Getting the Right Help for Someone in Your Family

As a relative of someone suffering from addiction or a behavioural disorder you may feel powerless and unsure how you can help.

Addiction is a disease that is difficult to understand, and you will likely be frustrated and confused by what they see happening, but families and loved ones are often best placed to confront an addict and help them to find treatment for their condition.


Addiction is a serious family issue, not just for the addict, but for everyone around them. Professional help can make it easier to confront. – Lee Hudson

Approach the Issue with Caution

Before entering into a discussion or attempting to force an addicted person into treatment, you should be aware that this can be ineffective, and could actually do more harm than good if not approached in the correct way.

Helping someone who has an addiction problem can be a difficult task and must be approached with consideration to ensure the best chance of recovery.

Discussing the issue with an addiction professional is always the best option to help someone you care about to change their destructive behaviour and enter into a course of treatment. Simply attempting to deal with the issue by yourself, or amongst your family may not be sufficient.

Although well intentioned, and certainly a positive step in the right direction, making judgements without professional advice could be a dangerous decision.


Attempts by family members to self-treat a loved one can cause detrimental effects to the chances of recovery. Advice should be sought from an addiction professional. – Lucy Pell

Families May Not Understand the Full Extent of the Addiction

help for families affected by addiction

Families will often be in the dark about the seriousness of an addicts problems, and the extent to which the addiction has taken hold on that their life.

The closeness of a family and experience of how that family operates can allow addicts to evade suspicion and to divert attention away from the real issues they are facing.

By recognising patterns of destructive behaviour, and becoming aware of warning signs, you can be better prepared to deal with the situation and find ways to move forward towards helping a loved one reach a life free from addiction.


Possible Signs of Addiction

Signs that someone may be an addict are not just limited to their use of a substance or addictive behaviour, it can also be apparent in their actions and day-to-day behaviour.

If a member of your family shows some or all of the following traits that accompany addiction, it may be time to seek help for them.

  • Frequent and unexplained mood swings
  • Disappearing for extended periods of time
  • A lack of interest in their personal appearance
  • Being secretive and hiding details of their life
  • Personal items of value disappearing
  • Unexplained changes to their financial situation
  • An unexplained loss or gain in weight
  • A sudden change of social circle or friends

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Warning Signs

If a family member has a physical dependence to drugs or alcohol, there are some additional warning signs that you should look out for.

  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Pale Complexion
  • Shaking or Tremors
  • Aggression

These symptoms will most likely begin to appear as the effects of drug or alcohol use begins to wear off.  It is whilst experiencing these symptoms that an addict will seek the next ‘hit’ and is a warning that there is indeed a physical dependence on a particular substance. DO NOT IGNORE THESE WARNING SIGNS. Not acting could have a permanent effect on the health of a loved one.

What Is the Best Way to Help a Family Member?

As a concerned family member, you will probably have many questions about how to deal with the situation and feel unsure of how to move forward and progress the process of dealing with the addiction.

You should consider that it is not just the decision to change the addictive behaviour but also the psychological aspect that causes an addict to believe that their circumstance, or some other person is responsible for what they are experiencing.

They see the continuation of their addictive behaviour as a way to continue their life or to escape from unhappy feelings they are experiencing.

Help is available through various channels including health services, private rehab clinics, addiction professionals and support groups. – Lee Hudson

Finding the right treatment option is essential if you want the best chance of recovering from addiction, but knowing where the find the most appropriate form of care can be a daunting prospect.

Since the decision to attend a rehabilitation programme is so important, many people find it confusing and are unsure who to contact or trust for honest advice. Addiction Friend was created for this very reason and can assist you in selecting the best treatment option for a member of your family.

Do not allow for fear and doubt to stop you from seeking the right kind of help, and don’t forget that an entire family can suffer from the actions of one addicted member. Seeking help could be the most important decision you make in your life – it could even save a life!

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What Can Addiction Friend Do to Help?

We can provide guidance and support if you have a family member whom you are concerned for, and can give advice on the best course of action to deal with the situation you face.

We help to make the journey of recovery as simple as possible, from start to finish, and can be involved in the process as much as you would like us to be.

father in recovery

Addiction Friend is also free and completely independent of individual service providers meaning we can give the best advice to help you deal with the situation.

Set your mind at rest and talk to someone with knowledge and compassion in complete confidence.

Your local Addiction Friend adviser can listen to your problems with understanding, and has experience in dealing with other families who have also been in the same position. You may discover that the problem is not as serious as you thought!


Your Addiction Friend Will:

  • Listen to you and assess the situation
  • Answer any questions you might have
  • Explain what options are available to you
  • Give you independent and impartial advice
  • Help you understand the payment options
  • Help you make admission arrangements