Coping With An Alcoholic? Here's How To Help An Alcoholic
If you have a friend or a family member that is an alcoholic, you most likely are aware, and are a victim yourself, of the devastating negative impact the disease of alcoholism has. Many of the alcoholism facts show that the disease has a lasting negative impact on those who have to be around an alcoholic. In fact, the medical communities perceive alcoholism as a disease which is considered to be a chronic condition. Alcoholics lack the ability to see their personal drinking patterns as a destructive force. In many cases, their judgment is often skewed. This means that the social and personal relationships of the alcoholic are compromised. Consequently, this leads to actions and words that do damage to the people alcoholics care about the most. These actions push possible support away. It takes a great deal of courage to understand the alcoholism disease and to want to get help for an alcoholic.
There are certain steps you can take that have proven to be effective. You can stage an intervention where friends and family tell the alcoholic about the damaging impact alcoholism has caused in their lives. Another important approach as to how to help an alcoholic is to provide added support as the alcoholic begins the recovery process. This includes withholding any judgments. When someone is under the influence of alcohol, the alcoholism disease is in control and they are not the person they want to be nor are they proud of the behaviors they often display. Most alcoholics carry a deep sense of guilt and shame.
There are support groups such as Al-Anon and Al-a teen which can give you a support group network, similar to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Here you can share your experiences and find support so you don’t have to struggle through what you are experiencing alone. Educating yourself about both the signs of alcoholism and the disease itself is also extremely helpful. There are many positive activities that alcoholics in recovery can participate in. These typically include healthy and constructive activities that can rebuild positive relationships with his friends and family is part of that recovery process.
The best way you can help an alcoholic is simply to choose not to enable their drinking. An enabler is someone who makes it easier for the alcoholic to continue destructive drinking. Enablers often provide the alcoholic the wrong kind of support, even though their intentions are good. You can learn a lot more about the ways in which you can be a positive influence in the life of a recovering alcoholic at support groups. More importantly, working with an addiction specialist can help guide you in the right directions and provide you valuable information and resources.
Denial is one of the Key Factors that Prevents and Alcoholic from Seeking Alcoholism Treatment
One of the greatest factors that can prevent an alcoholic from getting alcoholism treatment is denial. In fact, denial is considered to be one of the clearest signs of alcoholism. Denial is a defense mechanism that has enabled the alcoholic to justify their own behavior. One major symptom of the disease of alcoholism is that it prevents the alcoholic from seeing the truth of their situation. In most circumstances, alcoholics are unable to recognize they have developed a dependency on alcohol.
Alcoholics also have learned how to rationalize their drinking problem. In other words, they can come up with a number of excuses for why their lives have become unmanageable and fail to recognize that their drinking habits are causing negative consequences. Alcoholics will also tend to blame others for their circumstances. For example, they may blame their spouse or children as the cause of why they continue to drink.
The greatest impediment, however, is the mere fact that alcoholics avoid treatment because they have been able to avoid the consequences associated with their destructive drinking patterns. In these situations, they have often been enabled to continue to drink by family, friends, and those that have consistent contact with them. Enablers protect the alcoholic from the consequences of their drinking. They may take on added responsibilities, lie to friends and family, or simply pretend there isn’t a problem at all.
Similar to the alcoholic, enablers will often come up with excuses for their role in the alcoholic’s life. They often fail to recognize the negative consequences that occur as a result of their loved one’s drinking habits. More importantly, they fail to recognize the gravity of the alcoholism disease. Enablers tend to want to avoid coming to terms with the fact that alcoholism is destroying their lives.
The first step towards alcohol recovery is acknowledging there is a problem. Seeking professional treatment is often necessary to help the alcoholic come to terms with their seriousness of their disease. If you or a loved one is suffering from the disease of alcoholism, it’s important to get medical attention and help from an addiction specialist.
