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My Best Friend Is an Addict—What Do I Do?

picture of Joe Gilmore
Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

June 24, 2024 (Originally Published)

June 24, 2024 (Last Updated)

Table of Contents

If you are searching for things like “My best friend is an addict – what do I do”, read on and find out how to help a loved one battling drug or alcohol addiction. You can also learn how to get effective treatment for substance abuse.

For immediate assistance and same-day rehab admission, call 866.330.9449.

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How To Tell if Your Friend Is Addicted: The Signs of Addiction

Addiction is a chronic condition where someone keeps using drugs or alcohol despite harmful effects on their health, relationships, and finances. As addiction progresses, the brain changes in areas that control pleasure, stress, and self-control. Fortunately, addiction is treatable with the right help.

If your friend is abusing drugs or alcohol, you might notice certain behaviors. It can be hard to see all these signs if you don’t live with them. Look out for:

  • Spending time with new friends.
  • Talking about drugs or alcohol more often than usual.
  • Appearing secretive about what they are doing or where they are going.
  • Changes in mood, like being overly happy and energetic or very sleepy and confused.
  • Financial problems.
  • Changes in appearance like bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, or weight loss.
  • Unusual sleeping or eating patterns.

If your friend’s substance use is out of control, they might show signs of drug addiction (substance use disorder) or alcoholism (alcohol use disorder), such as:

  • Using more drugs or alcohol than they planned.
  • Having trouble keeping up at home, work, or school.
  • Cravings to use more drugs or alcohol.
  • Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from the effects of drugs or alcohol.
  • Failed attempts in the past to cut down.
  • Using drugs or alcohol in dangerous situations, like before driving.
  • Continuing to use substances even though it has caused or worsened physical or psychological problems.
  • Not participating in social, work-related, or fun activities they once enjoyed.
  • Continuing to use drugs or alcohol despite relationship conflicts.
  • Having to increase the dose to get the desired effects.
  • Withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop or cut down.

Recognizing these signs can help you understand if your friend needs help. Addiction is treatable, and with the right support, your friend can recover.

4 Ways You Can Help Your Friend Who Is an Addict

If you think your friend is struggling with addiction, here are four ways you can help.

1) Talk to them

Having a caring conversation with your friend can make a big difference. Let them know you’re worried about their health and want to help. Be sure to choose a time to talk privately and without interruptions. Showing you care and will support them can make them feel less alone and more understood.

2) Be supportive

Offer to go with them to appointments or meetings. Listen to them without judging or giving unwanted advice. Just being there for them, showing your support, and listening can provide a great deal of comfort. Your presence can make it easier for them to face their challenges and can give them the strength to seek the help they need.

3) Encourage professional help

Suggest that they talk to a doctor, or counselor, or join a support group. Professionals have the knowledge and experience to provide the right treatment and support. They can help your friend understand their addiction and develop a plan to overcome it. Encourage your friend to take this important step toward recovery.

4) Educate yourself

Take the time to learn more about addiction and how it affects people. Understanding what your friend is going through can help you offer better support. You can read books, look up information online, or even talk to professionals yourself to gain more knowledge. The more you know, the better you can help your friend in their journey to recovery.

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How to Compassionately Confront Someone About Addiction

Confronting a friend about their addiction needs to be done with care and understanding. Here’s how you can approach this difficult conversation:

  • Find a good time and place: Choose a moment when your friend is calm and not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Find a quiet and private place where you can talk without interruptions.
  • Express your concerns gently: Start the conversation by sharing how much you care about them. Use gentle language to explain why you are worried. For example, say, “I’ve noticed some changes that worry me, and I care about your health.”
  • Listen to their side: Give your friend a chance to speak and explain their feelings. Listen without interrupting and show that you understand their struggles. Sometimes just being heard can make a big difference.
  • Avoid blame and judgment: Focus on how their actions make you feel rather than accusing them. Instead of saying, “You have a problem,” try saying, “I’m worried because I see you struggling.”
  • Offer help and support: Let your friend know you want to help them get better. Mention some of the resources you’ve learned about and offer to help them find the right support. For example, “I can help you find a good counselor or support group.”
  • Be patient and understanding: Understand that they might not be ready to change right away. Be patient and continue to offer your support. Remind them that you are there for them when they are ready to take the next step.

By approaching the conversation with compassion and understanding, you can help your friend see they are not alone and that there is hope for recovery.

3 Resources to Help Combat Addiction

Here are three resources that can help you or a loved one fight addiction.

1) Support groups

Support groups like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) provide a safe space to share experiences and get support from others who understand what you’re going through. They meet regularly and can help you stay on track with your recovery.

2) Rehab centers

Rehab centers offer comprehensive treatment programs, including counseling and therapy, to help you overcome addiction. They provide a structured environment where you can focus on your recovery. Many rehab centers also offer MAT (medication-assisted treatment), which uses medications to help manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings.

3) Hotlines

Hotlines like the National Helpline (1-800-662-HELP) or Addiction Hotline (855-701-0479) offer immediate help, advice, and information about local treatment options. You can call these numbers anytime to get support and find the resources you need to start your recovery journey.

If you suspect your loved one may need addiction help, call 866.330.9449.

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Get Addiction Help for Your Loved One at Renaissance Recovery

Do you need help for a loved one battling drug addiction or alcohol addiction? If so, reach out to Renaissance Recovery today. We have luxury beachside rehabs in California and Florida where your friend or family member can begin their recovery.

We can recommend medical detox centers for those who need help with drug or alcohol withdrawal. After detox, your loved one can move into an ongoing outpatient program at Renaissance. This lets them continue at home, work, and school while attending weekday therapy sessions.

All addictions are different, so your loved one can access personalized therapies, such as:

Call our recovery experts today to begin treatment at 866.330.9449.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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