Signs that a Loved One Might Need Addiction Treatment

Family worry

One of the most difficult things a person can go through is watching someone they love struggle with addiction. Sometimes it can be hard to know when it is time for a person to go into treatment. Some good guidelines when considering sending a family member to treatment for their substance abuse are:

1. They’ve tried to get sober on their own without being successful.

If someone you love is constantly trying to get sober on their own and then continually relapsing it may be a good idea for them to get professional help. Without addressing the underlying causes of the addiction or learning new coping skills it can be extremely difficult for someone to achieve long-term sobriety.

2. They are experiencing health problems from their drinking or drug use.

It is no secret that hard drinking and drug use can and very often does lead to health problems. Whether it be some form of liver failure from alcohol or Hepatitis C from sharing needles the list can go on and on. If someone is starting to experience these sort of health problems yet continues to drink or use then it is highly likely that they need some professional help before things continue to get worse.

3. They lie or minimize their drug or alcohol use.

People who are able to drink in moderation do not feel the need to lie about their drinking patterns. When people being to lie about how much they drink or if they are using drugs it is because part of them knows that they have a problem and don’t want other people to find out about it. If you begin catching a person lying about how much they are drinking or using then it is a clear indicator that the problem is much bigger than they would lead you to believe.

Police talking with drugged driver

4. They have experienced legal problems because of their drinking or drug use.

When a person begins to get DUI’s and other legal charges from their drinking or drug use it is another clear indicator that they have a problem with substance abuse. When someone has the threat of doing jail time hanging over their head and they continue to use it becomes obvious that they have developed an addiction. For some people, the threat of a legal sentence is enough to get them to turn things around but usually not for someone who is addicted.

5. They have lost a job or are doing poorly in school.

It is hard to maintain a job or good grades when living on the roller coaster or being high and drunk and going through withdrawal or having hangovers. If an addiction progresses long enough then it will more than likely begin to affect a person’s job performance. If your loved one has lost their job or failed classes due to drinking or using then this is another sign that they need help.

6. They want to stop but are not sure how.

Most people do not want to live a life of addiction but at the same time, they may not know how to stop on their own. This is where it helps to have a professional or some form of support system to show the person how to begin to live a life of sobriety.

7. They use drugs or alcohol to cope with negative feelings.

This is perhaps one of the biggest red flags that a person may need professional help in order to learn how to deal with life’s problems in a healthy manner. If someone is constantly turning to drugs or alcohol as a means of coping with the stresses of their life then they are in desperate need of some form of treatment.

Man feeling pain from withdrawal

8. They experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking or using.

Anyone that experiences withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking or using drugs is more than just a casual user. If they were a casual user then their body would not be so used to having drugs or alcohol in their system that they began to have withdrawal symptoms when they stopped. Depending on the drug or amount of use the person may need medical assistance in order to remain safe during the process.

It is important to remember that everyone is different and just because someone does not exhibit all of these red flags does not mean that they may not need treatment. The ultimate indicator is the extent of control a substance has over a person’s life and the consequences it is creating.

Not everyone is going to be happy about being confronted about their substance abuse and there is usually a good chance that someone will become upset if you ask them to get treatment. While this may be an uncomfortable conversation to have it is important to remember that the reason you are confronting that person is that you care about them and do not want to stand by while they destroy their lives. When it comes to a person’s addiction recovery it is always better to be proactive than to not do anything at all.



After overcoming her own addiction in 2012 Julie went on to become certified as an addiction counselor in order to help others achieve a life of recovery. She worked in the addiction field for 8 years and now uses both her personal and professional experiences with addiction as an influence for her writing.