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My friend is considering treatment but they are afraid of what others might think. What should I tell my friend?
Concerned Friend - Freedom From Addiction

My friend has considered treatment but is afraid of what others will think. What can I tell my friend?


Thank you for your question. It is not uncommon for someone to care what others think – many of us do. When it comes to substance use disorder, people who experience stigma are less likely to seek treatment.

While ignoring the opinions of others is easier said than done, if your friend is worried about what others will think, then he/she might never get better and have the opportunity to live the life he/she wants and feel good about it.

People will always find something to talk about or judge us for doing. Often, individuals who are abusing drugs or alcohol believe they are hiding it well. More often than not, that is not the case.

Talk to your friend about what he/she thinks people are saying now or what they might be thinking in the future or what might happen if he/she does not get the help they need. If you can help your friend focus on the good things about getting help and moving past caring about the response from others, then he/she will have a better chance at getting the help they need and being healthy.

Supporting your friend in weighing their options as well as the reality of what people may or may not currently be thinking is a good place to start. It is likely that your friend has other doubts and fears but putting it on what their friends will think is easier than acknowledging those.

Good luck and please let me know how it goes and if you need any other help throughout the process.

* All responses provided by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

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