As social beings, humans have a tendency to rely on one another for emotional support. When a loved one has to go through a challenging time managing their mental health or their disorder, simply being willing to support them could affect their progress.

Providing support is imperative in facilitating a smoother journey for a loved one’s road to recovering from mental health and/or substance use disorders. Hence, family members play a very vital role.

The key is to stay educated, the last thing anyone would want is to deal with the frustrating results of miscommunications. You can begin educating yourself on mental health disorders, addictions, and integrated treatment.

Not to mention that you can help them avoid relapse with the American Addiction Center.

You might be wondering, what is the integrated treatment? It refers to a treatment that addresses all disorders that are occurring simultaneously.

Essential Guide On How To Support A Loved One In Recovery

There are various ways and methods to efficiently

support the recovery of a loved one. 

Adhere To All Treatment Recommendations

Integrated treatments are often customized to suit each person’s needs and to address their co-occurring disorders.

You can keep an eye out for pharmacological treatment, individual and/or group therapy, vocational rehabilitation, family therapy, and case management in a treatment plan to ensure that it is comprehensive.

For example, take a look at rehabs in California to find out what services they offer.

It is essential for your loved one to continue these services, so you can definitely step in to provide support and assist them in following through.

Treatment plans can be challenging for your loved one to keep up with for a variety of reasons. They could lose track of appointments, feel dejected, experience a loss in drive, find certain services questionable, and invalidate one or both disorders. 

How can you help?

It is advised to provide support through keeping your loved one on track with all his/her prescribed medication, making sure they attend all scheduled appointments, listen to his/her concerns about medications, and working closely with the treatment team in order to learn how to address concerns your loved one might have. 

Keep Alcohol and Other Drugs Away 

The effects of drugs and alcohol on a person who has a mental health disorder can be direr as compared to a person without a disorder. They are very sensitive to even the smallest amounts, as it can worsen symptoms and cause relapses.

In cases of addiction disorders, people are unable to limit their drug or alcohol use which implies that their ability to control their usage is impossible.

Encouraging total abstinence from alcohol and drug use is your best bet on ensuring your loved one has a seamless recovery journey. 

You can play a part in supporting restraint from alcohol and drugs through firmly communicating that refraining from these substances is essential for recovery.

You can also avoid exposing your loved one to other alcohol or drug users or social situations where substance use would be apparent.

A good way to help your loved one cope is to help them build a social environment of sober people to establish a familiarity with sobriety and also encourage participation in recreational activities that do not involve alcohol or drug use. 

friends laughing over coffee

Provide Support During Tense Social Situations

Especially in family relationships, conflict and friction can be very stress-inducing for everyone. People with co-occurring disorders could relapse if they experience stress from family conflict or any type of tension in social situations.

You can ease tensions and provide social support to your loved one by maximizing constructive support and spending more time in positivity together. 

Champion Involvement In A Sober Network 

A peer support group could benefit those with co-occurring disorders, and encouraging them to participate is a good form of supporting their sobriety.

There are specific peer support organizations that cater to different disorders, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or co-occurring disorders like the Dual Recovery Anonymous (DRA). You can encourage your loved one to get involved in these groups by accompanying them to various meetings to see which one works best for them.

You could also try integrating your family’s schedule and lifestyle based on how the chosen peer group operates too could support your loved one.

This could also support the major shifts in lifestyle for your loved one and encourage them to form a sober peer network. By surrounding themselves with like-minded friends and building a safe, sober community for them, it can help ease them into familiarising a sober lifestyle.

This would also help them form more rewarding and lasting relationships. 

Encourage Participation in Meaningful, Structured Activities 

Through engaging your loved one in various personally meaningful activities, it could help provide a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives. This could also serve to help your loved one feel motivated to maintain his/her sobriety and mental health. 

It is also important to know what type of activities provide meaning for your loved one, encouraging your loved one to participate in work, school, or take up roles. This would encourage your loved one to develop personal goals and to achieve them. 

Identify Signs of Relapse

Relapses can potentially occur periodically, due to the nature of episodic mental health disorders and addiction. A relapse can be very disruptive to your loved one’s life and those around him/her.

Being able to identify the indicators can keep you prepared to help your loved one manage them more efficiently. 

As the indicators of relapse differ from person to person, it is important to observe and take note of what your loved one’s early warning signs are.

You can help minimize the degree of relapse through monitoring your loved one, developing a family plan to respond to a relapse, and consult treatment providers in constructing a relapse prevention plan.

make it happen and stay hopeful


At the end of the day, it is important to remember that family members play an important role in keeping their loved one optimistic about change and improvement.

Although it may be a challenging journey, the simple act of offering support is enough to encourage your loved one that he/she has the ability to live a rewarding life and achieve anything they want.

Staying positive in the face of adversity can be the exact motivation to keep your loved one’s perspective of life bright and worth pursuing. 

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