Monday, June 17, 2024

How Can I Help Someone With Alcohol Addiction

The Dos Of Living With An Alcoholic Partner

How to Help Someone with an Alcohol Addiction | Akhil Anand, MD

Whether you’re living with a functioing alcoholic, or someone with an alcohol dependancy, life can be physically and emotionally draining. Learning how to deal with an alcoholic spouse as well as looking after yourself can be stressful and often, support is needed to help manage. We have put together some recommendations on how to look after yourself and the other people living in your household.

  • DO try to maintain a level of normality throughout your days. Stick to a family routine, so go to work, eat meals, relax and go to bed at the same time every day
  • DO focus on yourself and the others in your household who are affected by your alcoholic partner. This should be your priority, so concentrate on yours and their physical and mental health
  • DO learn to step back. We understand that this is a really difficult thing to do, but if you try to step in and save the person every time there is an incident or issue, their alcohol addiction is likely to continue. They may need a crisis to happen in order for them to recognise that they need to change
  • DO seek outside support. It is important to have a trusted group of people who can listen and support you. As well as speaking with close friends and family members, think about joining a group like Al-Anon, where you get to speak to people who have had similar experiences with family members. Alternatively, you may want to try seeing a therapist, so that you can get the right level of support you need and are able to stay well

Consider The Craft Method

Don’t be surprised if your first attempt to talk to your loved one about their drinking is not effective. Even when your loved one is committed to changing, it can take several rounds of treatment before they truly stop. After the first attempt, the next step you might take is an intervention.

Rather than a traditional confrontational intervention as depicted in movies, many addiction experts are now recommending community reinforcement and family training as the preferred way to get a loved one help.

Studies show that CRAFT interventions have a success rate ranging from 64% to 74% when it comes to getting a loved one with a substance use disorder into treatment.

CRAFT provides concerned significant others with tools to:

  • Identify substance use triggers

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Adhere To A Formal Sleep/wake Schedule

Some of the more dangerous addictive behaviors often occur in the middle of the night. People with addictions can meet dealers, overdose, stumble home from parties or get into other situations that family members have to deal with. Its no surprise, then, that some families in the recovery process struggle with sleep. Parts of their brains are ready and waiting for the next nighttime crisis to arise.

Regular sleep loss can make the recovery process more difficult. For example, studies show that sleep deprivation is linked to a range of social and emotional problems, including depression, anxiety, social withdrawal and lack of motivation. Setting a consistent, adequate sleep schedule can help you get the rest you need to function your best and cope with the challenges of having a loved one with an addiction.

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American Addiction Centers Can Help is a subsidiary of American Addiction Centers , a leading provider in outpatient programs, drug and alcohol detox care and inpatient rehab programs. If you are struggling with addiction and considering detox or rehab, call our team for free to help you find the treatment you need. You can reach us at .

American Addiction Centers accepts many insurance plans and can work with you on a manageable payment plan. Find out if your insurance coverage includes addiction rehab and treatment by verifying your insurance instantly or visiting the links below:

Enlist People They Trust

Alcohol Abuse Chart

The nature of addiction is that many people tell themselves they dont have a problem, that they can handle it. They often dismiss the concerns of those closest to them. Sometimes it takes the words of a professional or someone on the outside for the right words to get through. For example, a physician or someone else they trust can have an impact.

If your addicted loved one refuses to believe their substance use is an issue, try to get them in for a regular checkup. Tell them if they dont think they have a problem, whats the harm in talking to someone? A physician can relay information in a factual way, removed from the emotions that a friend or family member may bring to these conversations. Theyll assess their physical health and talk to them about the long-term effects of their drug and alcohol abuse. They can speak in clear terms about whats considered normal and problem drinking and risk factors that come with it. A medical professional can tell them whether their drug or alcohol use qualifies as a substance use disorder diagnosis. They can also refer them to a mental health professional to diagnose potential co-occurring mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or personality disorders that can fuel drug and alcohol abuse.

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What To Say And What Not To Say

Talking about alcohol can be difficult so approach it with sensitivity and empathy. Think about how you would feel if a friend or loved one started a conversation with you about your drinking.

Choose a safe and comfortable place for the conversation, and use positive, supportive language.

These phrases may help you:

  • “I’ve noticed that you aren’t so positive since you’ve been drinking more. This isn’t the kind of person I know you to be. I’m not bringing it up to upset you, but because I’m concerned.”
  • “I feel sad that we dont do X, Y or Z anymore because it meant we had quality time together.”
  • “I thought it was great when you were going to yoga/football/your night class etc.”
  • What are the things that make you drink more?

