How to Help An Addict Who Doesn’t Want Help: Yes, There’s Still Hope


It’s not a secret, millions are suffering from addiction to drugs and alcohol. However, 23.5 million people in the U.S. are also in recovery from addiction, today.

If your loved one is impacted by some type of substance addiction, its vital that you focus on their recovery potential. This is especially important because many addicts have a tendency to refuse help.

There are lots of strategies you can employ to help someone who is resistant to change. Read on to learn how to help an addict who doesn’t want help.

Recognizing Signs of Addiction

In order to help an addict who doesn’t seem to want help, you first need to spot the signs that someone is living with addiction.

A few of the common signs you need to be on the lookout for include the following.

Changes in Behavior

Changes in behavior are highly common when an individual is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction. Some behavior changes that typically occur include:

  • Obsession: Their main priority may become gaining access to their drug of choice, and they may ignore other responsibilities as a result
  • Denial: They may deny that their using drugs or alcohol at all, or they may hide their drug of choice from friends and family
  • Disregard of the harm they cause: They may refuse to acknowledge when they have done something wrong or hurt someone they love

Your loved one may also exhibit a general lack of control. They may say they want to stop using drugs or consuming alcohol, but they may appear to be unable to do so.

Physical Changes

It’s also common to see changes in your loved one’s physical health and appearance. Some specific changes you might notice include:

  • Changes in pupil size (they may be small or enlarged)
  • Sudden, unexplained changes in weight (loss or gain)
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Unusual body odors
  • Poor balance and coordination
  • A generally unkempt appearance

They may also exhibit physical withdrawal symptoms, such as sweating, shakiness, nausea, or changes in appetite.

Psychological Changes

Finally, individuals who are struggling with addiction might also experience psychological changes, including the following:

  • Mood swings
  • Changes in personality
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Isolation and social withdrawal

They might also experience a lack of motivation or suddenly lose interest in activities they used to enjoy.

How to Help an Addict Who Doesn’t Want Help

If someone in your life is exhibiting signs of addiction but refuse to get help, consider implementing some of these strategies.

They can help you provide assistance to your loved one and encourage them to seek treatment without being overbearing or pushing them away.

Set Boundaries

If your loved one refuses to seek treatment for their addiction, that’s their right. But, that doesn’t mean you should continue enabling them.

Set clear boundaries and stick to them, even when it’s difficult to do so.

What does this mean, exactly?

It might mean refusing to give them money when they ask or refusing to let them stay with you. It might also mean refusing to cover for them when they miss work, school, or family events.

If you keep making it easy for your loved one to continue in their addiction, it’s going to be harder for them to see why they should stop.

Allow Them to Experience Consequences

It can be hard to see someone you love hurting or struggling. But, you have to maintain the boundaries you’ve set for them and allow them to experience the consequences of their actions.

Maybe they’ll lose their job or get suspended because you didn’t cover for them. Maybe they won’t be able to procure more drugs or alcohol because you didn’t lend them money.

Whatever the consequences are, they must experience them without you intervening.

Consider Staging an Intervention

Your loved one might not listen to you alone when you encourage them to seek help, but they might be more willing to listen to a group of people.

You might want to consider staging an intervention instead of addressing them one-on-one.

An intervention is a type of meeting in which a group of people who all have your loved one’s best interests in mind work together to encourage them to get help.

An intervention forces your loved one to confront their behavior and see the impact it has on those around them. It can be more powerful than having just one person speak to them at a time.

Prepare for Negative Reactions

When you set boundaries or stage an intervention, you can expect some unpleasant reactions from your loved one.

It’s naive to assume that they’re going to respond well to being cut off of confronted with a group of people about their addiction.

Steel yourself for anger, resentment, or the silent treatment. But, also remember that the things your loved one says to you are likely not a reflection of how they really feel.

They’re being ruled by their addiction and are trying to get a rise out of you or convince you to let up on the boundaries you’ve set.

Find Help for Yourself

Finally, remember to find help for yourself, too. Join a support group or an online community for people whose loved ones are dealing with addiction.

If you take time to prioritize yourself and your mental health, you’ll be in a better position to help your loved one when they need you the most.

Start Helping Your Loved One Today

As you can see, the process of figuring out how to help an addict who doesn’t want help isn’t exactly easy. But, it’s definitely worth it.

If your loved one changes their mind and decides that they do want to give up their addiction, it’s important to have information on recovery programs ready for them.

If you live in or around the Tucson, Arizona area, contact us at Recovery in Motion today.

We’ll provide you with plenty of information about our programs so your loved one can make an informed decision about their recovery.


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