinking alcohol to feel ‘normal’ and function in their daily activities.

Additionally, individuals may develop a substance use disorder as a coping mechanism.

Specific aspect or aspects of an individual’s life may become more stressful, for example, their mental health.

This can cause people to drink larger quantities of alcohol or consume more and more substances in order to avoid dealing with or coping with the problem.

Modern research also highlights the genetic predispositions that may make someone more likely to develop an addiction, though this is still highly researched and debated (1).

Recognising drug abuse in a loved one

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Addiction can be characterised by multiple behaviours, actions, and physical signs, though not all of these are always present in every individual case.

If you suspect that someone you know may have an addiction and are considering seeking help for a loved one with addiction, then it may be useful to look out for some of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Requiring substance consumption for every event/daily activity
  • Irritability when the substance is not available
  • Insomnia or trouble sleeping
  • Paler skin 
  • Clammy hands/increased sweating
  • Agitation and/or aggression
  • Attempts to carry out addictive behaviours in secret
  • Unwilling to talk about addiction and/or substance abuse

It is always best to approach someone you love about these symptoms in the most respectful way, offering support rather than judgment. 

How to Help Someone Dealing with Addiction

If you know that someone you love has an addiction and you wish to find help for a loved one with addiction, then there are many steps that you can take.

One of the first steps is to ascertain whether or not the individual struggling with the addiction accepts their condition and is willing to accept and/or seek further rehabilitative support.

Again, this should be approached in a respectful and advisory manner, not in a way that makes the individual feel as though they must begin a treatment programme.

In some cases, it may be useful to employ the assistance of a family therapist or social worker – someone who may be able to assist and mediate any discussions made about the future of the individual’s rehabilitation.

In the cases of medical emergencies, help should always be sought.

What if We are Both Struggling with Addiction?

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It’s difficult to know when you need help for a loved one with addiction when you are also suffering with addiction.

In some cases, two people who are addicted to a substance together may begin to enable one another’s behaviours.

This is known as co-dependency and refers to a situation in which two or more individuals actively encourage and support each other’s substance use disorder, suggesting taking more of the substance when they may both be trying to withdraw or cut down.

In these cases, there is a specific form of effective treatment known as co-dependency treatment which works by treating the individuals separately and together, helping to find where these issues may be originating from and how best to treat them.

After treatment, it will be suggested to the individuals that they continue their rehabilitation together or if they should go their separate ways.

This, at the end of the day, is completely down to the individuals struggling with addiction, though a suitable addiction treatment service provider will always suggest the best possible next steps.

At Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and can offer you assistance in accessing help for a loved one with addiction.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

Intervention: help for a loved one with addiction


As mentioned previously in this article, there may be some instances in which an individual is in denial about their addiction, perhaps discounting it as mild substance usage rather than an addiction.

For these individuals, some of them may benefit from an intervention.

This is something that friends and family of the individual can engage with as a form of family meeting, by sharing how their loved one’s addiction has affected them.

It’s also a good environment to allow close relations the opportunity to suggest suitable next steps and treatment programmes for their loved one.

Interventions are often mediated by a mental health professional – either a counsellor or licensed interventionist.

These individuals ensure that the family discussion is on-topic, relevant to the means they are trying to achieve, and completely focused on finding suitable and appropriate help for a loved one with addiction.

Modern methods of intervention, such as CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training) focus especially on the relationship between the two parties, helping build relationships to a point where they are able to accept new changes into their lives together (2).

The most effective interventions work in this way.

The Dos and Don’ts of Helping a Loved One with an Addiction

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If you know someone struggling with substance abuse, then knowing how best to help can be extremely challenging.

The balance of respectfully bringing it to the individual’s attention and suggesting suitable treatments can be hard to find.

This is why Rehab 4 Alcoholism has compiled a few top tips on how best to approach a situation in which someone you know and/or love may be struggling with addiction.

These follow as a series of dos and don’ts over the following few subheadings.

Do: Take Care of Yourself

When it comes to finding help for a loved one with addiction, the first step is, in fact, finding the time to care for oneself.

As harsh as it may sound, there is no point in wearing yourself down to seek suitable care for someone who may be struggling with addiction.

If you are not in full health, then there is no way in which you can expect to provide support to another individual.

This first important ‘do’ can be achieved by ensuring the upkeep of your pre-existing commitments and responsibilities such as work/school or the care of another individual such as a child.