How to Help An Alcoholic In Your Life
Before you can set out to help an alcoholic, you first need to learn about the basic alcoholism facts which can help you to identify if your loved one is truly an alcoholic. It’s important to note that there is a difference between those who abuse alcohol verses those that suffer from the disease of alcoholism, even though they can both be equally detrimental. So what is an alcoholic and what are the signs of alcoholism?
The most obvious sign is that the alcoholic consumes a lot of alcohol and downplays the effect that alcohol has on them. Even if they have been in many embarrassing and maybe even dangerous situations, they will typically tell you that they are “fine” and “there is no problem”. This phenomenon is known as denial and this is one of the most prominent signs of alcoholism. When you visit them at home, you will notice that they always have a good supply of alcoholic beverages and when you meet them out at a bar, they will never go without a drink in their hand.
There are also a number of alcoholics that have learned how to keep their problem a secret. They will most likely know that they drink too much and prefer to drink when no one is around. The signs of alcoholism in this particular group often present with changes in behavior and increased irritability. In some cases, secret drinkers may have undiagnosed depression and use alcohol as a means to alter their mood. Of course, this can be true of any alcoholic. In fact, it’s not uncommon for those suffering from alcoholism to have other untreated issues such as anxiety disorders or depression.
The most important thing to recognize is that those who suffer from alcoholism have developed a physical addiction to alcohol. Alcohol abusers, on the other hand, are noted as those who continue to drink even though alcohol is adversely affecting their lives. In other words, they continue to drink even though their alcohol consumption is causing them all kinds of problems. However, they have yet to develop a real physical addiction to alcohol. Alcohol abuse should not be dismissed. Over time, the alcohol abuser will become increasing vulnerable to developing alcoholism, particularly if they drink large quantities of alcohol.
If you suspect that someone has a problem with alcoholism or alcohol abuse, you may be wondering how you can help them. Unfortunately, this is not always an easy undertaking. If you do not know how to help an alcoholic, it is quite possible that you will make some mistakes in the beginning. Most alcoholics suffer from some degree of denial. Nagging, begging or threatening rarely seem to do much good.
Admitting that they have a problem is the first important step for someone with an alcoholism problem. Often this will be the hardest step for people because they will have to admit that they are doing something that is not good for them. This is very difficult for many people – admitting they have a problem is never easy. So if you would like to know how to help an alcoholic, then you will first have to find a way to make this person realize and admit that there is a problem. Usually this requires working with a substance abuse professional. Family interventions that are supervised by treatment specialists often have the best results. If you don’t know how to help an alcoholic, a professional will. They will help guide you and offer both you and your loved ones valuable support.
If you manage to get your loved one into alcohol detox, this is certainly not the end of the road. You might think that once they make it through alcohol detox, they will be cured. On the contrary, the road to recovery continues long after alcohol detox. The best approach is to get your loved one into a self-help group such as AA, or better yet, get them into a treatment center where all aspects of the alcoholism disease can be addressed and supervised.
How To Spot the Signs of Alcoholism
It is never an easy matter to deal with a loved one that may be suffering from alcoholism. You are not alone. There are quite a number of people who indeed have a family member or loved one that suffers from the disease of alcoholism. In fact, it is estimated that there are over 18 million alcoholics in the United States alone. Those who suffer from alcoholism face many difficult realities such as problems in their relationships, poor health negative issues at the work place, legal issues or consistent bad hangovers. These can all be signs of alcoholism or alcohol abuse. They greatest concern, however, is that many alcoholics can’t identify they have a problem. This is called denial and alcoholics aren’t the only ones who suffer from this dilemma. Family and friends of alcoholics can also be in denial. The reality is that if one is concerned either for themselves or a loved one it may be time to seriously consider if alcohol has become problematic. Here are the top ten signs of alcoholism.
Alcoholism Signs and the Ten Warning Signals To Look For
1. Do you or your loved one drink alone? When one drinks in moderation with others it certainly may not be a problem, but when they find themselves frequently drinking alone they are clearly exhibiting a sign of alcoholism or alcohol abuse.
