The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) believes that about 20 million Americans have used an illegal drug within the past month. However, there are no exact statistics on how many millions of family members are affected by this rampant substance abuse. Helping a loved one, who is struggling with substance abuse, can be challenging and stressful. Below introduces six tips to help a loved one deal with their substance abuse problem.

Self-Education
The first step in helping your loved one is to educate yourself about the facts. Drug addicts may rely on erroneous ideas or false facts to excuse their behavior. For example, many marijuana users claim that marijuana is safe without any harmful side effects. However, marijuana causes harmful health side effects and contains at least 50 percent more carcinogens than tobacco.

Communicate
Talking about a substance abuse problem is a serious and sensitive matter. Ask the person’s permission to discuss the issue, refrain from being judgmental and express your love and concern. Be sure to emphasize how concerned for their well-being and ask how you can help them. Avoid preaching or lecturing.

Be Prepared
Your attempts to reach out to your loved one may result in anger, denial and excuses. Accept that your loved one may reject or ignore your pleas for treatment. While the focus should be on providing support, be prepared to set consequences for specific, unsafe behaviors. For example, if the loved one has children, there must be clear expectations about safety.

Follow-Up
Substance abuse treatment can be a lifelong process that takes a lot of patience, understanding and follow up. Be sure to regularly check in with your loved one to find out about their progress and uncover any problems they are experiencing.

Intervention
Certain family members who are struggling with substance abuse may be resistant or hostile to help or seeking treatment. If necessary, consider staging an intervention with the help of a professional counselor, social worker or doctor. Be sure to carefully plan, involve key family members and focus on expressing sincere concern and love.

Encourage Professional Treatment
One of the best ways to help a loved one overcome their substance abuse problem is through professional treatment. Outpatient and residential programs like Focus Treatment Centers are staffed with professionals who can assist your loved one through every step of the recovery process. Treatment facilities offer structure, resources and constant support.

While helping a loved one deal with a substance abuse problem is difficult, there are helpful techniques and resources available. Be sure to educate yourself on the facts about drugs and substance abuse. Communicate with your loved one and be prepared to take action through regular follow ups. If necessary, consider staging an intervention. For serious addictions, check your loved one into a treatment facility.

Author's Bio: 

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn't on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on twitter: @RachelleWilber