When Is It Time To Say Something
There is a fine line between the two and if the addicted person is refusing to admit that the problem exists, then it can be difficult to be sure. So how do you know if this person needs treatment? Is alcohol rehab required or would he or she simply benefit from cutting back on alcohol consumption?
You may have been watching someone you know, such as your mother or your father, struggling to control his or her alcohol consumption for some time. However, because of the stigma that is often attached to the topic of alcohol abuse and addiction, you might have been reluctant to say something thus far.
What you should know is that the affected individual might not be the best person to judge when his or her drinking is out of control. Alcohol can affect the area of the brain that is responsible for good decision making and logical thinking, so it is very likely that this person is unable to see what is obvious to you.
So when is it time to say something? Moreover, what should be said? If you believe that the person in question might have a problem, know that it is better to say something now than allowing the situation to deteriorate even further. Even if you are wrong, at least this person will know that you care, and the worst that could happen is that you hurt his or her feelings. If you are right, you will have brought the subject to light and will force the affected individual to at least address the possibility that help is needed.
Support Recovery As An Ongoing Process
Once your loved one decides to enter treatment, its essential that you remain involved. Continue supporting their participation in ongoing care, meetings and participate in support groups for families of addicts. Be the support system that they need, and show them that youll be there every step of the way.
Consider The Craft Method
If this first attempt is not effective, which it often isn’tin fact, even when your loved one is committed to changing, it can take several rounds of treatment before they truly stopthe 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. In fact, 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
- Break patterns that enable drinking or using
- Develop and improve communication skills
- Practice self-care and reconnect with their values
- Identify triggers for violence
- Develop a plan to keep themselves safe
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How To Help An Alcoholic Who Doesnt Want Help
If your loved one is struggling with addiction but refuses treatment, you might feel helpless, scared, and frustrated. Theres no magic formula for how to get someone to go to rehab. You cant force an adult to go to drug or alcohol addiction treatment, but there are some ways you can help them gain the motivation they need to go there willingly. Learn how to help an alcoholic that doesnt want help.
The Donts Of Talking To Your Alcoholic Partner About Their Drinking
- DONT talk to them when theyre drunk. They are unlikely to take in what you have to say and may become defensive and angry, making it an even more challenging situation
- DONT shout, judge or blame. This may understandably be very hard, because of the pain that they have put you through, but the person is likely grappling with a lot of fear and shame, so approaching the conversation in a negative way could cause them to retreat further away from you into their addiction
- DONT accept that you are the reason for their drinking or any requests for you to change your behaviour. An alcoholic partner may say that theyll cut down if you dont nag them, tell anyone or put pressure on them. Remember that this isnt your fault, and that the person would be battling with an alcohol problem whether or not they were with you
- DONT rush into coming up with a plan together and avoid having unrealistic expectations, even if they say that they are going to cut down or stop drinking. We understand that this can be difficult as you want this part of your life to be over. Instead, allow there to be a period of reflection after the conversation, and continue to express yourself openly and honestly. If they want to change, encourage them to take small steps, like getting in contact with their GP to discuss their options
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Supporting A Loved One After Treatment
After your loved one seeks professional help, they will need additional support after they leave the rehabilitation facility.Your loved one may attend peer support groups and therapy sessions for their AUD. They may need to stop spending time with people or at events where alcohol use is encouraged.
Aside from their professional treatment plan, your loved one will need support from you and their family to continue on the path to recovery.
Attend Therapy And Support Groups
Helping someone with AUD can be emotionally draining, and you want to make sure you are not putting your mental health at risk to support them. You may also want advice from a mental health professional who understands the complexities of addiction.
To protect your mental health, visit a therapist to process your emotions and discuss your experiences with your loved one. You can also join a support group for loved ones of alcoholics to learn from the experiences of others in similar situations.
