Alcohol is a psychoactive, central nervous system depressant that works by slowing down and causing changes in the complex functions of the human brain and body. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines alcohol abuse as a “pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent – or 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter – or higher. For a typical adult, this pattern corresponds to consuming 5 or more drinks (male) or 4 or more drinks (female), in about 2 hours.” Alcohol abuse can lead to an array of unwanted physiological outcomes. When a loved one exhibits unhealthy alcohol consumption behaviors, it can be difficult to know what to do. To help a loved one struggling with alcohol abuse, consider offering support through the following steps, provided by the National Institute on Aging:
- Express your concern regarding your loved one’s drinking: Choose a time when your loved one is sober to talk about your worries surrounding their drinking habits in a non-judgmental fashion (e.g., avoid using labels such as alcoholic, provide facts concerning alcohol abuse prevalence to reduce stigma, etc.) and be sure to use concrete examples.
- Spend time together without alcohol: Invite your loved one to join you in activities that do not include alcohol (e.g., going on a hike, going to a movie, trying a new exercise class, etc.).
- Maintain open lines of communication: Create an emotionally safe environment for your loved one to discuss challenges, difficulties, and/ or emotionally charged experiences that they may otherwise attempt to cope with through alcohol abuse.
- Do not drink around them: After approaching a loved one regarding their alcohol use, it would be incredibly inconsiderate to drink alcohol in their presence.
- Know the warning signs of alcoholism: Alcohol use disorder, also known as alcoholism or alcohol addiction, is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic brain disorder that is characterized by uncontrolled drinking and preoccupation with alcohol. It is essential to be aware of the warning signs that may be indicative of alcohol addiction, as it is a condition that requires treatment.
- Encourage professional guidance: ask your loved one to speak with a doctor or their primary care physician about their alcohol use, as they may be more open to listening to recommendations from a professional.
For Information and Support
If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.