Avoid criticism, making judgements and using labels such as “alcoholic”. Try to keep questions open, such as, “I’ve noticed X, Y or Z, what do you think?” rather than “don’t you think you have a problem?”

Completing the Drinkaware Unit and Calorie Calculator together could be a good way to start a conversation about how much you both drink.

The Benefits Of Taking Action Early

Movies, books, and magazines often portray people who hit bottom before they can be helped. However, this representation is a myth. People do not need to bottom out to be helped. Research shows that early identification of the problem is a much more effective solution for substance use problems.

Early identification occurs at the first signs of a problem before anyone has suffered a traumatic event, dropped out of school, or lost important relationships, jobs, health, or self-respect.

Identification can be done through a health care professional screening, employee assistance professional, or family member. What happens after the screening depends on the results of the test. Some people can learn to cut back, while some need further assessment and possible treatment.

In general, all people are better equipped to work on recovery if their substance use problem is discovered and confronted early on. Treatment in the early stages of a substance use disorder is likely to be less intense, less disruptive, and cause less anxiety.

Waiting for people to ask for help is a risky strategy. Without help, family members can expect crises like arrests, medical emergencies, loss of job, public embarrassment, and even death.

Some people find that when they seek help for themselves, the person struggling with addiction gets angry. This may be perhaps because the efforts represent a loss of control. Also, getting help signals that you are serious about changing the situation.

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When All Else Fails Dont Use Guilt

Its very easy to mix up the thought of an ultimatum, and lecturing or guilting an addicted individual into ceasing their vice usage. Under no circumstances should you attempt to guilt them into quitting their addiction. Phrases like How could you do this to me, or anything that will garner guilt and/or shame from the individual is a surefire no-go.

What Can I Do

How to Stop Drinking Alcohol and Save Your Liver

If you’re living with a parent who has a substance use problem, you might be having a tough time. Reach out to others for safety, help, and support. Here are some things to do:

Open up to someone. Talk to a good friend. Also talk to an adult you trust. For example, a teacher, school counselor, doctor, therapist, or relative. Let them know what you’re going through. It can be a relief to share what it’s like for you. And they may be able to help you in other ways.

Know that it’s not your fault. Some people blame themselves for their parent’s substance use. They may think about times when a parent was angry or blamed them. They may wonder if they caused a parent to drink or use drugs. But kids can’t cause a parent’s substance problem.

Know and name your emotions. Don’t bury your feelings or pretend that everything’s OK. Notice how a parent’s substance problem makes you feel. It’s OK to feel the way you do. Use words to express how you feel and why.

Find a support group. Find a group like Al-Anon/Alateen or go online for help. Join a support group. Talking with others who are going through the same thing can help you cope.

Find a safe place. Do you avoid home as much as possible? Are you thinking about running away? If you feel you’re not safe at home, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 799-SAFE. If you think you or another family member could be in danger, call 911.

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They Dont Seem Intoxicated

A person with AUD will often show no signs of intoxication after consuming a large amount of alcohol. Thats because, over time, frequent alcohol use can lead to tolerance, meaning you need more and more alcohol to feel its effects. Some people may fit into the category of a functional alcohol use disorder, where they can conceal their addiction and go unnoticed due to a higher tolerance.

What Is The Goal Of An Intervention

Total abstinence from alcohol is not always the goal of an intervention or treatment process. Some people will be able to learn selective drinking behaviors and remove themselves from an alcohol abuse cycle. However, giving up alcohol for good and accepting a life of sobriety is the only way some people are able to move past addiction. For each person, a team of doctors and therapists will decide the best course of treatment and the desired outcome.

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Meet With A Person Who Has Successfully Quit

You can fix a meeting with someone who has quit drinking. You can approach them to meet with your loved ones to share some ideas, views, and ways to quit drinking.

Ask them to tell about their previous experiences before drinking and what they experienced after stopping the usage of alcohol.

This step can bring a major change in the mind of your loved ones.

How To Help Someone Stop Drinking

Recovery from Addiction Is Possible With Your Help

Alcohol abuse and addiction doesn’t just affect the person drinkingit affects their families and loved ones, too. Watching a family member struggle with a drinking problem can be as heartbreakingly painful as it is frustrating. But while you can’t do the hard work of overcoming addiction for your loved one, your love and support can play a crucial part in their long-term recovery.

