Alcoholism is an issue in society – and it is increasing. Chances are you know someone that is dealing with the disease. They may even be someone close to you.
Often there are signs that there is a person in your life that has a problem with alcohol. They may be subtle at first, but over time, like the addiction, they become more apparent. If they are a family member or a friend, you may want to intervene and help them. You can play a role in their recovery if recovery is what they are ready for.
A person with an alcohol problem needs to come to the realization on their own. They have to make a choice to stop drinking. You can be there as a support, but you cannot do the work needed for them.
Here are some signs that someone you know may have an alcohol problem:
- Neglect of responsibilities
- Alcohol use in dangerous situations
- Legal and financial problems
- Problems with relationships
- Alcohol use to relieve stress or to relaxation
An alcohol problem can quickly deteriorate into alcoholism. These are the signs to look for:
- Alcohol tolerance – needing more alcohol to achieve the effect of less
- Alcohol withdrawal – going without alcohol causes adverse effects
- Alcohol dependence – loss of control over drinking, wanting to quit but unable, giving up things for alcohol, focusing on only alcohol, and drinking even though it causes problems
You need to know that a person who has a drinking problem may be hard to reach. They may be in denial. This is a reality.
There are some myths associated with alcohol abuse that you may need to be aware of as you look for a way to help the person in your life who has a problem. There are five main ones:
- An alcoholic can just stop drinking and that is that. The truth is they can stop, but they have to work hard at their recovery.
- Alcohol only affects the alcoholic. You know that the alcoholic’s behavior causes problems for everyone in their life.
- Alcoholics drink every day. This can be true of some, but some have an issue with an excess of drinking. Alcoholism can take different forms.
- Alcoholics can’t live a normal life. Most alcoholics function on a daily basis. They hold a job, have a family, and have friends. Because their life seems normal they may not believe they have a problem.
- Alcohol addiction is not a problem. You know this is not true. Alcohol is causing problems. If it was easy to walk away from, more people would.
Remember that beating alcohol addiction is the person with the alcohol problem’s job. You can educate yourself about alcohol abuse and you can offer support, but you can’t make the change. Only the alcoholic can do that.