September 13, 2021

Helping a Family Member With Alcoholism

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Medicially Reviewed By:
Dr. Priya Chaudhri
credentials here

How Do You Help Someone Who Can’t Stop Drinking?

When someone you love is ill, you want to guide them toward getting treatment. Helping a family member with alcoholism is no different.

A disease is a health condition that can harm wellness, impair function, and even threaten our life. Alcoholism is a disease. When someone you care about has acquired an alcohol use disorder (AUD) they will most likely need expert help. A rehab can assist them in the various ways to overcome the AUD, and the tools to help sustain sobriety.

Does Your Family Member Have an Alcohol Use Disorder?

First, it helps to have a good understanding about what an AUD is. When someone has a problem with drinking it may range from mild to severe. A mild AUD offers the best chance at making a full recovery, which is why early treatment is key. When the AUD is allowed to worsen over time, it becomes a much more challenging issue to overcome.

When we are talking about alcoholism, it is good to have a starting point. What is a safe amount of alcohol? The CDC has outlined guidelines that give us a good sense of how much alcohol is okay. This allows us to then gauge a loved one’s actual consumption by comparing it to the guidelines.

The CDC guidelines for drinking alcohol include:

  • A “drink” defined. A 12-ounce beer, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces or wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.
  • Safe limits. 2 drinks a day for a man, and 1 drink a day for a woman.
  • Excessive drinking. 8 or more drinks in a week for women, 15 or more drinks in a week for men.
  • Binge drinking. 4 or more drinks in a single session for women, 5 or more drinks in a single session for men.

There is a reason why the CDC was compelled to create these guidelines. About 95,000 people lose their lives each year in the US. Excess drinking over a long time period can lead to a long list of major health issues. These include cancer, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, brain disease, and mental health disorders.

12 Signs of Alcoholism

It isn’t always obvious when someone is drinking too much. Some people have a natural high tolerance for alcohol. This means they may not appear drunk, even though they consume a lot of alcohol.

But there are other ways to discern whether a family member has a drinking problem. Some of these signs are subtler than others. It is good to be aware of the signs of alcoholism.

12 Common traits among heavy drinkers include:

  1. Increased tolerance.
  2. Cannot cut back or quit, even though you want to.
  3. Increased alcohol cravings.
  4. Spends much time planning to drink, obtaining alcohol, drinking, and recovering from drinking.
  5. Lying about how much your drinking.
  6. Having blackouts.
  7. Neglects daily responsibilities.
  8. Avoids social events; drinks alone.
  9. Having legal problems, such as a DUI, divorce, or child custody issues.
  10. Drinks even with mounting problems related to the drinking.
  11. Causes trouble in relationships at home, at work, and socially.
  12. Withdrawal symptoms emerge when alcohol wears off.

When your family member displays several of these traits, they are in need of help for an AUD.

How to Approach Your Loved One About Alcoholism

Trying to nudge someone toward admitting they have a drinking problem is not an easy feat. Most people will deny it. It is just the natural response when they feel threatened in some way.

But this disease is so serious that any rebuff you receive should not be the end of the discussion. Know that people who have an AUD are aware they have a problem, even if they won’t admit it right away. They do have some good reasons for staying in denial. Things like worrying about stigma or taking time off for rehab or the cost of rehab, for starters.

So, when you approach your loved one, do so in kindness and with compassion. Choose a quiet moment where you can talk to them alone. You can begin the convo by just stating, “I’ve been a little worried about you lately. Can we talk?” This is a way to approach them from a place of love and concern.

Before you do begin the conversation, do some legwork. Look into their insurance plan to see what detox and rehab costs are covered. Start doing a search for rehabs, and even call a few to ask questions about their program. If your loved one also has a mental health issue, like depression or anxiety, look for a dual diagnosis program.

If your chat with the family member falls on deaf ears, don’t fret. At least you have planted a seed and let them know you care about them.

If things continue to worsen with the drinking problem, you might consider doing an intervention. An addiction expert will assist the family in planning it and guiding the discussion.

Help for a Family Member with Alcohol Use Disorder

If your family member decides they will receive treatment for their AUD, that is cause for great joy. The will be able to get treatment at either an outpatient or inpatient rehab. These programs provide them with the recovery skills they will need to sustain sobriety. Also, during therapy they are able to undo the thought and behavior patterns that have kept them stuck in addiction.

When a loved one is in distress, helping your family member with alcoholism is the kindest thing you can do for them.

Elevation Behavioral Health Offers Treatment for AUD

Elevation Behavioral Health provides life-changing treatment for someone with a dual diagnosis. This is the term for when a family member struggles with alcoholism and a co-occurring mental health disorder. If your loved one is in need of treatment, Elevation offers a private, intimate setting to start the healing process. Call us today at (888) 561-0868.

Our team of experts is here to help you.