It can be difficult for people to distinguish between drinking alcohol recreationally and alcohol abuse. Many times, people who struggle with alcohol abuse are unable to recognize that they have a problem. Often family and friends are the best judges of when an individual’s social drinking has escalated into a more serious issue. It is important for anyone who suspects alcohol abuse or alcoholism to recognize these distinctions so they know when to seek out help for their loved one.
Determining if It’s Alcoholism
Most alcoholics fail to understand the impact that alcohol has in their lives. Alcohol abuse is defined as a person drinking excessively. According to a 2010 study, men and women who abuse alcohol (more than 15 drinks per week for men and 12 drinks per week for women) are at risk of developing alcoholism. A person suffering from alcoholism has developed a dependence on alcohol and exhibits symptoms of physical addiction. These symptoms can include a tolerance to alcohol or physical withdrawal symptoms when they stop using. Some of the other signs of alcoholism and alcohol abuse include:
- Drinking alone
- Failed efforts to cut down on excessive drinking despite known consequences to health
- Neglecting other responsibilities, like work, school or paying bills
- Engaging in risky behaviors — like drunk driving or sexual behaviors — while intoxicated
- Neglecting personal hygiene
If your loved one is exhibiting any of these symptoms or behaviors, it may be time to consider their treatment options.
Alcohol Addiction Rehab Help
When family and friends recognize a problem with their loved one’s alcohol use, they need to develop a plan for getting the individual into treatment. Some families choose to stage an intervention where they explain the negative impact the person’s alcohol use has had on their lives. Generally, those closest to the individual speak and sometimes an ultimatum is offered to discourage them from opting out of treatment. An ultimatum may be something like refusing to continue to support the person or give them a place to live unless they are willing to enter into a treatment program.
Interventions can be an emotional process for those involved and some families elect to hire a professional interventionist. An interventionist helps organize the intervention and prepares the participants for their roles. They are usually trained in crisis management and can act as a objective mediator during the actual event. An interventionist also helps the participants remain focused on their end goal — getting the individual to seek professional treatment.
If someone you love is struggling with addiction, please call our toll-free number and speak to a counselor. They are available to answer any questions you might have about treatment programs and staging an intervention, and can even help you locate a professional interventionist.