Talk to the person about their drinking. Express your concerns in a caring way and encourage your friend or family member to get help. Try to remain neutral and don’t argue, lecture, accuse, or threaten.

Learn all you can about addiction. Research the kinds of treatment that are available and discuss these options with your friend or family member.

Take action. Consider staging a family meeting or an intervention, but don’t put yourself in a dangerous situation. Offer your support along each step of the recovery journey.

Don’t make excuses for your loved one’s behavior. The person with the drinking problem needs to take responsibility for their actions. Don’t lie or cover things up to protect someone from the consequences of their drinking.

Don’t blame yourself. You aren’t to blame for your loved one’s drinking problem and you can’t make them change.

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What Is The Typical Length Of Rehab In These Cases

How long a person will spend in treatment will depend not only on the jurisdiction of their state but how severe their addiction is. Depending on these factors, treatment may last anywhere between three days to a year.

While the length of treatment will vary based on where you or your loved one is located, most states will allow individuals to be recommitted or have their treatment period extended if it is found necessary by the court.

Signs Of An Alcohol Problem

Alcohol use disorder is a medical condition that doctors diagnose when a patients drinking causes distress or harm. The condition can range from mild to severe and is diagnosed when a patient answers yes to two or more of the following questions.

In the past year, have you:

If you have any of these symptoms, your drinking may already be a cause for concern. The more symptoms you have, the more urgent the need for change. A health professional can conduct a formal assessment of your symptoms to see if AUD is present. For an online assessment of your drinking pattern, go to

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Following A Few Guidelines Will Help You Have A Discussion:

If the problem has only occurred over a short period of time or has not reached a severe stage, it is possible that the adult you care about could successfully cut back on the use of alcohol or other drugs. If the person has not tried cutting back, you could suggest this strategy as a first step. Some people in the risky stages of substance use, or even in the early stage of addiction, are able to cut back and consistently use only minimal amounts in the future.

You may find, though as many do that people who can cut back are the exception, not the rule. Many people try to cut down and discover that they cant, or that they can only cut back for a few days or a few weeks before resuming heavy or excessive use. Trying to cut down and failing may help the person realize that the problem is more extensive than once thought.

You may also find that the person is able to stop completely. But many struggling with addiction have tried this strategy and couldnt stop or remain abstinent for a significant amount of time. Ideally, the person should be assessed by a professional who can determine the best course of action depending on the severity of the problem and the persons medical, psychological, and social history. If you sense the person is willing to consider that there is a problem, suggest that an evaluation or a consultation with a trusted medical or mental health professional.

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June 02, 2020Addiction

When someone that you love is struggling with addiction, it can also feel like a struggle to find ways to help. The truth of the matter is that recovery from drug addiction is usually a long and complicated journey. With the support of a loved one, it can become that much easier to begin the journey and see it through to the end.

If you dont have much experience with drug or alcohol addiction, the whole situation can quickly feel overwhelming. Instead of ignoring the situation or backing away because of the overwhelm, take the time to encourage them to identify their problem and seek a solution.

Are you trying to navigate the complexities of addiction by being a support system for a loved one? There are certain things you can do to provide the most help. Some things should be avoided for the best chance of recovery.

Below, were sharing how to help a loved one with a substance use addiction and a few things to avoid while supporting someone through it.

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Recognizing Drug Abuse In A Loved One

Its not always easy to recognize if a loved one is abusing drugs. In teens, for example, drug abuse can often resemble normal adolescent moodiness. Furthermore, theres no specific amount or frequency of use that indicates someones drug use has become a cause for concern. Whether your loved one is using every day or every month, its the adverse impact their drug abuse has on their life that indicates a problem.

Signs your loved one may have a substance use disorder include:

Experiencing problems at work, school, or home. They appear high more often, for example, and take more days away from work or school to compensate. Their work performance or school grades suffer, they neglect their responsibilities at home, and encounter more and more relationship difficulties. They may even lose their job, drop out of school, or separate from a long-term partner.

New health issues, such as changes in sleep schedule, often appearing fatigued or run-down, pronounced weight loss or weight gain, glassy or bloodshot eyes, and forgetfulness or other cognition problems. Depending on the type of drug theyre abusing, they may also exhibit frequent sniffing, nosebleeds, or shaking.

Recurring financial problems. Your loved one may run up credit card debt to support their drug use, seek loans, or ask to borrow money without any solid reason. They may even steal money or valuables to sell for drugs.

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