If you’re thinking about asking for help with drug or alcohol addiction, congratulations! It’s a significant step toward getting your life on track from a chronic disease.
Addiction is a long-term brain disorder. Some experts also call it a severe “substance use disorder.” By either name, it’s a health problem millions in the U.S. have. You’ve probably heard how it can damage your health, hurt relationships, or even lead to death.
Treatment can help you recover from addiction, though. And even if you’re not ready for treatment, you can begin your journey to recovery by making a brave choice: deciding to reach out to somebody for help. Here are some people you can consider talking to to get your needed support.
How Can You Prepare to Ask a Loved One for Help?
Like a parent or sibling, A close family member could be one of your biggest supporters as you try to recover. If you decide to tell them you have a drug or alcohol use disorder, know that they might react in a variety of ways. There’s a chance they could respond negatively, expressing emotions like shock, shame, confusion, or anger.
The thought of that happening could seem scary. But if your family member does have an adverse reaction, it doesn’t mean they’re judging you -- even if it seems that way. They might just be worried about your drug or alcohol misuse itself and how it’s taking a toll on your health or life.
You could let them know that you’re asking them for help because your goal is to stop using drugs or alcohol safely. You could also let them know that top experts say addiction is a medical condition -- not a sign of weakness or a flaw that people overcome with willpower alone.
It’s also possible that your family members might not be surprised when you tell them about your substance use disorder. They may have seen possible signs of your challenges already since addiction can cause symptoms like:
Changes in your mood (such as anxiousness, grouchiness, or sadness)
Spending less time with people who care about you
Trouble at school, work, or home
Losing interest in your favorite hobbies
Acting out in ways that could hurt your health
Even if your loved one doesn’t react as initially hoped, they might still give you their full support as you try to recover.
Still, if you don’t feel comfortable asking someone close to you for help, there are other people you can reach out to.
Can You Ask a Doctor for Help?
Yes. If you have a regular doctor, ask them if they’re comfortable talking about substance use disorders and treatment. If they’re not, have them refer you to a doctor who is open to discussing it.
You could also get help from an addiction specialist. That’s a board-certified doctor or psychiatrist who specializes in caring for people with addictions. You can find out if there’s one in your area by checking the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s physician directory. You can also search the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry’s physician locator.
You could ask your doctor or an addiction specialist questions like:
How can I stop or cut back on using drugs or drinking alcohol?
What type of treatment might be right for me?
Once I get treatment, what can I do to avoid using drugs or drinking again?
Are there community resources that could help me once I’m in recovery?
In general, get a checkup from a doctor if you:
Can’t stop using a drug or drinking alcohol
Keep using it even though it’s causing you harm
Have done risky things like sharing needles or having unsafe sex
Think you’re having symptoms of withdrawal after you stop using drugs or drinking
Call 911 right away if you’ve taken drugs and:
Think you’ve overdosed
Feel like you might pass out
Have trouble breathing
Have seizures or convulsions (shaking)
Feel chest pain, pressure, or other possible symptoms of a heart attack
Have any other symptoms that worry you
Who Else Can You Ask for Help?
If you’d prefer to talk to someone other than a relative or a doctor, consider confiding in a close friend. You could also open up to a trusted teacher, professor, or guidance counselor if you’re still in school or a spiritual or faith leader if you know one.
Another option is to call a helpline. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a national line that’s free, confidential, and available around the clock at 1-800-662-4357. It doesn’t offer counseling, but it does connect you with a trained specialist who can refer you to local treatment centers, support groups, and community-based groups.
If you’ve had thoughts about taking your own life, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It offers support that’s free, confidential, and available 24/7.
Call Another Solution if you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety, depression, substance abuse, or addiction and need help. Our non-profit organization offers free clinical evaluations and case management services to individuals and families who need them.
ANOTHER SOLUTION has helped others find successful long-term recovery for over 25 years.
WE KNOW RECOVERY.
For Help, Call: 972-669-8395
Another Solution-The Missing Link to Long-term Sobriety
Data Reference: Evan Starkman
Medically Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, D.O., on May 03, 2022