According to the Center for Control and Disease Prevention (CDC), alcohol abuse causes over 88,000 deaths per year, making it the second deadliest drug in the United States. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that alcoholism affects over 17 million people.
When faced with such a difficult situation, you must understand what steps to take to help to your loved one. This article provides information and tips that can help you know what to do when a family member needs your help in this situation.
What is alcoholism?
Alcoholism is more than simply drinking more than you should. Healthline defines someone having alcoholism when they have “both a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol.” Medline Plus suggests that someone may have a drinking problem if they regularly drink more than they intended, cannot stop drinking, or if alcohol is negatively affecting their family, work, or school.
There are numerous other social and health risks involved in alcoholism. If you notice a loved one is demonstrating one or more of these traits, then you must act quickly.
Helping your loved one
Alcoholism can be a difficult situation to navigate. You want to help your loved one, but it is important to approach them the right way.
Here are some things to consider when you decide to help a loved one who is battling alcoholism.
1. Act fast. Do not wait to address the issue with your loved one. The longer you wait, the greater the chances of their situation becoming more severe. The earlier you can identify the problem and provide help, the greater chances you have of seeing them recover.
If you notice symptoms of their alcohol abuse, then you must act fast.
2. Pick the right time and place to talk. The time and place of discussion are important when planning to approach a loved one about their abuse. Choose a place that will be comfortable for both of you.
These issues are personal, so consider privacy when discussing them. Do not pick a place that serves alcohol, and do not approach your loved one if they have recently been drinking. They need to be sober-minded and ready to discuss the issue. Try to avoid getting angry or overly emotional during the conversation as well.
3. Choose your words carefully. Rehearse beforehand what you are going to say to loved one. Avoid accusing, lecturing, or arguing. You are there to help, and you are doing this out of love for the person.
Educate them on the potential risks and side-effects involved with alcoholism. MedlinePlus and Healthline both suggest using “I” statements to emphasize how their abuse is impacting your life and the lives of those around them. Using the right language when approaching a loved one can go a long way in getting them to agree to get help.
4. Be ready to listen. When approaching your loved one, prepare to listen to them, and hear their perspective on the situation. It can be easy to become frustrated and seek to lecture them or attempt to tell them what to do.
Listening to them can show them that you respect and care about them and are keeping their best interests at heart.
5. Offer help. Offer to help them once you have confronted them about their abuse. Do not enable them. Make sure that they decide to seek help. They have to want it. Do not take responsibility for their actions. They need to want to go to treatment for themselves. However, you should offer to support them in any way that you can.
6. Seek professional help. Alcoholism can be treated. Seeking professional help is an absolute must when battling alcoholism. Recovering from alcohol abuse can be extremely challenging, and if not done correctly, can have negative side-effects as well.
A trained professional can walk you and your family through the proper steps to ensure a safe and healthy recovery from alcohol abuse.
Scheduling a visit
ARcare provides addiction treatment centers throughout the state of Arkansas to help yourself or a family member overcome dependence on alcohol. Contact us today to start the journey to recovery. A substance abuse counselor will help you confirm the diagnosis of alcoholism, and suggest a treatment path that will work best for you and/or your family member.