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How to Approach a Loved One Struggling with Chemical Dependency

Updated on

For many, there’s nothing worse than watching a loved one struggling with chemical dependency. You may want to help them, but not know the best approach. This is particularly true when addiction is clearly “off limits” every time you try to talk to them about getting help. So how do you approach a loved one about their drug use?

Signs That It Is Time to Talk with Your Loved One About Chemical Dependency

Many people suspect that a relative or friend may be using drugs or alcohol, but can’t be quite sure. This is because people engaged in substance abuse are masters of hiding much of their drug use and associated behaviors. However, there are ways to confirm that your loved one has a problem. Some of these include physical and behavioral signs.

Physical Signs of Dependency on Drugs or Alcohol

  • Bloodshot or glazed eyes
  • Rapid weight change
  • Constricted or dilated pupils
  • Bruises or infections at injection areas if they’re using an injectable drug
  • Sleep pattern changes
  • Worsening personal hygiene or grooming
  • Greater occurrence of illness

Behavioral Problems of Substance Abuse

  • Irritability or aggression
  • Personality changes
  • Attitude changes
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Changes in social connections
  • Financial problems
  • Changes in priorities or routine
  • Criminal activities

How to Talk to Your Loved One About Chemical Dependency

When you’re firm in your belief that your loved one is engaged in substance abuse, you should plan to have a conversation with them about the problem. There are some tips for having this type of talk:

  • Talk to your loved one when they’re sober.
  • Remain calm. Don’t lose your temper and don’t participate in attempts to frustrate you. Remember that you’re not looking for an argument, but to help.
  • Do not speak judgmentally or judge your loved one for their drug or alcohol use. Remember your relative is suffering from a legitimate medical disease. Abusing a substance no longer feels like a choice.
  • Speak honestly about what you’re feeling and how the use is affecting you.
  • If your talk isn’t productive, consider planning an intervention with the help of a quality rehab program.

Recovery Connection Will Help You Find the Treatment Your Loved One Needs

When you’re ready to urge your loved one into the treatment they need for drug or alcohol dependency, Recovery Connection can help. At Recovery Connection, we refer patients and their families toward rehabs that include dual diagnosis treatment and other services for the best chance of recovery.

Sadly, about 8.5 people out of every 10 who need chemical abuse treatment don’t receive the help they need, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. With your help, the person you love can avoid becoming one more person on the downside of this sad statistic.

Call Recovery Connection now at 866-812-8231 to start forming a team behind you, as you seek to help your loved one recover from dependency.


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    Our mission is to offer a safe, non-triggering, recovery-focused resource for anyone who has struggled with addiction or has helped someone who struggled. We aim to provide articles that help bring awareness to addiction as a disease and honor the recovery process through insightful and motivating topics. Together, we can all work to inspire each other and bring thoughtfulness and truth to the recovery journey.

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