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When an Addict Doesn’t Want Help

When an Addict Doesn’t Want Help

The first step on the road to recovery is admitting a problem exists.

However, many addicts don’t even realize there’s anything wrong. Trapped in active addiction, all they know is their craving. Their unquenchable need for that next fix . . . whatever their chosen vice: alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex. Addiction comes in many forms and it doesn’t discriminate. The addict’s friends and family standing on the outside, looking in as it were, are the ones who will see it first. They’ll notice how the addict begin pulling away, changes in appetite and attitude, even changes in the addict’s physical appearance will show up on their radar long before the addict catches on that things are spiraling out of control. Herein lies the problem. An addict needs help, but often doesn’t know it. Or won’t accept it. Addiction damages areas of the brain which control how people react to situations, whether euphoric or heartbreaking. When this ‘pleasure center’ is altered, and the ability to function becomes dependent on another dose, a victim of addiction loses the ability to make rational decisions. What matters is that treatment and recovery are possible. No matter how bad you think the situation may be. In extreme cases, treatment can be mandated via court orders or medical intervention. It’s never easy to start, but once a plan is put into place and treatment begins, with time and patience, the road becomes easier to travel.

How Family, Friends, and Coworkers Can Help an Unwilling Addict

  • Understand that addiction IS a disease by educating yourself.
  • Remember to care for yourself. Seeing to an addict can be draining, but you can only help them so far if you get run down. Keep your own energy and mental well-being ‘up’ by taking care of you. Don’t underestimate the benefit of bonding with others who are in your shoes. Look into local support groups or even private therapy if you need. There’s no shame in getting help.
  • Set limits. Don’t enable. Do practice healthy detachment. A good example of this would be refusing to loan money to cover bills not being paid because the addict is buying drugs or alcohol instead. Another would be asking the addict to keep their distance when drunk or high. Tread carefully here, however; you could drive them away.
  • If needed, set up an intervention. Yes, they can be uncomfortable and intense, but they are highly effective in getting the addict’s attention. Once you catch that, progress is possible.

Professionals at Banyan Treatment Center will be more than happy to help you assess your situation if a friend or loved one is showing signs of addiction and you don’t know what to do.

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.