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How A Family Can Support Addicted Loved Ones: Important Tips


Addiction, also known as substance use disorder (SUD), is characterized by compulsively engaging in rewarding stimuli despite negative consequences. It is a chronic, relapsing brain disorder, and is listed as such in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). Addiction can wreak havoc in all areas of one’s life. Since the disease compels an individual to prioritize satisfying his or her substance cravings above all else, an individual struggling with addiction can experience a plethora of adverse effects, including physical complications, relationship fractures, financial strain, legal challenges, employment issues, and more. The development of substance use disorder does not occur immediately, nor will recovering from addiction be achieved instantaneously. The path of recovery from substance abuse and/ or addiction is not necessarily linear, nor will it be the same for every person. 

Helpful Tips

Caring about, living with, or loving a person with an addictive disease can be very difficult. The nuances and complex nature of addiction can make knowing how to provide a loved one with effective support unclear and confusing. However, research suggests that your loved one will likely have a greater chance of overcoming addiction with your support. When family relationships are stable and supportive, they can have positive effects on one’s mental health, as they can provide resources that can help a family member learn to cope with stress, engage in healthier behaviors, and cultivate improved self-esteem, which can, in turn, help an individual achieve long-term recovery. To best help your loved one consider the following:

  • You are not alone: nearly 20 million individuals and their families are affected by addiction or substance use disorders every year. 
  • Educate yourself: learning about addiction, treatment, and recovery can help you relate to and support your loved one on their path to recovery.
  • Have compassion: addiction is a disease of the brain, not a moral weakness.
  • Do not enable: enabling behaviors (e.g., lying or excusing behaviors in an attempt to cover for a loved one) allow or enable an individual struggling with addiction to continue to engage in substance-abusing behaviors (e.g., prioritize drinking and/ or abusing drugs) and inadvertently helps him or she avoids experiencing the natural consequences of his or her actions.
  • Be honest: share with your loved one what their addiction has been like for you and be clear about what you want to happen next.
  • Respect their privacy: do not discuss or even inform friends, family, or others about your loved one’s treatment without their consent.
  • Role model healthy daily habits: engage in regular physical activity, obtain ample sleep, eat nutritiously, etc. 

As a loved one of an individual struggling with addiction it is imperative to be aware of your own limitations and recognize that your loved one may be dealing with certain issues that extend beyond your abilities. There are a plethora of highly qualified professionals available that have extensive experience and expert knowledge and specialize in working with individuals struggling with substance abuse and/ or addiction. As the loved one of an individual struggling with addiction it is imperative to be able to recognize the warning signs of relapse and obtain professional guidance as soon as possible. Early intervention, family support, and professional assistance can be invaluable to an individual’s long-term success.

For Information and Support 

Substance abuse and addiction can be incredibly dangerous and can result in severe short and long-term consequences. If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse or addiction, please get help as soon as possible. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to leading happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives. There is no reason to go through this alone, and Friendly house treatment center is here to help. Please feel free to reach out to us for further information or with any questions regarding substance abuse or addiction. We are available anytime via telephone at: 213-389-9964, or you can always email us at:

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