Only in full health can someone make the most effective and suitable choices, for both them and their loved ones.

Don’t: Violate Their Privacy

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Addiction is a private issue; everyone deals with it in a different way. Often, individuals may become more secretive about their behaviours.

This can include hiding in a room or leaving the house when they are engaging in addictive behaviours, leading to further distress and worry from individuals who care about them.

Because of this, it is important not to overstep into the individual’s private life too much. This may include bursting into rooms to try and catch the individual in the act of additive behaviours, therefore providing the need for rehab.

This can cause a great sense of distrust between an individual and those who are trying to find help for a loved one with addiction.

Do: Educate Yourself

As addiction is such a complex and multi-layered disorder, understanding what a loved one may be going through is often a mystery to those around them.

Because of this, it is important to gain at least a basic understanding of addiction and how it can affect and influence their behaviours, wellbeing, and health (both physical and mental).

Luckily, the internet has a wealth of information on addiction and how it may influence individuals.

Right here on Rehab 4 Alcoholism, for example, we have countless web pages covering the different aspects of addiction, its effects, and how best to seek help right here on our website.

To learn more about how you can better access help for a loved one with addiction, please take a look around our site or give us a call directly on our dedicated addiction hotline.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

Don’t: Enable Your Loved One

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This is one of the most important stages in supporting and finding help for a loved one with addiction.

Often, and without realising, those around the individual can be enabling their behaviours in a variety of ways.

For example, allowing addictive behaviours to occur knowingly within a household without mention may make the individual feel as though their behaviours are acceptable at home.

This can lead to a continuation of the problem and, in some cases, a worsening.

In the case of alcohol especially, this is something that is present in most UK households, leading to an ease in access for individuals struggling with an alcohol addiction.

Although some of these may seem extreme, it is important to be as aware as possible of your loved ones and their activities revolving around addiction and not to let them go unnoticed or unmentioned if it can be helped.

As always, help for a loved one with addiction should be approached with the utmost support and respect.

Do: Seek Counselling or Therapy

As well as finding and suggesting suitable rehabilitative help for a loved one with addiction, it may also be suitable to find appropriate treatment and/or therapy for yourself.

Through most rehab service providers, some form of family therapy or family drug support will be available.

This includes both one-to-one counselling for yourself, as well as the option to have group therapy with the individual struggling with addiction.

In a way, this family involvement within therapy is similar to interventions, though it is far more in-depth and may take place over a number of weeks or months rather than a general one-off intervention session.

Don’t: Give in to Manipulation

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In attempts to continue their addictive behaviours or to avoid confrontation on the topic, many people with addiction may begin to manipulate close friends and family into ignoring their addictive behaviour.

This is especially important to detect and avoid, as this often leads to the worsening of an individual’s addiction, sometimes leading to destructive behaviour in some cases – either of themselves or the environment and relationships around them.

Manipulative behaviour such as this is often hard to pick up on, especially if the individual is adamant about continuing their substance abuse, but it is something that those close to the individual and seeking help for a loved one with addiction should keep an eye out for.

Do: Have Compassion

Though the words respect and understanding have previously been used to describe the way in which an individual should approach a loved one with addiction, compassion is one that has yet to be mentioned.

With addiction, the effects can be unpleasant, isolating, and embarrassing. This is why compassion is one of the key elements that you must keep in mind when speaking to a loved one about how they feel and how best to help them.

In fact, simply asking your loved one how they feel or how they are experiencing their addiction is a great way to open the discussion and show your loved one that they can talk about it without judgment in a safe and compassionate environment.

Compassion is one of the key features of care within a residential rehab centre, as this is a new environment for individuals and one that can often be disconcerting or off putting in the initial stages.

Don’t: Shame or Criticize

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As just mentioned above, it is important that the individual feels open to talk about their addiction with those who are closest to them.

This is not something that can be achieved if their loved one is consistently criticising or shaming them about their addictive behaviour.

Addiction is not a choice for many individuals, so to have shame and criticism thrust upon them over something they cannot control can be incredibly disheartening and lead to further issues, especially those relating to mental health and the worsening of their addiction in general.

Do: Expect Difficulties

Addiction is not something that can be cured overnight. Addiction is not something that can ever truly be cured, but with the right rehabilitation programme, motivation, and commitment from the individual, they are likely to have the highest chance of success in rehab.