2. Do you or your loved one lie or hide how much alcohol is being consumed? When one deliberately conceals how much alcohol they have consumed it is a clear indication they may be aware their drinking has become a problem.
3. Has a physical toleration to alcohol developed? In other words, does it take more and more alcohol to achieve the same results? Monitoring increased toleration and realizing its implications can sometimes be a bit subtle and confusing. If it takes more and more alcohol to become inebriated, alcohol dependence has most likely been established.
4. Are you or your loved one drinking more than those around you? When a person chooses to stay at the bar and continues drinking longer than their friends, it is a clear sign that there might be a problem.
5. To alleviate a hangover, do you or your loved one take a drink first thing in the morning? Curing a hangover by taking a drink first thing can indicate a sign of alcoholism. This is particularly true if physical cravings have developed.
6. Have you are your loved one’s alcohol consumption increased over tine?
7. Do you or your loved one experience blackouts? Although this may not necessarily be a clear sign of alcoholism, it is most certainly an indication of alcohol abuse.
8. Do you or your loved one take a drink to calm the nerves or alleviate stress? Using alcohol as a means to alter one’s mood can indicate there is an alcohol problem.
9. Have there been any legal problems or accidents related to drinking? Altercations, slips and falls, DUI's and car accidents commonly occur for those who suffer from a drinking problem.
10. Is alcohol affecting your relationships with loved ones, friends or colleagues? If those closest to an alcoholic are desperately trying to get him/her to discontinue or consume less alcohol, it is a clear sign that a problem exists.
If you met the criteria of any of the above signs of alcoholism, you may want to speak to an addictions or alcoholism specialist right away. The alcoholism disease is chronic and will only get worse over time. There are also a number of self-help programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous or ALANON that can also provide support. Help usually begins be acknowledging there is a problem
In Determining How To Help An Alcoholic, The Family Often Has The Most Influence
When an alcoholic begins to recognize that their alcoholism is causing great distress in their life, their family often has the most significant influence as to whether or not he or she will seek treatment. This is largely due to their intimate knowledge of the alcoholic’s drinking problem. They have firsthand experience and can be an informative influence on the alcoholic. More importantly, they can provide the most pressure to encourage the alcoholic to seek help.
In order to learn how to help an alcoholic, the family must first educate themselves about the disease of alcoholism. They also need to be aware that they are not responsible for their loved one’s drinking problem and nor are they responsible for the behaviors that are associated to it. The alcoholic behaves the way he does because he has a progressive disease. By learning about the disease of alcoholism, the family can develop an emotional detachment from the disease itself. They can begin to understand that the alcoholic’s behaviors and personality changes are a product of the disease.
The family also needs to become aware of the fact that alcoholism is a progressive disease and over time it will become more destructive to both the physical body of the alcoholic and his or her mental state. The family can contact the alcoholic’s physician and let them know about the scope of their loved one’s disease. Together, they can plan a course of action that can help the alcoholic get into a treatment program. In determining how to help an alcoholic, it’s imperative that a doctor is there to supervise alcohol cessation or withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal can be both uncomfortable and dangerous. Alcohol detox often requires medical supervision.
Finally, the family should also seek professional counseling as to how to confront the alcoholic in their lives. This can help the family identify the most productive ways to encourage the alcoholic to get help. Interventions have proved to be a successful approach to getting alcoholics into treatment. The goal of an intervention is to confront the alcoholic in a non-threatening manner to encourage them to see their own destructive behaviors and how it is affecting those closest to them. The primary objective is to help the alcoholic see that they need help. This is the first step to alcohol recovery.
