How to Help When You Suspect Addiction – February 2017

Care to Talk About Addiction

Have a Healthy Conversation

Despite years of efforts by politicians, celebrities, policy-makers and affected families, drug addiction remains a topic shrouded by stigma. Beliefs about addiction sufferers lead many to feel ashamed, unloved and unworthy of help, but a frank conversation with a caring friend, family member or even a coworker can break through those barriers and encourage someone who is struggling to seek help.

What’s the best way to approach this subject? Here are 4 things to keep in mind:

  1. Remember, addiction is a disease. Addiction affects behavior and causes abnormal thoughts and actions. That means your loved one may be behaving badly, but they are not a bad person. In fact, during this time when someone’s actions may make them hard to love, we need to love them even more to help them get back to their true selves.
  2. Say, “I care.” Rather than blame or criticize, speak about your concern for your loved one’s health and wellbeing. Take that one step further by bringing up the effects addiction is having on those people your loved one cares about, too.
  3. Get help. Professional help is available from a variety of sources: your family physician, Carrier Clinic®’s 24/7 Access Center at 800-933-3579, NJ’s new treatment hotline at (844) REACH-NJ, a friend in recovery – all of these can be valuable resources for both you and your loved ones.
  4. Check back. Even if the first conversation doesn’t end with a start to sobriety, get back to the topic at a later date. Remain compassionate and consistent, your attempts will mean something, and could eventually lead to the hoped-for outcome.

In time, by caring enough to talk about addiction, we can all make a difference in ending the stigma surrounding this disease and the epidemic harming our society and so many families.

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