How to Help Someone With a Drinking Problem | Alcohol Recovery

How to Help Someone With a Drinking Problem

Some studies estimate that over six percent of Americans are battling with alcohol abuse. In fact, the majority of adult Americans facing a substance use disorder (SUD) are suffering from alcohol abuse–nearly 74% to be exact. Sadly, over 88,000 people die each year in the US of alcohol-related illnesses. A 2018 survey conducted by The National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse discovered that nine in ten adults reported excessively drinking within the last month. As alcohol-related illnesses and deaths continue to skyrocket, health experts are working to identify effective treatment options. It’s now paramount to properly assess how to help someone with a drinking problem. A few pointers are listed below.

The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that over twelve percent of Americans were addicted to alcohol. These sobering facts are revealing how imperative it is for those battling with alcohol issues to seek help sooner. For immediate assistance with alcohol abuse, contact AspenRidge 24/7 directly at 855-281-5588.

Helping Someone With A Drinking Problem

Colorado’s Alcohol Statistics

A 2020 survey by the Commonwealth Fund, Colorado ranked 45th among states in alcohol related deaths. While that’s certainly not topping charts by any means, there are countless preventable deaths in the state of Colorado that are impacting many families. Nearly 10 in 100,000 Americans died in 2017 from alcohol-related causes. In Colorado, that figure was about 17 in 100,000. 

Denver, in specific, has higher rates of alcohol abuse than other metro cities like Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and even Austin. CPR News pointed out that alcohol deaths are on the rise in recent years. Alcohol abuse treatment is becoming more accessible to many Coloradans who are in need of help, but treatment can still be a challenge for most.

Why Many Don’t Seek Alcohol Treatment

There are many reasons a person may be unable or unwilling to seek treatment for alcohol abuse. While millions of people suffer from addiction in the U.S., only a small percentage will receive the treatment needed. Every person’s struggle is different, but there are commonalities among the reasons why people refuse to seek help. In those cases, it’s crucial that family members or friends understand how to help someone with a drinking problem.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 96% of people who are actively addicted to substances and not seeking help don’t believe they need to get treatment for help. The remaining 4% either felt they needed treatment but didn’t try to find it, or felt they needed treatment and made an effort but did not receive treatment.

In all, roughly 19.4 million people are addicted to drugs or alcohol don’t believe they actually need help for it –

Helping Someone With a Drinking Problem

One of the biggest obstacles for family members, friends, and peers face is how to help someone with a drinking problem.

Sadly, for several reasons, only 10% of those with an alcohol addiction seek help. They may be in denial. Some are embarrassed about their problem. Some fear repercussions at work, in the community, or their families. Many just can’t seem to kick this powerful addiction.

Signs of Drinking Problems

If you think a friend or family member may have a drinking problem, consider these signs:

1. Higher Tolerance for Alcohol

Does your friend or relative need seven or eight drinks instead of two or three to feel intoxicated?

2. Physical Symptoms

Is your friend, colleague, or family member experiencing symptoms like nausea, lack of balance, diarrhea, mood swings, seizures, rapid heartbeat, excessive sweating, risky behaviors, blackouts, or chronic fatigue? These often result from alcohol dependence.

3. Inability to Quit

Is it difficult or impossible for your friend or family member to stop drinking or even to cut back?

4. The Shakes

Excess alcohol consumption may cause nerve damage. This may result in an uncontrollable trembling of the hands.

5. Early Imbibing

It may be five o’clock somewhere but if your friend or relative habitually engages in drinking in the mornings, hiding bottles around the house, workplace, or vehicle, these behaviors may indicate a drinking problem. Drinking in the early hours to “get through the day” is not a good sign.

6. Memory Lapses

Drinking to excess can impair judgment, affect coordination, and cause “blackouts” or memory lapses. Does your friend or relative not remember what happened the night before? This may indicate brain damage.

7. Social Drinking

Some people use alcohol to “loosen up”, to feel comfortable in social settings, or to improve their mood. Some cover insecurities by drinking. This can become a problem particularly if your friend, colleague, or relative socializes a lot.

8. Anxiety

Some use alcohol to “medicate” conditions like anxiety, insomnia, or chronic pain. Does your friend or relative claim he is drinking to ease physical or mental pain?

9. Solitary Drinking

Does your friend or relative drink when others are not around? Does he hide bottles at home or work and drink secretly?

10. Visual Clues

Does your friend or relative have a red face when he is drinking? Excess alcohol can cause broken capillaries, causing a permanent red flush on the nose and cheeks. This is a sign of a drinking problem.

11. Relationship Problems

This is a case of the chicken and the egg. Which one caused the other? Drinking and the problems that go with it often cause problems at work, between friends, and/or within families. On the other hand, those experiencing relationship problems may “drown their sorrows” in alcohol. Is your friend, colleague, or relative having relationship problems?

How To Help Someone With A Drinking Problem

How to Help Someone with a Drinking Problem

Alcohol can wreck relationships, ruin budding careers, or spell financial ruin. It is hard to watch a friend, colleague, or relative struggle with alcohol addiction. How can you help?

