Get help today 888-287-0471 or sign up for 24/7 text support.
American Addiction Centers National Rehabs Directory

How to Help an Addict or Alcoholic Girlfriend

Determining how to help an addicted girlfriend poses a number of challenges for many supportive partners. Drug and alcohol addiction can dramatically reduce the social, behavioral and mental abilities of sufferers. This often leads to addicts pushing friends, family and partners away when assistance is most needed. Addicts may become reclusive and avoid contact with peers when abusing alcohol or drugs. Those suffering the effects of drug or alcohol addiction often fail to realize they have a problem, and few know how to respond when they do accept that fact. Long-term risks associated with drug and alcohol abuse include:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • Lung disease
  • Mental disorders
  • Stroke

“Drug and alcohol addiction can dramatically reduce the social, behavioral and mental abilities of sufferers.”

Planning an Intervention

Overcoming denial poses the first challenge when you are trying to help a girlfriend who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. Intervention options run from sitting down to a private dinner to discuss the problem to full-blown family involvement and surprise tactics. Carefully gauge the temperament of your partner and how she might respond in such situations. Many sufferers may be ashamed of the situation and prefer a quieter intervention with only a partner or close friends. An intervention should help an addict realize the extent of her problem. She may not realize how having an addicted girlfriend has affected your life. Take care not to cajole, shame or threaten your partner during this time. It is most important that she comes to accept the realization of her addiction and how it affects you and other loved ones.

Finding the Right Treatment Center

“Treatment centers address many of the steps needed to overcome addiction, but the support of loved ones is paramount.”
The next step is to find a suitable treatment center to assist when a sufferer comes to grips with the extent of the addiction. Professional treatment centers come in many different forms and the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that there are over 13,000 different options available in the United States alone. This can make treatment options appear to be a daunting task for those looking for information on how to help an addicted girlfriend. Inpatient services at hospitals allow doctors to oversee the often difficult withdrawal and detoxification periods for dangerous drugs or severe alcohol abuse, and outpatient services or support centers allow meetings with other sufferers for support and the sharing of specialized knowledge.

The Importance of Consistent Support

Treatment centers address many of the steps needed to overcome addiction, but the support of loved ones is paramount. This support should extend through the treatment process and last for years beyond that period of time. Support is a key component in the process of how to help an addicted girlfriend. Support can come from many sources, including the love of a partner, friends, family and religious institutions. Talk with the other people in your girlfriend’s life and ask for their continued support through the treatment and recovery process.

What to Consider Before Getting Help

addict girlfriend Identifying a single addiction may not get to the roots of the problem. According to researchers at the University of Michigan, alcohol abusers are 18 times more likely to abuse other drugs. More than one addiction may have affected the life of your loved one. Speak with treatment center doctors, nurses and support staff about the possibilities of dual addiction and options for addiction treatment if you suspect problems related to this condition.

Other underlying challenges may include psychological problems, social dependencies and similar conditions that change the social behavior and mental abilities of your girlfriend. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that over 8.9 million people have both substance abuse and mental health disorders. Most treatment centers screen for these problems and offer assistance or referrals to trained professionals skilled in dealing with related conditions. For more information on how to help an addicted girlfriend overcome these challenges, call our 24-hour helpline at .


Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.