How to Help Someone with Heroin Addiction

When first making the discovery of a loved one using drugs, especially heroin, the feelings that arise range from confusion to powerlessness. It can feel overwhelming to understand what happened. The road to recovery can be long but it is possible. Learn how to help a loved one with addiction navigate the road back to health.

Hardest Step First

One of the hardest things to do is to work on one’s own personal emotions revolving around addiction. It is a difficult road but it is worth pursuing to find a better pathway towards healing.

Get past anger

Anger doesn’t lead to recovery and may actually make things worse. Family members want to do the right thing by pointing out family faults but once addiction is identified, the more guilt and shame is placed on the person with addiction. The person will likely turn more away from family towards addiction with too much shaming or anger so it is best to work through it, but how?


Learn as much about addiction as possible. There is no general description or concept for what heroin addiction looks like. It is important family and friends break away from the myths, misunderstandings and stigma surrounding addiction and learn the real truth. Through Al-Anon, internet and addiction it is possible to find out what addiction looks like and find a way to build a bridge from generalities to specifics for that loved one’s situation and come to an understanding.

Seek help

Learning to let go of control is key. The best thing a person can do to help a struggling loved one is to get to an Al-Anon meeting. The people can give specific advice on handling the situation and create tools which build healthy boundaries for the journey.

Seek expert advice

Withdrawal from heroin can cause extreme symptoms including restlessness, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting and more. It is wise to seek help from a treatment center or doctor. The longer a person has been using heroin, the more difficult sustained recovery can be. One way is to help break the cycle through intervention and there are many people out there able to help.

Recovery can be difficult and relapse is a common occurrence. Sustained recovery is achievable if a person can get past the anger, get educated and seek help for oneself. It is only after a person who seeks to help a loved one does so with the right tools and resources that real change can start to be effected for the individual impacted by addiction and the family as well.


Don’t be afraid of addiction. It is not easy to find out a loved one has addiction but it is possible to support an individual into recovery and long term sobriety. Call The Villa if you need help supporting a loved one with addiction.