Know the Signs

While alcohol’s effects may vary from person to person, be aware of how the behavior of your friend or relative is affecting him and those around him.

Do you notice any of these red flags?

  •       Neglect of work or home responsibilities because of drinking.
  •       Binge drink or over-imbibing.
  •       Hiding drinking or lying about it.
  •       Blackouts or memory lapses when using alcohol.
  •       Relationship problems related to drinking.
  •       Using alcohol to dull physical or mental pain.

Ways to Discuss Drinking Issue

If you decide it is time to discuss drinking issues with your friend or family member, it is important to choose the right time and tone. Don’t lecture or accuse. Make it a calm, quiet, respectful conversation. Ask questions and let your friend or relative talk about how alcohol makes them feel and whether they believe they have a problem.

How to talk to someone about their drinking

One of the best methods for how to help someone with a drinking problem is learning how to discuss the issue at hand. There are many techniques and tips you can utilize to help a friend or loved one. A few examples include:

  • Choose a time when your friend or relative is not drinking.
  • Do the research. Point out the signs and your concerns. Be calm and factual about it and the reason for your concerns. Be prepared for anger, defense, denial, and hurt. Don’t take these verbal attacks personally.
  • Remember: Seeking help is a personal decision. Don’t threaten, cajole, bribe, force, or lay a guilt trip on your friend/relative. He must want to get help.
  • Share potential sources of help. Address the problem logically. Encourage your friend or relative to get assistance. Offer support when visiting counselors, doctors, or attending support group meetings.
  • Help your friend/relative create an action plan.
  • Recovery is hard. It requires your patience, your presence, and your understanding.

Prevention Techniques

People don’t become addicted overnight. There are several ways to prevent drinking from becoming an addiction. As a friend, relative, or colleague, you can do prevention by not drinking too much yourself and helping others not do so. Serve alcohol sparingly and show moderation.

Additionally, adolescents and young adults make up the largest percentage of people with AUD. Of the five alcoholic subtype groups, the young adult and young antisocial subtypes account for over 52 percent of all alcoholics. When it comes to alcohol, it is good to have open and honest communication with children, teens, and young adults. While this may not be an easy conversation, building a  strong parent-child relationship can make a difference. Talk with them about alcohol, what it does to the body, and share the statistics and facts with them.

Set rules about alcohol and inform teens that drinking has consequences. Educating children on the negative effects of alcohol before they are on their own is essential. Doing so may help reduce their risk of substance abuse.

Support Groups

VeryWellMind.com recommends support groups that encourage sobriety, moderation, and abstinence.

Alcoholics Anonymous an international mutual aid fellowship is dedicated to helping alcoholics in sobriety. There is a spiritual theme to its Twelve Steps program. The group is led by non-professional. It is non-denominational, apolitical, and self-supporting. The group’s membership is free to all who have a proclaimed desire to stop drinking. Meetings are held in many communities and online. Members can attend as often as two or three times a day or as infrequently as they feel the need.

Self-Help Recovery Training also runs meetings in several centers. Like AA, these are mutual support groups. SMART Recovery uses science-based, self-empowered addiction recovery.

ClubSoda.com assists members to be more mindful about their drinking. The aim is to cut back on drinking, stop drinking, or take a break from alcohol.

Looseid.com is a group built on the motto, “Sober shouldn’t be somber.” It guides members to places they can go where the pressure to drink does not exist. It stresses activities you can enjoy while abstaining. Loosid offers chat rooms where those struggling with alcohol issues can meet and form friendships with sober individuals and take part in activities that don’t center on drinking.

LifeRing.com promotes abstinence through self-empowerment rather than AA’s emphasis on a higher power. LifeRing’s cornerstones are sobriety, secularity, and self-help.

Tempest.com is a membership-fee group focused on helping members free themselves from addiction. The base membership is $59 per month. It gives access to virtual support groups and events. Tempest helps members build their personal recovery roadmap. Services are available 24/7. For $399, your friend or relative can get a four-week, intensive, clinically proven program.

Help Someone With Drinking Problem

How Can AspenRidge Help?

We are dedicated to tailoring treatment as much as possible to each client. Services through the AspenRidge program are provided. It is important to speak with AspenRidge to discuss possible treatment options and methods. The challenges that occur due to mental health and alcohol abuse are challenging and impact several components of a family. It is the hope of AspenRidge to provide a safe environment for all members of a family to experience long-term sobriety and recovery.

Prospective clients may contact AspenRidge Recovery Centers at 855-678-3144 to schedule an assessment, to speak to staff about various programs. Gaining knowledge prior to taking the steps towards recovery is important and AspenRidge is determined to provide clear information.

A trained therapist will discuss which AspenRidge treatment options will be most appealing and effective. Treatment may include:

  • Intensive In-Patient Residential Care
  • Intensive Outpatient Care
  • Evening Outpatient Counseling and Support
  • AspenRidge Virtual Care Online Counselling and Support
  • After-Program Support and Maintenance

Trained intake professionals are available 24/7 to assist. Contact us today.

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