Look I get it. You wouldn’t have come to this page if someone close to you wasn’t truly suffering from the damaging effects of alcoholism. It may be your partner or a coworker. Perhaps it’s a close relative or a long-time friend. Let’s call him or her a Significant Other (SO for short).
The bottom line is that your SO is hurting. His or her life may be in shambles. Perhaps he just lost his job because of drinking, or maybe her relationships are crumbling. He or she might be in debt due to bad decisions made under the influence of alcohol.
You Can Help Someone Fix Their Alcohol Problem
Yet, despite all that pain and suffering, there is some good news.
I can tell you right here and right now that all of those bad feelings your partner, friend, relative or coworker has about himself or herself can end. Your SO can transform their life in a way they (and maybe even you) may not think is possible right now.
If your SO has truly had enough of his or her current path, this can be the rock bottom. And you know what that means. It’s all uphill from here!
Your Significant Other Is Not Alone
Listen, of the two billion people worldwide who consume alcohol, almost four per cent have an alcohol problem. That’s a whole lot of people out there who are going through life in pain.
On the upside, however, it also means that a tremendous amount of research has been done over many decades on alcoholism and on what works best for treatment.
Most importantly, as you may want to gently remind your SO, he or she is not alone.
Effective Treatment for Alcoholism
Help for your SO’s alcoholism can be broken down into three main areas. They are explained more fully in the next sections:
- Medication (prescribed by a family doctor or a clinic)
- Group Help (can be available directly without referral, especially Alcoholics Anonymous or other 12-step programs)
- Behavioral Therapy (can be available directly without referral)
It is important to remember that effective treatment can be administered through a variety (or sometimes a combination) of settings.
Whatever path of treatment your SO ultimately decides to follow, remember that he or she has just made the best decision of his or her life!
Medication to Ease Alcohol Withdrawal
Physicians and other care providers can prescribe medication to help alcoholics while they are reducing their drinking. Those approved by the FDA include:
- Disulfiram (Antabuse®)
- Oral Naltrexone
- Extended-release Naltrexone (Vivitrol®)
- Acamprosate (Campral®)
- Topiramate was approved to treat epilepsy and migraines but has also been effective for some cases of alcohol abuse
Group Help Support for Alcoholism
The most common type of alcoholism intervention is Group Help, where two or more people with alcoholism get together to provide help and support to the rest of the group. This is the most accessible form of help and people can attend for as long as they want to or need to without worrying about cost.
The most famous of the Group Help models is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), a free 12-step program that offers regular scheduled meetings in many countries around the world.
Two important aspects of this model of treatment are reinforcement and behavior modeling.
Reinforcement is the act of learning positive coping actions for alcoholism from a sponsor who has already successfully completed treatment.
Behavioral modeling is the act of looking to more senior members of the group who have been through the situation already and can offer guidance.
Behavioral Therapy for Short-Term and Long-Term Improvement
The Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (or Behavioral Therapy) model teaches strategies for self-change that can be applied in the short term and/or the long term.
These strategies usually focus on goal setting, self monitoring of drinking, analysis of drinking situations, and learning alternative coping skills, and can even be done online in the privacy of your own home.
Web-based therapy can be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Combining A Few Treatment Methods
It should be noted that Medication combined with Behavioral Therapy tends to show more positive results than just Medication alone. This is because the combination works on psychologically changing the drinker’s behaviors and expectations around alcohol while the drug is helping with physical symptoms of withdrawal.