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What to Do If Your Loved One Has an Alcohol Addiction

alcoholism treatment

Did you know that alcohol abuse is the top drug problem in the United States? A little over half of the adults in this country say that one or more of their close relatives suffers from a drinking problem and many will deny that they even have a problem in the first place. In many cases, alcohol abuse can be a factor in car crash fatalities, domestic abuse, marital problems, childhood neglect, and assault (physical and/or sexual). Alcoholism treatment is an important step for many alcoholics to seek out, but it’s often difficult to get them there. How do you pinpoint that your loved one needs intervention and help? What does alcoholism treatment do? How can you get them there? Read on for answers.

Who Is Struggling With Alcohol Addiction?
Anyone can struggle with alcohol addiction, though the most vulnerable to developing a drinking problem are young adults who are between 18-29, thanks to factors like peer pressure and more impulse-based judgment. It’s unsurprising then, that about 20% of college students currently match the criteria for an Alcohol Use Disorder.

The least susceptible age group are those who are 65 years or older. Sadly, over 10% of children in the United States currently reside with a parent who has an alcohol problem — and this can affect them later in life and may even continue the cycle.

Many people who struggle with alcohol addiction are perfectly functional, holding down steady jobs and many have a partner and children. However, addiction can often spiral out of control as time progresses with detrimental effects.

How Does Alcoholism Treatment Work?
One of the most common types of alcoholism treatment is going into a rehabilitation center for anywhere from a month’s time onward. Rehab centers vary in their methods, but they all prevent an alcoholic from being exposed to alcoholic substances while they’re in the alcohol detox center and give them time to “detox” and get it out of their system. The hope is that their craving and need will fade the longer they’re away from the substance, and can build up controls and practices that will help them avoid it once they’re back in their usual environment.

Many rehab centers will focus on some type of therapy once the detox process is complete — working on increasing mindfulness, encouraging the practice of other hobbies or activities when the person gets the urge to drink, or even working with mantras, meditation, or yoga. They’ll focus on how to avoid high-risk situations and triggers if possible — and what to do if confronted with them.

Towards the end of the program, there’s usually a plan discussed with the patient that concerns what happens after he or she is released from the program. The person may be provided with the names and contact information for support groups, be asked to check back in for therapy, receive a mentor, or be given resources for finding new sober living.

How Do We Get Them There?
As many people say, the first step is often realizing that there is a problem and not retreating into denial. Seeking out alcoholism treatment may not be something that a person can do voluntarily — they may actually need other people to help them do it or forcibly enroll them in a program.

However, staging an intervention first with trusted loved ones or friends, can often be a powerful sign to the person involved that something needs to change, and they may agree to seek out treatment voluntarily. Gently and lovingly expressing concern can often go a long way.

If that doesn’t work and there have been repeated discussions about behavior and issue at hand, cutting off support (financial, legal, professional, etc.,) may be the next step, or contacting someone that the person views as an authority figure.

And lastly, a professional interventionist might have to step in. If the person is underage, you may be able to sign him or her up for a program yourself.

Watching someone you love struggle with addiction to alcohol is difficult, but there is hope on the horizon.

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