Because of this, there are likely to be stages in the individual’s rehabilitation journey in which they face hardships, road bumps, and other factors that may draw them back.

Continuing to support the individual in their journey and supporting them every stage of the way is the best way to show strength here, as your support will be viewed as a consistent feature of recovery and something that they can continue to rely on long into the future.

Don’t: Expect Immediate Change

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As mentioned above, addiction does not go away overnight, and nor do the negative effects or withdrawal symptoms that an individual may begin to experience.

Due to this, individuals must view their rehabilitation as a form of personal development and growth – something that can continue to be built on across their life and recovery journey.

Not only will this provide motivation for the individual themselves, but it also gives loved ones and those around them the opportunity to see positive changes and prove to them that they can make meaningful steps towards an addiction-free lifestyle.

At Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard can be to change your relationship with addiction.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

What to Expect When Your Family Member Enters Treatment

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When a loved one first starts any rehabilitative treatment, it is a new and unfamiliar process, meaning that many individuals may not know how best to support their loved one as they move into this new territory and experience.

In general, what to expect is dependent on the type of therapy that the individual is experiencing.

Some of the main forms of treatment for individuals struggling with addiction are outlined in the following paragraphs.

By taking a look at the following, friends and family seeking help for a loved one with addiction can gain a greater understanding of rehab.

You can also learn about some of the techniques and tools employed, and what to expect from different types of treatment.

1. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT is one of the most common and well-known forms of rehabilitative treatment in the modern world.

Also known for its application in the treatment of various mental health issues, CBT is especially effective in the treatment of mental disorders that are known to co-occur with addiction (3).

Through CBT, individuals work on a one-to-one basis with a counsellor to discuss their addiction, how it has affected them, and where it may have originated from.

From this, the individual is then encouraged and supported in the creation of coping mechanisms – useful mental tools that can be used to deal with addiction even after leaving rehabilitation.

2. Inpatient Treatment or Rehabilitation

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Inpatient treatment, also known as residential rehab, is the type of rehabilitation in which individuals enter a dedicated and specifically designed establishment in which to undergo their rehabilitation programme.

Through inpatient treatment, individuals will be given a tailor-made rehab programme, encapsulating the most beneficial and useful treatments, therapies, and other holistic activities that will best treat their addiction.

Through residential rehab, individuals will have access to multiple and unique benefits such as 24/7 care, expert staff, specialised equipment, and a distraction-free environment in which to fully commit to a rehab programme.

The recommended amount of time Rehab 4 Alcoholism dedicates to spending in a rehab centre is 28 days.

This can be extended if necessary, as residential rehab offers some of the most flexible care available in the modern world in the field of addiction.

3. Support Groups

Both during rehab and after, those seeking help for a loved one with addiction may have come across support groups or addiction support networks.

This includes well-known groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

These groups are run as a safe space for individuals to talk about their addiction within a group, learning from both the experiences of others and from the vocalisation of their own.

If you are seeking help for a loved one with addiction, suggesting an addiction support network may be one of the first steps.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

Don’t give up – Rehab 4 Alcoholism is here to help you

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Rehab 4 Alcoholism has helped countless individuals with addiction and rehabilitation.

No matter the addiction or the stage of rehabilitation that the individual is in, we are here to help.

Seeking help for a loved one with addiction? No problem.

We offer free and confidential advice for any individual who asks, no matter if the support is for yourself or for someone you may know.

To see how Rehab 4 Alcoholism can help you or someone you love, please call our addiction support line on 0800 111 4108 today.


[1] Legrand, L.N., Iacono, W.G. and McGue, M., 2005. Predicting addiction: behavioral genetics uses twins and time to decipher the origins of addiction and learn who is most vulnerable. American scientist, 93(2), pp.140-147.

[2] Meyers, R.J., Miller, W.R., Hill, D.E. and Tonigan, J.S., 1998. Community reinforcement and family training (CRAFT): Engaging unmotivated drug users in treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse, 10(3), pp.291-308.

[3] Yusop, Y.M., Husin, M.H., Zainudin, Z.N., Othman, W.N.W., Harun, M.M., Sumari, M. and Ghafar, N.N.A., 2021. How Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Helps on Addictive Behaviour?. Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 11(12), pp.995-1009.