How to Help An Alcoholic Includes Following Five Important Steps
You don’t always have to wait until the Alcohol bottoms out to get them help. Rather, you can learn how to help the alcoholic in your life before any major catastrophe occurs. While it is true that emotional, financial and physical crisis can help the alcoholic seek treatment, you don’t have to wait by the sidelines for this to transpire. Learning how to help an alcoholic includes taking a series of steps that can help you get your loved one help
Step 1. Educate Yourself about the Disease of Alcoholism
It’s always important to understand the very nature of the disease of alcoholism. Alcohol is a chemical and it has dramatic effects on the body. There are various stages of alcoholism: early, middle and late. It’s vital you know which stage of alcoholism your loved one may be suffering from. The more you understand each stage, the more you will be able to identify the alcoholic’s symptomology. Over time these symptoms will progress as the alcoholic continue to drink. It’s also important to educate yourself about the physiological changes that occur over time. Almost all alcoholics will eventually develop a tolerance to alcohol as their bodies adapt to it. Alcohol withdrawal can be a dangerous reaction to alcohol cessation. It’s imperative that the alcoholic receives medical supervision during alcohol cessation. Alcohol addiction affects an alcoholic’s behavior and psychological stability. By recognizing that alcohol plays a significant role in an alcoholic’s behavior, you can identify the true nature of the disease. The disease of alcoholism affects both the body and the mind.
Step 2. Try Not to Judge
A common misinterpretation about alcoholism is that it is a moral issue. In other words, many people believe that alcoholics lack will power or fail to have strong moral values. It’s more important to acknowledge that although alcoholics suffer from a debilitating disease, they aren’t bad people. They have a disease which causes them to continue to drink regardless of the negative consequences.
Step 3. Learn how to detach
In learning how to help an alcoholic, you need to learn how to detach from the alcoholic’s disease. It’s important to recognize that alcoholic is indeed sick. He or she may behave in very unpredictable ways. The alcoholic may have emotional outburst or can suddenly become emotionally withdrawn at any given time. It’s also important to recognize the fact that denial is a key component in the disease of alcoholism. This not only occurs within the alcoholic, but frequently effects family and friends as well. Those who want to help an alcoholic must be aware that they are not responsible for the alcoholic’s disease. Stay focused and remember that the number one priority should be getting the alcoholic help. Try not to get sidetracked by the alcoholic’s behavior.
Step 4. Pick a Treatment Program
Not every treatment facility is the same and depending upon the severity of the alcoholic, it’s important you identify the best type of program available. Some treatment programs are quite limited. They may provide outpatient services but lack medical supervision. Hospitals typically offer detox programs but don’t offer counseling or psychological treatment plans. The best programs are those that offer in-patient care and medical supervision. Typically these programs offer 4 week programs. They include mental health counseling, an educational program for both the alcoholic and his family, medical detoxification and supervision, and an introduction to a 12 step program.
Step 5. Get help For Yourself
When learning how to help an alcoholic, you may soon find that you will need support as well. Counseling and family therapy can be extremely helpful when dealing with a loved one who suffers from alcoholism. There are also self-help support groups such as ALANON or ALATEEN that can help you find support from others who have also struggled with an alcoholic family member.
Surviving and Thriving in an Alcoholic Relationship
There can be nothing more painful than loving an alcoholic. Sometimes the alcoholic in your life can be a parent, a child or even a spouse. Whatever the case, loving a person who suffers from alcoholism can bring great turmoil and discomfort. Sometimes the best thing you can do to help an alcoholic is to take care of yourself. One of the most important self-care techniques is learning how to set healthy boundaries with the alcoholic in your life.
Part of the process of setting healthy boundaries includes learning how to once again become accountable for your own life. Many people in alcoholic relationships tend to put much of their focus on the alcoholic. There is often a difficulty in separating one’s self from the alcoholic. Years of intervening on the alcoholic’s behalf, can leave someone feeling lost, scared and hopeless. People in alcoholic relationships typically take on many responsibilities that don’t necessarily belong to them. Years of worry, anxiety and enabling can take their toll on the relationship and the person involved with an alcoholic
Setting appropriate boundaries does not mean you don’t love the alcoholic in your life. In truth, healthy boundaries can help you prevent a destructive relationship. It takes the responsibility off you and places them back onto the alcoholic. The hope is that the alcoholic will ultimately have to come to terms with the destructive effects of his or her alcoholism.
