Addiction is a really scary thing, and it can come in a lot of forms. Cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs are just the typical addictive substances, but people can be dependent on lots of other things, too.

Especially in college, it's really easy to say that someone who drinks or smokes everyday is just living the "college lifestyle", but that lifestyle can harbor addictive qualities in a person that could manifest itself throughout college and later in life, as well.

It can be hard to confront a friend or family member about an addiction, but it is important to help solve any problems right at the start, before that addiction spirals out of control. Here are some tips that can make supporting your loved one a little bit easier. 

beer, pizza, cake
Sophia Kolodzinski

Communication and Therapy

Therapy is EXTREMELY stigmatized, and it shouldn't be. Really, therapy serves as an outlet for so many people, and sometimes, talking really is the best medicine. When supporting your friend or family member with an addiction of some kind, it is always important to let that person speak and tell you how they're feeling.

There's nothing worse than feeling like your emotions don't matter, so let that person express themselves and destress by communicating with you. And, if it's appropriate and you're close enough to this friend or family member, encouraging that person to go to therapy or attend meetings can be an imperative step to helping them get on the road to recovery. 

College nights can be for staying in, too

In college, going out and partying is the norm. The work hard, play harder culture is definitely at play on university campuses all across the country, and that mentality can take a toll on people. If you have a friend suffering from addiction, convince him/her not to go out, but to instead stay in with you, watch a movie, get some extra homework done, or go to the mall.

You could even make non-alcoholic drinks with your friend and have a pseudo wine night. Especially if that person knows he/she shouldn't be going out, you'd be an awesome friend by staying in and being there for support. Everyone needs a friend, everyone needs somebody to lean on — *cue Lean on Me by Bill Withers*

Get Educated

The best way for you to support your friend or family member suffering from an addiction is to know what you're talking about. Sometimes, when situations get out of hand, you need to be able to sit that person down and confront them about their potential addiction.

Lots of times, that can be super uncomfortable because it might be too hard for that person to hear, or they might not believe it's true. The best thing you can do is provide that person with information and support, in order to help him/her get better.

Knowing about a substance abuse hotline and support groups in the area, as well as reading pamphlets, are pivotal to success. The more confident you are in your knowledge of addiction and of the person's recovery, the better off that person will be knowing you are at his/her side.

Also, you need to know that you are in this fight with the person actually suffering from addiction, and you have to be prepared and prepare the other person for the long haul. Addiction is not a quick fix, and it takes a lot of energy and focus to overcome it. Remind this person that he/she is strong and capable. You got this, they got this, we got this.