Health Matters

How to be an ally in addiction recovery

Realize the challenges may be difficult


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Problematic drug and alcohol use causes serious harm to a person's health and relationships. Dr. Steven Starks, a psychiatrist and faculty at the Tillman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine talks about how families and friends can help.

“Decide whether you're willing to invest in both the successes and failures of recovery. The challenges of active use or relapse may be difficult for you. Establish your boundaries.”

  • If you enable behavior, find support through networks like Al-Anon or Nar Anon.
  • Watch your words! Stigmatizing language impacts success.
  • Recovery may not entail abstinence; reducing harms and negative health consequences may be the primary goal.

“It's appropriate to provide education on options like medications, support groups, rehab and outpatient treatment; However, avoid forceful coercion.”

“Finally, be aware that conditions like anxiety, depression and trauma-related disorders may be experienced by those with addiction.”

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