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The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines addiction as “a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence.” Substance use disorder (SUD), also known as addiction, is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic brain disorder. The typical treatment process for substance use disorder is comprised of three stages, in sequential order: the detox stage, formal treatment program (rehab), and aftercare. Still, there are ways to help an individual struggling with addiction that is averse to rehab. If attending a formal addiction treatment program seems to be off the table, you can try the following suggestions to help an addict without rehab:

  • 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.
  • Encourage them to exercise or engage in movement regularly: The Academy of Neurological Therapy asserts that “exercise has been shown to help improve and prevent many conditions, including weight management, stress levels, emotional regulation/ mood, memory, attention, strength, endurance, balance, flexibility, and blood pressure regulation.” 
  • Help them avoid boredom: Supporting an addiction can be incredibly time-consuming. All that time that was previously used to accommodate satisfying one’s drug cravings is suddenly free, and if the new free time is not intentionally occupied (e.g., staying busy with new activities, hobbies, volunteer work, etc.), many will spend the newfound free time convincing themselves to use again.
  • Help them stay social: Studies show that humans are happier when they have a strong social network that includes positive, long-term relationships. Creating a healthy circle of friends can be uplifting and inspirational during one’s journey through recovery. Many individuals in recovery will have experienced relationships that were damaged during their time of active substance abuse, and it is essential for an individual to learn to foster and nurture healthy friendships in sobriety. Maintaining a sober and healthy social life can be very helpful to one’s recovery. Having friends with like-minded goals can create a fantastic network of support.
  • Consult a trained mental health clinician and/ or an addiction specialist: There is 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—ask one of them for guidance.

Typically, the most effective way to support an addict is to help them come to the realization that their recovery process would benefit greatly from attending treatment and to help them reach a place where they are willing to accept help.

For Information and Support

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long-lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at admissions@hhtxc.com.