How You can Help Someone with Substance Abuse Disorder

People struggling with addiction face various challenges with trying to get sober or stay sober. They not only struggle to cope with their addiction but also feel like they are battling an uphill battle against those around them who still do not understand the severity of their disease and its impact on them. There are many ways in which you can help someone struggling with substance abuse disorder, and the following tips will give you some ideas on how to help out even more.

1. Help them Detox

If a person is using drugs and wants to stop, that is the beginning of their recovery journey. Help them find a place to detox safely and cleanly. This can be a supervised facility, such as a drug rehab center or an inpatient program at an addiction hospital. If these options are unavailable, you could consider helping them get sober at your home. Approach the subject with gentleness and respect. Offer to help with any practical matters they need until they have completed their detoxification process.

2. Find a Detox Center

If your friend or family member chooses or is forced to go to a detox center, take them there and stay with them, if possible. Talk with the staff about what the person needs and be sure they understand what is happening. It would help if you got the facts about their detoxification process before taking action. The facility staff should be able to explain in detail how this will take place. Then, you can help your loved one by providing emotional support as they detoxify from their drug of choice. This can be a very stressful time, physically and emotionally. You can find help by running a quick search online for the term “methadone clinic near me”. These clinics have experts who offer the services and support you may need.

3. Employ Professional Treatment

If your loved one has a lot of drug paraphernalia or obvious signs of substance abuse, encourage them to seek professional help before it is too late. Professional treatment, such as outpatient or residential rehabilitation, can get people off drugs and on the path to sobriety. Inpatient rehabilitation centers provide round-the-clock counseling, medical care, group therapy sessions, and group chores with housemates who have also been clean for several days or weeks. 

4. Don’t Give Up On Them

It can be frustrating to see someone you care about hurting themselves with their addiction, but this does not mean you should stop supporting them completely. Stick by their side and continue to offer your support because it helps them feel loved and cared for, two things people struggling with substance abuse need desperately.

5. Offer a Listening Ear

Being sober and overcoming addiction means having to deal with the emotional issues that may have led them to start using in the first place. They may be angry, scared, or anxious, and talking through these emotions with someone nonjudgmentally can help them process their feelings even more and move on from their addiction.

6. Offer to Go to a Recovery Meeting with Them

If they are not ready for professional treatment, offer to go to a recovery meeting together so they can see that there are other people out there who understand what they are going through too. Sometimes it can be difficult to ascertain if you are alone in your battle with addiction or if others are facing similar challenges.

7. Call them out if you See Them Acting Out

One of the most important things you can do is to ensure they know you see their problem and will no longer tolerate their addiction. You will not make excuses for them or allow them to continue using drugs and alcohol when they are around you. This may be necessary, but it’s also a reality that could help scare them into getting professional help as soon as possible.

8. Be Understanding if they Relapse

You may have seen someone else relapse before, but you never know how this will affect the person you care about. If they do relapse, do not give up on them completely. Offer your support and counseling again, and look for other ways where you can help them even more.


Substance abuse is a problem that does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone, and there are five ways you can help a person with a substance use disorder get on the path to recovery. Contact your local mental health organization today if you have more questions about substance abuse or need help finding treatment programs.


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Written by Regina Thomas

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