One of the first and most effect approaches to setting boundaries begins with identifying your priorities and limitations. It’s important to discover what you will or will not agree to. Learning how to set these limits can help you understand what your options are. If you find yourself in a situation which is emotionally overwhelming, you can always resort to your own boundaries and limits. If a certain behavior of alcoholic is intolerable, you can set a limit to what you are comfortable living with. This means if you do not want to be around the alcoholic when he has been drinking, you can certainly set that boundary for yourself. It may be as simple as determining the tone in which someone speaks to you. If an alcoholic is raging at you, you have the right refuse to participate in that particular conversation.
It’s important to note that setting boundaries does not mean you get to control the behavior of someone else. We can only be responsible for ourselves. It’s also important to be prepared to follow through with the limits and boundaries you set. If you fail to do this, you can lose your own credibility. Just because you love and alcoholic doesn’t mean you have to cut them out of your life. The goal is to learn how to take care of your self, regardless of how the alcoholic may be behaving.
Doctors Play An Important Role In Treating Alcoholism
Depending upon the physician’s relationship to the alcoholic and their own expertise on alcoholism they can recommend a number of treatment options for the alcoholic. The first and most important step a doctor will implement is a thorough physical evaluation. Alcoholism can cause serious damage to the physical body. Should the doctor feel that there is a significant dependence on alcohol, he/she will most likely suggest a treatment center to help the alcoholic detox and withdraw from alcohol. If there are other physical complications that are a result of someone’s drinking, then a medical treatment plan would also be implemented.
When a physician suspects that one of their patients may be an alcoholic they will typically encourage their patients to participate in a serious of steps that can help the alcoholic to quit drinking.
It’s important for the physician to get the alcoholics family involved. This will help the alcoholic get needed support from other family members. This also will help educate the families about the disease of alcoholism and help a family understand the harmful effects of alcohol. More importantly, it helps the family come to terms with the fact that someone they love has a drinking problem.
Recommend Treatment Options:
If an alcoholic is in the early stage of alcoholism, out-patient treatment programs are often advised. However, if an alcoholic is in the middle or late stage of alcoholism, doctors often recommend in-patient treatment programs. Withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and dangerous. It’s important that alcohol dependent individuals be overseen during the withdrawal process.
Community Support and Self-Help Groups:
One of the most effective methods to help an alcoholic quit drinking is attendance to Self-Help Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Self-help groups are available to the families of alcoholics as well. ALANON often proves to be very effective in providing the parents and spouses of alcoholics needed support. ALATEEN is a self-help program designed to help the children of alcoholics. Their phone numbers can be found in most yellow pages and directories. The physician may also have the numbers as well.
Getting Into Action:
Most doctors will emphasize the need to quit drinking right away. A physician can help educate the family about the disease of alcoholism and explain that is a progressive and chronic disorder. If left untreated, alcoholism can be deadly. Over time, alcoholism will only get worse.
If you suspect that you are someone you love may be suffering from the disease of alcoholism, it’s important you see your doctor right away.
Alcoholics Do Not Choose To Suffer From Alcoholism
A common misconception about alcoholism is that it’s a lifestyle choice. In truth, alcoholics have no control of the fact that they are alcoholics. Alcoholism is a disease. Like diabetes, alcoholism is a physiological condition and the only way and alcoholic can manage their disease is to choose not to drink. Alcoholics process alcohol differently than non-alcoholics. They both metabolize alcohol differently than non-alcoholics and the bio-chemistry in their brains also reacts differently to alcohol. Simply put, people become alcoholics because their bodies respond differently to alcohol.