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Dont Pass Judgment Or Shame
Making an addict feel more shame or lowering their self-esteem will do no good in a situation such as this. Remember, alcoholism is a disease. If you have not been through it, do your best not to make any judgments when someone you love is struggling with it. Not only do you not understand it firsthand, but you may also do more harm than good. Shaming an addict will only make them turn to what coats their emotions, which is likely drinking. The approach of judgment and shame does nobody good in the end.
What Do Parents Need To Know
When you have a child struggling with substance abuse, attempting to handle it on your own can be extremely overwhelming and can eventually become your first and only priority. It may also be difficult to take the first step because addressing the problem is disruptive of school and extracurricular activities.2 However, addiction is far more disruptive to your childs life in the end, and treatment can work. Taking the time now to get help can save your childs life.
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In The Event Of A Relapse
The current understanding of addiction as a disease means that symptoms will get worse at times. For people with diabetes or asthma, treatment will work for a period of time, and then symptoms may progress. This does not mean giving up instead, it means returning to the doctor and developing a new treatment regimen. Understanding addiction as a disease means treating relapse in exactly this way: Work to avoid it, but if it happens, return to treatment. Relapse is only a serious problem when the person who has fallen back into addiction refuses to admit the problem and refuses to get help.
When looking at treatment options, it is important to ask how the rehabilitation program handles relapse. Many programs pair new participants with sponsors who have graduated the program these people will understand the progression of recovery and serve as a source of support for the person if they are even tempted to relapse.
Friends and family should also be supportive if a loved one seems likely to relapse. Be there for the person without judgment and help them recommit to treatment.
Symptoms Of Drug Abuse
There are many signs both physical and behavioral that indicate drug use. Each drug has its own unique manifestations, and symptoms of abuse vary from drug to drug. However, some general signs that your loved one may be addicted to drugs include:
- Sudden change in behavior
- Problems at school or work
- Lack of energy or motivation
- Becoming careless about personal grooming
- Loss of interest in hobbies, sports and other favorite activities
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Sudden requests for money or a spike in spending habits
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use or addiction, The Recovery Village can help. Contact us today to learn more about addiction treatment programs that can work well for your needs.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.
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Getting Help With Alcohol Addiction
The first step to getting help for addiction is recognising the problem. If you think you might be addicted to alcohol, its important to visit your GP to talk about a referral to a psychologist or other specialist service.
Some of the services you can access for more information include:
Group therapy and drug therapy are other options.
ReachOut NextStep is a tool that will give you personalised tips and help, and will connect you to useful info and services.
How Alcohol Abuse Affects Family And Friends
Alcohol abuse and addiction doesnt just affect the person drinkingit affects their families and loved ones, too. Watching a friend or family member struggle with a drinking problem can be as heartbreakingly painful as it is frustrating. Your loved one may be disrupting family life by neglecting their responsibilities, getting into financial and legal difficulties, or mistreating or even abusing you and other family members.
Witnessing your loved ones drinking and the deterioration of your relationship can trigger many distressing emotions, including shame, fear, anger, and self-blame. Your loved ones addiction may even be so overwhelming that it seems easier to ignore it and pretend that nothing is wrong. But in the long run denying it will only bring more harm to you, your loved one with the problem, and the rest of your family.
Its important to remember that youre not alone in your struggle. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse affects millions of people, from every social class, race, background, and culture. But there is help available. While you cant do the hard work of overcoming addiction for your loved one, your patience, love, and support can play a crucial part in their long-term recovery. With these guidelines, you can help ease your loved ones suffering, preserve your own mental health and well-being, and restore calm and stability to your relationship and family life.
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Educate Yourself On Alcoholism
Learn to recognize the signs and effects of the addiction. Addiction Rehab Toronto offers many online resources to help you educate yourself. Learn as much as you can about the causes of alcohol addiction and how it can affect a persons life and their family. This will help you gain insight into what might have led your loved one to resort to alcohol and what could happen to your family if it wont be addressed.
Detox Vs Rehab Which Is Best
There are those who wonder whether detox or rehab is best for an alcoholic loved one or friend, but the reality is that both are usually required. A comprehensive recovery programme will include detox, rehabilitation, and aftercare statistics show that those who complete a detox without following on with a rehab programme are more likely to suffer a relapse at a later date.
