If you or a loved one is in the depths of addiction and ready to get help, congratulations.
Acknowledging a problem is the first step in solving it. No matter the role addiction has played in your life, there’s hope on the other side.
You or your friend have several options once you’re ready to take the first step towards recovery. Not sure which path to take? Let’s explore a few below.
Talk to a Close Friend or Loved One
While there are signs and symptoms of addiction, the disease can also be silent.
Friends, family, and loved ones may or may not realize what’s happening. However, finding someone you trust to reach out to is a great first step in getting help.
You might find comfort in a parent, a friend, a teacher, a coach, or another person who can offer a safe space to listen and support you. Be prepared for any type of reaction once you open up—shock, sadness, anger, and fear are all normal emotions https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/addiction-asking-for-help when learning someone you care about is addicted to drugs (1). Remember that a negative reaction doesn’t always mean the person is judging you. He or she may just need time to process the news.
You can’t control anyone’s reaction. However, you can prepare them leading up to the conversation with phrases such as:
- “I need to tell you something. I’ve chosen you because I trust you with this information, and I need support.”
- “This is really hard for me to admit and talk about, and I would love your patience as I try to share this with you.”
- “I’m not sure what my next step is, but I’m ready to get help. I would love your support as I do this for myself.”
Call a Hotline
If you don’t feel comfortable opening up to someone, you can call a hotline dedicated to helping those struggling with addiction.
Substance Abuse Hotlines include:
- American Addiction Centers – This hotline is free and confidential. The person you connect with will guide you on where to start. Call the hotline at (866) 511-9772 or text for information on treatment options(2).
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This service is free, confidential, and available 24/7, 365 days per year. This hotline will refer you to treatment options and is available in English or Spanish. Call the hotline at 1-800-662-4357.
- HELP4WV. If you’re a West Virginia local, this hotline offers a 24/7 call, chat, and text line for immediate help with addiction or a mental health issue. Call or text with someone who can help at 844) 435•7498, chat online, https://m2.icarol.com/ConsumerRegistration.aspx?org=72331&pid=136&cc=en-US or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attend a Support Group
Meetings held through a professional drug and/or alcohol treatment program, church, or other community organization might offer social support in a group setting.
Many of the groups are confidential and will allow you to share as much or little about your situation as you want.
Online searches https://www.verywellmind.com/find-a-support-group-meeting-near-you-69433 will suggest several groups with a variety of philosophies, all aimed at supporting those struggling with substance abuse (3).
Find a Narcotics Anonymous meeting near you: https://www.na.org/meetingsearch/
Talk to Your Doctor
If you’re comfortable discussing addiction with your doctor, you can ask for guidance on what to do next.
You don’t have to wait to see your primary care provider, either. You can reach out to a psychiatrist or other mental health professional who can not only support you, but also connect you with resources you need to get sober.
Website to Find a Physician through the American Society of Addiction Medicine: https://www.asam.org/publications-resources/patient-resources/fad
Call 9-1-1 if Your Life is in Danger
If you feel your life is in danger, don’t wait to reach out. If you experience one or more of the following, get help now:
- Trouble breathing
- Have seizures or are shaking
- Have chest pain or symptoms of a heart attack
- Feel faint or dizzy
- Think you may have overdosed
- Thoughts of suicide of self-harm
About Game Changer
Created in 2018, GameChanger is a student-powered movement with focus on substance misuse prevention among youths. We connect students, educators, and communities with education, training, coaching, and support services to prevent opioid and other drug use before it starts.
Visit our resources to learn more.
- Starkman, Evan. WebMD. How to Ask for Help With Drug Addiction. 03 May 2022. Accessed from: https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/addiction-asking-for-help
- Keuma, Cassandra. American Addiction Centers. Alcohol and Drug Addiction Hotlines. 14 July 2022. Accessed from: https://americanaddictioncenters.org/rehab-guide/alcohol-drug-hotline
- T, Buddy. How Can I Find a Support Group Meeting Near Me? 01 September 2021. Accessed from: https://www.verywellmind.com/find-a-support-group-meeting-near-you-69433