It’s always a tough experience to go through realizing that someone you’ve known for years and grown close to is battling an addiction with drugs. You want to say something but also worry about how they’ll respond and what could happen to the relationship.

Remember, at the end of the day the most important part of the equation is that your friend gets a kind push towards confronting their addiction. Certain personality types are also more prone to becoming addicted, giving you a heads up on which friends you should check in with if you notice the use of substances when they may have previously been sober.

Every Conversation Needs a Point

The initial conversation is always the hardest, which is why you need to make sure you have a specific point you want to make, whether it’s concern they need treatment or simply pointing out concerning habit and mood changes.

Understanding the causes of addiction can also help prepare you for the discussion, giving you a chance to try to think through recent events that happened prior to your friend’s transition to drug addiction. Traumatic events can often lead to abuse and eventually addiction as they turn a coping mechanism into a full-fledged dependency that can be physical, psychological or both.

Remember, They Are Still Your Friend

It can be hard to separate the symptoms of addiction from your friend’s regular attitude and personality. Behavioral changes such as mood swings, paranoia, self-isolation, anxiety and depression are some of the most common symptoms that impact how interactions are handled.

Even with a step-by-step guide to how to approach a loved one addicted to drugs, it’s an emotional and often high-pressure situation to navigate. When symptoms of addiction start having a physical impact, it can become even more difficult to remember the version of them you grew to love. Physical changes often present themselves as drastic weight change, alterations in their pupils or having bloodshot eyes, frequent nosebleeds or dried blood under their nose.

Work Towards a Solution

The conversation that must be had can be difficult to receive from your friend’s side. It often feels as though you are berating them on a mistake they’ve made that they’re typically aware of but perhaps not the full impact it’s had. Addiction can blind users to the side effects and strains it causes internally and externally.

Make sure you help your friend understand that it’s not too late to get help and that it’s all being brought up from a place of love and compassion for them. Look into local treatment facilities and rehab programs beforehand to understand how they work, equipping you with a follow up conversation if your friend is open to the idea.

One last tip for the conversation is to keep reminding them that you care. Stay away from pointing out more problem areas than necessary or assigning blame to them for something they did due to their addiction.

Lay out the facts and concerns, remind them throughout the conversation that you want to help and then follow up with them regularly either to check in or help them personally get through the journey to sobriety.