Lantana Recovery
A modern, community-based approach to addiction treatment for Men and Women in Charleston, SC

When Should I Intervene for a Loved One With Addiction?

Jump to Section

Seeing a loved one struggling with addiction can be one of the most challenging situations an individual may ever face. This is also true because many people don’t know what to do for a loved one with addiction. Now, this is understandable. Most people don’t investigate addiction until it starts to affect them directly. However, this uncertainty also keeps many people from getting their loved one help before more serious consequences start to set in. The good news is that there are many steps that one can take to help get their loved one with addiction the help they need.

Understanding That Addiction Is a Disease

It is now predominantly agreed upon that addiction is a “disease.” In almost all respected professional recovery circles, it is thankfully no longer considered some type of “moral failing” or “social inevitability.”

This disease concept has done a lot to lift the stigma around addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences. It is considered a brain disorder because it involves functional changes to brain circuits involved in reward, stress, and self-control. Those changes may last a long time after a person has stopped taking drugs [or drinking].”

Yes, addiction is a chronic disease like any other type of chronic disease, such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. It is chronic because, without some type of professional intervention, it is almost always going to get worse before it gets better. This is why loved ones knowing how to help can be so vital.

Understanding That Addiction Is a Family Disease

Addiction is also considered a “family disease.” This is because addiction essentially affects everyone it comes into contact with, not just the person who is struggling.

According to the peer-reviewed journal Social Work in Public Health, “The family remains the primary source of attachment, nurturing, and socialization for humans in our current society. Therefore, the impact of substance use disorders (SUDs) on the family and individual family members merits attention. Each family and each family member is uniquely affected by the individual using substances, including but not limited to having unmet developmental needs, impaired attachment, economic hardship, legal problems, emotional distress, and sometimes violence being perpetrated against him or her.” Addiction can tear families apart.

The good news is that there is hope for families (and close friends) struggling with a loved one with addiction. However, the key is to act as soon as an issue is detected.

When to Intervene for a Loved One With Addiction

Many people wait to intervene for a loved one with addiction for fear of being wrong or for fear of offending the individual. This type of mindset must be replaced with the mindset that if something isn’t done, they could get very sick and potentially even lose their life. Yes, addiction is absolutely a life-or-death disease.

There is no harm in asking a loved one how they are doing if it is suspected that they may be struggling with addiction. There is a good chance that they may have been waiting for someone to ask. Many people struggling with addiction often “suffer in silence” because they think people don’t care.

If it becomes clear that a loved one is struggling with addiction, then it is time to intervene and offer to get them help. However, if they refuse that help, it may be time to set some boundaries. These boundaries may include no longer allowing them to stay in the home if they are drinking or using or no longer giving them financial support. Many times, these are the types of boundaries that help incentivize someone toward treatment.

How to Get a Loved One With Addiction Help

The best way to get a loved one the addiction help they need is to reach out to professionals. This may be addiction specialists, reputable recovery centers, or even one’s primary care doctor (to begin with).

Many people try to avoid help or treatment because they worry about their responsibilities. Reminding loved ones that the most meaningful thing right now is getting sober is also important.

Many families and friends also choose to get help themselves when a loved one goes into treatment. This can be very helpful because it shows the individual that everyone is on board for the healing process to begin.

Helping the Whole Family Heal at Lantana Recovery

Here at Lantana Recovery, we understand that addiction is a serious family disease. We also understand that addiction needs a serious family solution.

This is why we offer opportunities for the whole family to heal separately and together. The reality is that home is where the heart is. Thus, home is where the healing should happen.

For family and friends, knowing how to approach a loved one about their addiction can be daunting and challenging. It is important to be assertive but not overly aggressive. It is also important to understand boundary setting if someone is not willing to get help. Ultimately, it must be the individual who wants to get sober; no one can do it for them. If you feel like you or a loved one is struggling with issues of addiction, mental health, or both, we can help get you on the right road to recovery. For more information about how to help a loved one with addiction, please reach out to Lantana Recovery today at (866) 997-2870.

Related Articles
Addiction Treatment
Contact Form
We’re here to help you or your loved one on their path to sobriety

Chat with us.

Reach out now and join our supportive community

Charleston South Carolina

Charleston South Carolina

Located on the historic peninsula of Charleston, South Carolina, Lantana Recovery takes a modern approach to Substance Use Disorder treatment, offering intensive clinical care while also immersing our clients in local Charleston culture.