When a friend or loved one is struggling with drug addiction, it’s sometimes challenging to know what to say in response. You want to offer encouragement, but also want to choose your words carefully. And frankly, it’s easy for well-intentioned people to mess up and say the wrong things.

Allow us to help. Here are a few things we’d recommend you not say around those with addiction. It’s not about being PC, but just about being sensitive, empathetic, and helpful.

The Wrongs Things to Say About Addiction

You don’t look/seem like a drug addict! The truth about addiction is that it’s a mental health condition, and can impact people regardless of race, age, or gender. There’s nobody who does or doesn’t “fit the profile” of addiction.

Why are you taking medications? Isn’t that just substituting one addiction for another? Many people with addiction also struggle with anxiety or depression, and some may need to be medicated for it. This is not the same thing as addiction, which is a disorder unto itself.

Why/how did you start using drugs or alcohol? This can be an intensely personal question, and your friend or loved one may not be ready to answer it yet. Don’t push; allow them to share their story when they’re ready.

But can you still drink/smoke? Your loved one wants to live a life of freedom and recovery. Just because their addiction was to heroin or cocaine, that doesn’t mean they want to use alcohol or nicotine. Be respectful of this.

But don’t you know that drugs are dangerous? Most addicts know fully well the risks they’re dealing with—but remember: Addiction isn’t a moral choice. It’s a mental health disorder, and the person with addiction is not in control of their actions.

Remember to choose your words with love and care—and to be sincere in offering your support to any friend or loved one who’s dealing with addiction.

Learn more about supporting recovery. Contact Beach City Detox today.