“How do I talk to someone about their addiction?” – A Psychotherapist shares the do’s and don’ts to dealing with addiction
It can be hard to know what to do when faced with a loved one’s addiction problem, but a Psychotherapist has shared a simple guide to help you through it.
With International Overdose Awareness Day (August 31st) coming up, trainee Integrative Psychotherapist Teodora Ghiur from SupportRoom wanted to share how you can talk to someone in your life about their addiction, and how you can support them.
The 3 key things to know when dealing with a loved one’s addiction problem
1. Addictive disorders are serious mental health conditions, and they affect not just the health and well-being of an individual but impact the lives of those around them too.
2. Discovering the news about a loved one’s addiction problem can be highly distressing and upsetting, and it’s normal to feel an intense range of emotions, from shock and anger to sadness, guilt and even betrayal.
3. Although this may upset you, it’s important to keep in mind that your reaction could worsen your relationship with the addicted person, so be mindful in your approach to supporting their journey.
The do’s and don’ts when talking about addiction
- Take some time to process the news and regulate your emotions
- Only approach the addicted person when you feel calm and able to control your emotions
- Be compassionate and empathetic with a friendly and non-judgmental tone
- Show kindness and reassure the person of your unconditional support
- Be ready to actively listen if they feel comfortable sharing details about their problem
- Keep things confidential, except for critical situations when their life might be in danger
- Show anger and resentment towards them
- Blame them for their problem
- Threaten them
- Use verbally aggressive words or say things that can upset your loved one
- Yell, raise your voice or become defensive
- Ask the addicted individual to talk about their problem if they’re not prepared to do so
- Force them into seeking support if they are not ready for it
- Offend, victimise, or ridicule them