How To Help an Addict Who Resists Treatment

It is always hard to help someone unwilling to help themselves, but rest assured, there are ways to do it. They need a push onto the right path of recovery rather than tumbling down a dark alley deeper into their addiction. To help you figure out how to get an unwilling addict into treatment, here are the top tips on how to help an addict who resists treatment.

Admit It to Yourself

If you have denied the problem before even talking about it with the person involved, the situation will go downhill. Even for those who have gone down this path before, there is no getting used to that feeling of hopelessness and despair. These feelings will persist and get stronger if you do not handle them appropriately. Furthermore, feelings like these can directly impact the suffering addict. You admitting that there is a problem will set the example for the addict, helping them confront their problems.

Educate Yourself on Their Problem

One of the biggest mistakes that most make in these situations is not doing enough research on the problem at hand. Drug use is a heavily stigmatized area of conversation. As such, many of the things we think we know about drug use and abuse is wrong. As a leader, you owe it to yourself and the addicted person to educate yourself on the matter fully so that you can spend your time helping the addict instead of impeding them.

Decipher the Situation

If you can, try and decipher the whole situation at hand. This can lead to more effective treatment, assuming you can uncover what is causing the addiction. In a lot of cases of drug abuse, addiction is an indicator of a larger problem. In other cases, the addiction is the thing driving other issues. In either case, deciphering the situation can help lead them to a clearer plan of action and recovery.

Start With the Medical Approach to the Situation

When someone has an addiction, they can often downplay the physical aspects of their struggles. Having them visit a doctor who understands the situation can allow for the doctor to give guidance on what to do next. Not only this, but the doctor will likely explain in plain terms their health problems and can serve as a wake-up call for any addict. In some cases, the doctor may refer your loved one to an intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment program, while in others, they may refer them to counseling.

Stop Funding Their Addiction

One of the biggest mistakes that many make is they continue to fund the addiction of a loved one—often without realizing it. Remember that part of addiction is compulsive behavior. If you take away the source of income for an addict, they will likely not have anywhere to get money. Thus, they cannot get drugs to further their addiction. In these situations, it is important to keep close tabs on all the cash in the house.

Offer Support to Them

One of the most important things anyone can do for a person deep into addiction is lending a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen to their struggles. The person going through the addiction has probably isolated themselves or felt shunned by others for a long time. That is why, when you can do so, you should always lend your support and guidance. This will make the addicted individual feel like they are in a safe, supportive place and bolster their recovery efforts. Depending on the case and individual, support may look like a lot of things for different people. It could mean letting someone have space or providing constant supervision. As such, it is your responsibility to ask the addicted individual about what kind of support they need and how you can best provide it.

Never Use Guilt

One of the worst things you can do to someone who is going through an addiction is to use guilt to get them to stop their behavior. Unfortunately, many will not realize that they are guilting an addicted individual, as there is a fine line between an ultimatum and a guilt statement. When addressing the individual, take extra care in the statements that you make. For an addicted individual, many of the problems that you discuss are sensitive topics. That is why it is best to pay attention to what you say and how you say it.

Analyze Where You Are

If your efforts are starting to wear thin and all previous attempts have failed, you may need to analyze where you are in your effort to help your loved one with their addiction. Assess whether or not you feel you have given them enough attention and support. By taking a step back and looking at the last few weeks or months of events, you can tell whether your efforts are fruitful or if you need to take one more pass at the situation.


When all else fails, staging a real intervention (not one like you see on TV) and talking to the individual about their behavior and actions is one of the more effective ways of helping an addict who resists treatment. When you confront an addict with how their actions have hurt everyone around them, it can be one of the more impactful moments for them. It may cause emotional distress for not only them but for everyone involved. In fact, they may remember this moment as a pivotal one in their life. Treating it as such and taking a moment to get everything out on the table will help everyone involved and can help them take their first steps toward stopping their addictive behavior.

We hope that this article on how to help an addict who resists treatment has taught you how to handle situations such as these appropriately. Realize that these are pivotal moments in an addict’s life in every case, and you need to treat them with care. If you offer your support and love, you can help your loved one battle their addiction.

How To Help an Addict Who Resists Treatment

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