Help a Loved One Struggling with Addiction or Mental Health

In a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey, 90% of participants agreed the US is currently experiencing a mental health crisis. 50% of these adults also said they or someone in their family has experienced a recent mental health issue.

And statistics support these beliefs. Mental health issues, including addiction, are on the rise. It should be no wonder so many people want to know how to help an addict or individual with a mental health disorder.

It can be difficult to understand addiction and mental health issues if you do not struggle with them yourself. In this guide, we want to help change that, so you can offer your loved one the support they need and deserve.

Below, we outline our top seven tips to help someone struggling with mental health or addiction.

1. Express Your Concern — And Support

Did you know that having a strong support system predicts success after addiction? Studies show that having supportive friends and family members increases the likelihood of someone seeking treatment.

That’s not all, though. Feeling supported can also help people recovering from addiction stay clean for longer.

For these reasons and more, showcasing your concern and support for your loved one is critical. Tell them you are worried about them and care about their health and well-being.

These words alone could mean the difference between someone getting help and delaying treatment until it’s too late.

2. Educate Yourself and Others

Understanding of mental health and substance use disorders has come a long way. Yet, there are still stigmas surrounding the people who have them. You or people you know may fear or dislike people who struggle with these issues.

Educating yourself and others is the first step toward fighting these stigmas. Organizations like the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) are great places to start. You can also find resources on our blog.

3. Ask Questions and be a Good Listener

Even if you think you know everything about mental health and addiction, it is important to let your loved one speak for themself. Everyone’s subjective experience is different. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to mental health.

A great way to understand your loved one’s lived experience is to ask questions like the following:

  • Are you comfortable talking to me about what you’ve been going through? I’d like to understand what you’re feeling.
  • Are you getting help?
  • What can I do to help you get the support you need?

As important as it is to ask these questions in the first place, it is even more crucial to listen. Set aside time to talk when you have no distractions or obligations. That way, you give your loved one your full attention.

4. Provide Assistance With Important Tasks

Addiction and mental health issues can make performing even the simplest of daily tasks difficult. Conditions like depression can start to take a toll on a person’s hygiene and eating habits, which can exacerbate symptoms further.

Providing light assistance with these important activities can make a huge difference. This difference could be just what your loved one needs to have time to finally seek the addiction or mental health treatment they need.

5. Continue to Show Up — Even When They Aren’t Receptive

Pulling back is one of the biggest mistakes people make when their loved ones are struggling. For example, say you always invite your loved one to your home. They repeatedly reject your invitations, and you ultimately give up.

You may think your loved one just doesn’t want to spend time with you. But that may not be the case at all. Your persistence could be exactly what they need to remember that they are loved and supported.

At the same time, showing up for your loved one doesn’t have to mean enabling them, especially if they have a substance use disorder. The difference between enabling vs. helping comes down to accountability.

You can stop enabling an addict by holding him or her accountable for their actions and inactions. Do not shield your loved one from the consequences of their actions. Be direct and firm, and do not make excuses for them.

6. Treat Your Loved One With Compassion and Respect

In an attempt to avoid enabling, some people go too far in the other direction. It is perfectly understandable if you lose your temper, especially if your loved one refuses to get addiction or mental health help.

Do your best to continue showing your loved one compassion and respect. Addiction and mental health are diseases. Treat people suffering from them like would treat someone with a physical injury or illness.

7. Get Your Loved One the Help They Need

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how many conversations you have or how supportive and compassionate you are. Your loved one may still refuse to get help.

Unfortunately, this often happens in people with substance use disorders. The substance they abuse can change their brain chemistry, making them more impulsive and less likely to seek help.

Your loved one may not realize that their mental health issue or addiction is not just taking a toll on them. It’s also impacting your entire family. When this happens, it may be time for an intervention.

Learn more about the signs that it’s time to stage an intervention in this post from our blog. And when it’s time, you can connect your loved one to CWC Recovery in West Palm Beach. We offer treatment programs for mental health and addiction.

Learn How to Comprehensive Wellness Centers Can Help

Understanding how to help an addict or person with a mental health disorder may seem daunting. But with professional help, your loved one can get the treatment they need. And your family can get back on track.

Are you searching for addiction or mental health support in South Florida? CWC Recovery offers treatment programs for individuals and their families in Palm Beach. Learn more about our admissions process and enroll today.

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