Emotional Wellbeing

Mandy Kloppers

How to help someone with drug addiction and depression

Two of the biggest illnesses in today’s society are drug addiction and depression. These problems often go hand in hand. Many people with depression use drugs to boost their mood and alleviate feelings of sadness. Unfortunately this often creates a vicious cycle. 


A person takes drugs or deals with their depression, but the drugs soon become a problem and this creates more depression – which results in them taking more drugs says Eric – owner of Anchored Recovery Detox in Orange County, California.. If someone you know is caught up in this cycle then how can you help them? Below are several things you can do to assist your friends or family members with these issues:

7 Ways to Help Someone With Drug Addiction and Depression

1. Start by reaching out to them

Many people with drug addiction and depression often find themselves completely isolated. They may also have an incredibly difficult time reaching out to other people, and also making and keeping plans. This means that you need to take the initiative and make contact with them. Call or visit the person, make plans with them, and also do your best to make sure they stick to the plans. People with drug problems can be extremely erratic, which means that doing this can be extremely difficult. But despite this you have to make the effort. 

2. Talk to them

Simply talking with a good friend can have a tremendous effect on their mental health. Good conversation is one of the easiest ways to boost someone’s mood, and talking about your problems is the first step to solving them. When talking to them avoid being judgemental, or criticizing them too much. Your role is to simply listen and allow them to express their emotions in a healthy way. 


That being said, your goal should be to eventually confront them about their issues. You need to get to the point where the two of you can talk openly and honestly about their problems with drug addiction and depression. Finally, you should try and come up with an ultimate solution to their issues. 

3. Spend time with them

This goes hand in hand with the above point. It’s not always necessary to have a deep conversation with the person, spending time with them can also help. A day out with one of your friends is the best antidepressant. 


In this case, you’ll want to find some fun activity that the two of you can do together. You could go for a drive, or visit the mall, or to the movies, or out for dinner or coffee. Whatever activity you choose, just make sure it’s something that will distract your friend from their problems. Also, if you’re going to do this you may want to avoid talking about their problems entirely. All you have to do is focus on having a good time with them. 

4. Provide support 

People with drug and depression issues are often completely helpless. They may have difficulty doing even the most basic things. You can help them with this. There are many different types of support which you can provide. On the most basic level this can mean providing a place to stay for the night, food, clothing, financial support, or helping them with chores


It could also mean helping them with whatever problems, difficulties, or challenges they have in their life. It can also mean  providing emotional or spiritual support. Another way to support them is by helping your friend with an intervention for drug and alcohol abuse. You could also find a therapist, counsellor, or rehab facility. 


While supporting someone with depression or drug addiction issues is a noble goal you have to be careful. It’s important to focus on your own life and needs first. Remember, you have to set boundaries and take care of yourself. Also, you do not want to put yourself in a position where the person becomes dependent on you, or an exploitative relationship develops. 

5. Educate yourself

It helps to know what you’re dealing with. If you’re really going to help your friend or loved one, then you need to know as much about their problem as possible. Read up on depression and drug addiction. Try to learn the symptoms, causes and solutions to these problems. Learn about the various types of treatment and how they can help people with these conditions. By doing this you can more easily talk to them about their issues, and also offer help. 

6. Take action 

If you truly care and want to help them, then there may be a point where you decide to take action. This can mean many things. You may want to confront your friend about their issues. It can also mean frogmarching them into rehab, organizing an intervention, physically preventing the person from taking drugs, getting them to see a counsellor, or taking medication. 


Just be careful when doing this. Many people are in denial about their problems and are not interested in getting help. Trying to force them to change could actually make their problems worse. They may end up cutting you out of their life or simply refusing to do anything about their issues. 


You should only take direct action if the person is totally out of control. Reserve this for times when you can see that the person is going to seriously damage their life or may soon reach a crises point (for example, if you suspect they are going to commit suicide, or may overdose).

7. Commit to the long haul

Accept that it may take a long time for them to overcome their issues. You need to be patient and accept this. In fact, it often takes years for people to deal with drug addiction and depression issues. All you can do is provide support as a friend and stay hopeful. 

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, what you need to realize is that change comes from within. There’s really nothing that you can do other than provide support. It’s up to the person to decide that they have had enough and that’s it’s time to change. When that day comes, only then you can do something to help them.


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