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How to Help an Addict Who Doesn’t Want Help

When someone lives with substance abuse or addiction, they feel its impact in every aspect of their life. The addiction can lead to job loss, financial and legal trouble, or declines in mental and physical health,

One of the most profound effects of addiction is the strain it puts on a person’s relationships. People with addiction may exhibit physical and behavioral changes that are noticeable to others. They may push their family and friends away as the addiction tightens its grip. 

If you know or love someone living with addiction, you likely understand the frustration, anger, and guilt that often surround the condition. Watching someone live with the growing consequences of their substance abuse can be devastating.

In many cases, people with an addiction to drugs and alcohol live in a state of denial. Denial is a coping mechanism that prevents people from realizing the severity of their problems. When addicted people live in denial, they may refuse offers for treatment or any kind of support. They may get angry if you simply mention that you think they need help. 

It can be challenging to know what to do to help an addict who doesn’t want help. Part of you may want to turn away and give up, especially if you have tried to help them in the past. But it is essential to keep trying to help someone get the treatment they need–even if they don’t believe they need help.

We’ve put together information about how to help an addict who doesn’t want help. Contact the caring Mandala Healing Center specialists today for support or more information about our treatment programs. 

The Signs of Addiction

The first step to helping an addict who doesn’t want help is to feel confident in your ability to recognize the signs of addiction

Signs of addiction include:

  • Lying or covering up their substance abuse
  • Falling behind at work, school, or responsibilities at home
  • Changes in appearance, mood, appetite, or sleep
  • Spending a lot of time thinking about the substance
  • Using time and energy to get, use, or recover from substance use
  • Financial or legal trouble
  • Injuries related to their substance use
  • Developing tolerance–needing more of the substance to get the same effects

You may keep track of any changes in behavior or signs of substance abuse you see and share this later, either during an intervention or with the person’s treatment team. 

How to Help an Addict Who Doesn’t Want Help

Trying to help an addict who doesn’t want help can feel frustrating or discouraging. You can take steps to make it more likely you will be successful in getting the addicted person to accept help.

Learn about addiction

Learn as much as possible about addiction, treatment, and life in recovery.  Read books or articles about addiction, explore local treatment facilities and programs, or join support groups for families of alcoholics and addicts like Al-Anon. The more you understand about addiction, the better able you will be to support the addicted person.

Plan an intervention

Family and friends of an addicted person may stage an intervention to convince their addicted loved one to go to treatment. An intervention is more likely to be successful if a professional interventionist organizes it. 

Find support

Enlist the support of an interventionist, drug counselor, or therapist who can guide you through the process of staging an intervention. This professional support person will also connect you with local resources and offer valuable support and insight as you navigate the process. 

Act quickly

When left untreated, addiction can get worse. Sometimes, the consequences of substance abuse can become life-threatening. You must act quickly–but be sure you have the support and assistance you need first.

Plan an Intervention to Help an Addict Who Doesn’t Want Help

Holding an effective intervention requires planning and practice. Here are some steps to follow to help you plan an intervention.

  1. Hire a trained interventionist to support your group before, during, and after the intervention.
  2. Decide who will be there and who will speak.
  3. Write down what you will say and practice reading it aloud before the intervention.
  4. Hold the intervention in a place with space and privacy.
  5. Choose a time when your loved one is unlikely to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  6. Hold the intervention.
  7. Help your loved one get into treatment or hold firm boundaries if they decline treatment.
  8. Check-in with the others involved in the intervention.

During an intervention, it is essential to focus on your love and concern instead of your anger or sadness. Avoid blaming or shaming at all costs. 

Here are some phrases to keep in mind:

  • I believe you can do this.
  • Addiction treatment works.
  • You are important.
  • Your life matters.
  • If you agree to go to treatment, we will do the rest.
  • I’m worried about you.
  • I miss our relationship.
  • Your/our children need you to get healthy.

No one chooses their addiction. Remind yourself of this often as you work to help an addict who doesn’t want help. Your unconditional support may be life-changing for them.

Find Help Now

The Mandala Healing Center has developed close, working relationships with a nationwide network of professional interventionists. Their specializations cover a broad spectrum, including substance use disorders, gambling addiction, unresolved trauma and PTSD, and mental health disorders. If you are interested in learning more about the intervention process, please contact one of our Admissions Coordinators. They will further describe the process, assess your family’s needs, and recommend the most appropriate professional for your situation.

For more information about our substance abuse treatment programs, reach out to the Mandala Healing Center specialists today.