If you have been paying attention to the news, you will notice that abuse and addiction have become a global epidemic. In fact, it is estimated that 53 million or 19.4% of people 12 and over have used illegal drugs or misused prescription drugs within the last year. If alcohol and tobacco are included, 165 million or 60.2% of Americans aged 12 years or older have used drugs within the last 30 days.

While the US government understands that drug and alcohol addiction are problematic, the biggest problem arises when families of those struggling with addiction don’t know how to help. Below are 5 tips for helping those you love overcome addiction.

Educate Yourself

Thanks to the ever-changing information age, the internet has made it possible to have access to information at your fingertips. When helping someone around you fight addiction, it’s important to educate yourself.  Some great sources of education for addiction include but are not limited to the following sources:

These above sites provide information that will help you, as the caregiver and supporter, understand ways to support those struggling with addiction.

Have Realistic Expectations

Sometimes, knowledge is not enough to understand addiction. While you may want to desperately see your loved one freed from addiction, it’s important to remember that it’s a process. Having unrealistic expectations during the process sets you and your loved one up for failure. When you set expectations so high that they are unattainable, you cause yourself and the one struggling with addiction unneeded stress. Setting realistic expectations in addiction recovery helps you form a healthy framework to succeed.

Get Support

Watching someone you care about struggling with addiction isn’t the easiest thing to do, which is why we encourage that you also get support by visiting a local therapist or counselor. There are groups that can help you learn how to cope and provide additional resources.

Don’t Criticize

Addiction is tough, but remember that your job isn’t to criticize. Your job is to make sure your loved ones get the care they need and deserve. As a reminder, don’t preach or lecture to someone in addiction. If you feel the need to say something, focus on holding them accountable and offer to direct them to any treatment they may need. Continue to offer encouragement and remember not to enable but to always stay calm.

Seek Addiction Specialty Professionals

Addiction is not a solo journey. If you need help in getting your loved one specialty care, seek local professionals who are trained to help fight addiction. Contact SAMHSA today. Are you looking to learn more about how you can help those struggling with addiction?  Encourage your loved one to contact TROSA today.