How to Help a Loved One

How to Help a Loved One

If someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, you may wonder what you can do to help them. Here are the first steps.

How to Help Someone Who is Struggling

Addiction has devastating effects on individuals, families, friends, loved ones and communities. As a loved one reaching out for help, you have likely suffered from many of these effects – heartbreak, frustration, hopelessness and despair. You may be confused and not sure where to start. Below are some first steps family members can take in helping their loved one.

Comprehensive Assessment

Every person has unique needs. No single treatment approach works for all. Completing a thorough assessment and screening can significantly impact your ability to better understand your loved-one’s unique needs. Our staff can assist in that process anytime.

Appropriate Treatment Episode

Substance Use Disorders are complex brain disorders that require appropriate interventions and treatment planning in order to effectively manage. Matching each patient to a unique treatment plan is critical to long term success.

Continued Support

Because addiction is a chronic disease, those suffering face unique challenges. Creating comprehensive community support for each individual is critical for long term success. That is why, through our Recovery Care Advocates Program (RCA), every patient receives support for up to one-year post discharge from our in-house team of RCAs.

Family/Community Intervention

Addiction is a “family disease” because it impacts everyone close to the individual who is suffering. At Cumberland Heights, we believe lasting change is more likely when multiple members of the individual’s support structure participate in the healing process. Our organization provides family programming and support for all patients (e.g. multifamily groups, individual sessions, and general psychoeducation groups).

Deciding when Treatment is Needed

Identifying exactly when treatment is needed can seem complicated. Finding the appropriate resources to help make that decision can be even more difficult. We always encourage individuals and families to contact our staff to discuss their unique circumstance and how treatment could support their loved-one.

There is a lot of information available on this topic and we understand it can be overwhelming. We recommend you start with these questions.

  • Has your loved one been unable to cut down on use?
  • Have you observed visible changes in behavior and communication?
  • Are you able to discuss the substance or behavior of concern with your loved one?
  • Does your loved-one continue to use despite negative consequences?

The following can be used when considering which treatment system is right for your loved one.

  • Does the selected health system use evidence-based practices?
  • Is the selected health system in network with your insurance policy?
  • Can you locate scientifically valid outcomes highlighting treatment success associated with the health system?
  • Does the health system provide medication assisted treatments?
  1. National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP). (2019). The Addiction Treatment Provider Quality Assurance Guidebook.
  2. Recovery Research Institute (RRI), Massachusetts General Hospital. (2020). 11 Indicators of Quality Addiction Treatment. Retrieved from:
Get Help Today

Dealing with a loved one’s addiction can be an overwhelming process. You don’t have to do it alone. To get professional assistance or more information about treatment, call 800-646-9998.