How Do You Help Someone Realize They Have an Addiction Problem?

Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on April 19, 2019.

Do you know someone with a substance use disorder who doesn't admit it? Some people don't realize they have a problem in the first place, and others convince themselves that they don't. As the person's friend or loved one, you can make a difference. This guide will let you understand how to help an addict realize they have a problem.

Stay Positive

It can become frustrating to tell someone with an addiction that they have a disorder. Many people dealing with addiction try to convince themselves that they don't have a problem and that they aren't any different than their peers. As a result, they can get angry or hostile when you try to talk to them. If they act this way, you need to stay calm and positive to get through to them. Make it clear that you understand things are difficult for them and let them know they can open up to you.

Establish Trust

You may feel tempted to confront the person or stage an intervention. However, there is no specific evidence that shows these approaches have positive effects. Instead, using these strategies may escalate the problem and break the person's trust. Frame your conversation around the other person's well-being, not their problem. Make it clear that your concern focuses on their health and your relationship. When you have a two-way conversation, you can establish trust and safety.

Create Incentives to Look for Professional Help

In some cases, the person with a substance use disorder will respond to a medical professional's opinion. The emotions and fear associated with a friend or family member can get in the way of making progress. A diagnosis from a doctor can show the person that they have a disorder and encourage them to seek help. Meanwhile, a visit to the physician's office seems less intimidating than entry into an inpatient program.

Look for a Treatment Center

If you don't think the person with an addiction will act hostile, show them treatment center options. They may have an image in their head of an intimidating medical facility. It turns out that many places of treatment break that mold. These facilities also take different approaches to recovery, some of which may appeal to your loved one. For example, Diamond House Detox has a family mindset that makes clients feel at home.

Offer Unconditional Support

Many people begin to use drugs to cope with strong feelings or tough situations. The stigma surrounding substance abuse may make them feel ashamed and unwilling to admit they have a disorder. Your loved one needs support during this difficult time, no matter how they react to your conversation about their drug use. Let them know that they can always talk to you about their problems.

Let Us Help You or a Loved One

At Diamond House Detox, we help people dealing with substance use disorders and their loved ones heal. Please call us at 800-205-6107 or complete a contact form to begin admissions or get assistance. We welcome both potential clients and concerned loved ones to get in touch 24/7. Call today for same day admittance at (800) 205-6107.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Diamond House Detox
Vicky is a board certified Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She began her nursing career in healthcare by working in the intensive care unit, and then an inpatient psychiatric hospital. After realizing the mental health needs of both the patients and the families she served, she became a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Throughout her experience working with clients, she has developed a passion for those with dual diagnoses and specializes in helping individuals recognize the issues driving their substance use. This recognition has been crucial to the individual’s success in treatment. Vicky opened Diamond House Detox so that she can address these issues early on in a therapeutic environment to allow clients to transition to the next level in their recovery.
Vicky Magobet