Detox is designed to treat the physical addiction whereas rehab is used to help the addicted person overcome the psychological addiction and the emotional issues associated with it. Successful treatment for addiction entails a number of steps. It starts with detox and follows on with a rehabilitation that may include some or all the below:
Recovery should also include ongoing maintenance in the form of aftercare and follow-ups.
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Do: Seek Counseling Or Therapy
Addiction affects everyone, from the person in treatment to their loved ones. Its important to ensure youre well enough to manage the potential stress of helping someone dealing with addiction. Acknowledging that you may be in over your head and in need of professional help is normal and healthy. Its also necessary for you to help your loved one to the best of your abilities.
You Cant Fix The Problem Directly
Unless you are a licensed mental health professional, you should never try to fix your friend or loved ones substance use problem. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse , addictions are complex and chronic diseases that require medical intervention to overcome. You wouldnt try to cure a persons cancer or diabetes, and you shouldnt hope to cure their addiction either. The safety of your friend is not the only reason this is important, however, the potential guilt that can overcome you if you fail in getting them better can be hard to cope with. No matter what happens, you are never responsible for the outcome and with a disease like addiction that impacts so many parts of our lives, that is important to understand.
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Alcohol Dependence Can Contribute To Mental Health Problems
Anxiety, depression and suicidal feelings can all develop when youre alcohol dependent. This is because regular, heavy drinking interferes with neurotransmitters in our brains that are needed for good mental health.
Being dependent on alcohol can affect your relationships with your partner, family and friends. It might mean you dont perform so well at work and if that continues for any length of time you could face losing your job, leading to financial problems as well. These issues can also contribute to depression and anxiety. Alcohol can also make you more aggressive. If you use alcohol to try and improve your mood, you may be starting a vicious cycle.
If you think your mental health is suffering because of your drinking, but you feel youre not able to stop, ask for professional help. Start with a visit to your GP or by contacting one of the organisations listed at the end of this page.
How To Offer Support
There are many ways someone can support a person with AUD. These include:
- Do learn about AUD: The more someone learns about AUD, the more information they have to help someone with the condition.
- Do participate in self-care: Looking after a loved one with AUD can be challenging. If someone is supporting a person with AUD, they should also make sure to take care of themselves.
- Do participate in treatment with them: If the person with AUD agrees to treatment, they may find it supportive to have someone go with them.
- Do not put blame on a person with AUD: A person with AUD cannot control their alcohol use, and for that reason, it is not fair to make them feel guilty.
- Do not enable a person with AUD: While people may think they are being supportive, they may instead encourage drinking behavior by enabling a person with AUD to access alcohol.
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Dont Drink Around The Person
Once you approach someone about their potential alcohol problem, it would be highly inconsiderate and counterproductive to drink alcohol in their presence. Drinking around the person could lead them to want to drink, or make them believe you werent serious in your concern. This is not to say you cant drink just dont do it around the person you confronted, at least not soon after voicing that concern.
Treatment Options For Alcoholism
If youre wondering if alcoholism can be treated, the answer is yes.
People with AUD can benefit from some treatments and therapies available in alcohol rehab centers across the United States.
- Behavioral Treatments. During behavioral therapy, counseling is used to help people change their drinking habits. Behavioral treatment includes cognitivebehavioral therapy, motivational enhancement therapy, marital and family counseling.
- Medications assisted treatment . The medicines approved in the U.S. for the treatment of alcoholism include Acamprosate , Disulfiram , Fluoxetine , and Naltrexone.8
- Mutual-Support Groups. Alcoholics Anonymous and other support group programs offer peer support to those wanting to quit or reduce their alcohol use. They are used in combination with other treatment strategies.
Caring for someone who has an alcohol problem may be difficult. While attempting to assist your loved one, it is important that you also find a way to care for yourself.
Seeking help from others, such as friends, family, the community, and support organizations, can help maximize support for your loved one.
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