When an alcoholic consumes alcohol, their brain chemistry becomes altered. Alcohol makes the alcoholic feel good, even euphoric, and undermines their ability to perceive alcohol for what it is really doing to not only their health, but to their relationships as well. Unfortunately, a common symptom of alcoholism is denial. Alcoholics can not always recognize that alcohol is causing major problems in their lives. This distortion in perception is one of the main reasons why alcoholics can not identify that alcohol is causing havoc in their lives.
More often than not, alcoholics have to make the choice to quit drinking. This is more difficult than one might expect. For the alcoholic, alcohol plays a major role in lifting their mood. Alcohol can give the alcoholic a sense of confidence, power and can help them feel socially acceptable. Why wouldn’t the alcoholic want to drink? Well, unfortunately, with alcoholism comes other issues such as poor health, legal issues, divorce, job losses and social rejection.
Alcoholism is a powerful disease and since the alcoholic does not always want to give up what makes them feel good, they often need help. This includes looking at the behaviors of not just the alcoholic, but to those closest to him. Enabling the alcoholic prevents the alcoholic from seeing the repercussions of his or her drinking. Enablers want to protect that alcoholic, and unfortunately, this only exacerbates the problem.
One of the greatest motivators in getting the alcoholic help is honesty. It’s important for everyone to help the alcoholic get accountable. This includes disengaging from enabling behaviors. By recognizing that alcoholism is a physical disease and not a lifestyle choice it’s much easier to comes to terms with the fact that you or someone you love may be suffering form a true physical condition. The next step would include seeking advice from a alcohol or addiction specialist.
What is the definition of alcoholism? Learn more by clicking here.
How To Help An Alcoholic: Dealing With Denial
Although many alcoholics can recognize that they may have a drinking problem, few of them have the ability to identify that they are truly alcoholic. Regardless of how much their drinking is causing havoc in their lives, they still believe their drinking is not the problem. This phenomenon is known as denial.
For most alcoholics, denial is the number one obstacle in getting help. Getting honest with one self proves to be a difficult task as no one wants to believe they have problem. More importantly, no one wants to see themselves as alcoholic due to the many connotations and stereotypes that are associated with alcoholism.
Unfortunately, the alcoholic stereotype often refers to the late-stage alcoholic. Late stage alcoholics are perceived as those who have completely bottomed out. They are individuals that have lost everything as a result of their drinking. Society sees them as drifters, bums, the mentally deranged and physically debilitated. For many, alcoholism is incorrectly perceived as a moral issue.
Medical professionals can also fall victim to such stereotypes. Even
in the earlier to middle stages of alcoholism, many medical professionals will simply suggest the need to cut back on one’s drinking and fail to adequately recognize the signs of alcoholism. This also occurs in the mental health industry. There are many qualified psychiatrist, psychologist and therapist that fail to recognize the signs of alcoholism and believe that the alcoholics presenting symptoms relate to underlying emotional or psychological issues.
Alcoholics usually develop the ability to rationalize their drinking. They tell themselves they aren’t truly alcoholic because they do not want to see themselves as flawed, weak, or morally irresponsible. More importantly, the alcoholic can not identify their alcoholism because of the nature of their addiction. The addicted brain can not acknowledge there is a problem because if it were to do so, it would threaten its ability to continue to feed the alcohol addiction. A curious and fatal loop!
The family can also struggle with issues of denial. Issues of shame and embarrassment often come with the awareness that a loved one is, indeed, alcoholic. For many, alcohol abuse and alcoholism is seen as a weakness and can be a poor reflection on the family as a whole. More importantly, many families do not want to deal with the crisis at hand and prefer to pretend as though everything is as it should be: the neutral status quo.
If you or someone you love is in denial, the first step always includes getting honest. There may be situations where the family and close friends have to do an intervention on a loved one. This involves sharing with the alcoholic the impact their drinking is having on their lives. It includes one family member getting honest with another in the hopes that the alcoholic can recognize the devastation their drinking is causing in their own lives as well as the lives of those they care about.