“Alcoholism is considered a disease that manifests itself as a physical dependency on alcohol.”Watching a family member or friend suffer from a drinking problem can be a devastating experience. When a friend or family member suffers from alcoholism, it can wreak havoc on relationships. However, there are ways that individuals can learn how to help an alcoholic.
Alcoholism is considered a disease that manifests itself as a physical dependency on alcohol. People that suffer from alcoholism cannot physically or mentally function without consuming alcohol. Alcoholism does not happen overnight. The disease gradually consumes the individual. Eventually, the alcoholic may suffer both mental and physical damage due to the alcohol.
Stages and Symptoms of Alcoholism
Alcoholism happens in various stages. During the first stage of alcoholism, it is not always apparent that there is a problem.
However, as the disease progresses, it can becomes more obvious that the person is suffering from alcoholism. A few symptoms of alcoholism include: showing a lack of interest in family or friends, having a strained work and home life, hiding how much one drinks, needing more alcohol to feel the effects, putting off work and home tasks, and acknowledging a problem but continuing to drink.
Alcoholism can affect anyone. While it typically affects people between the ages of 20 and 40 years of age, younger and older people can also be affected by alcoholism.
Certain people are at a higher risk of becoming alcoholics. If an individual has a parent that is an alcoholic, he is at an increased risk of becoming an alcoholic. Individuals that began drinking at a young age are also at an increased risk of becoming alcoholics.
Other people that are at an increased risk of becoming an alcoholic include:
- Men who consume 15 alcoholic drinks or more a week
- Women who consume 12 or more alcoholic drinks per week
- Individuals who consume more than 5 alcoholic beverages per social gathering, per week
- Individuals that suffer from low self-esteem
- Younger adults who are under peer pressure to drink
Effects of Alcoholism
Alcoholism has different effects on everyone. While one individual may not appear to be an alcoholic, another may exhibit behavior associated with alcoholism such as:
- Acting violently while consuming or after consuming alcohol
- Blacking out during or after consuming alcohol
- Getting upset when drinking times are disrupted
- Becoming irritable right before a drink, or if a drink is not available at that time
- Hiding alcohol at home, work, in the car, and other unusual places
- Intentionally becoming intoxicated to “feel good”
Hotline to Call
If you feel that you or your loved one is experiencing any of these behaviors, consider calling an alcoholism help line at 1 800-861-9454. This hotline is free, confidential, and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Treatment Options for Alcoholics
“Understanding how to help an alcoholic is often the first step to helping that person recover.”When an individual learns more about alcoholism, as well as the signs, symptoms and treatments, it becomes easier to teach suffering individuals that there is help for alcoholics.
Listed below are a number of alcoholism treatment options that are available for suffering individuals that are ready to cope with and overcome alcoholism.
- Group therapy – With group therapy, alcoholics can build a support system of other individuals that suffer from the same dependency. Many alcoholics find that having a support system encourages clean living.
- Individual therapy – Individual therapy helps alcoholics get to the root of the reason why he or she drinks. By understanding the reason for drinking, it becomes easier to eliminate the problem. Individual therapy can also help the alcoholic assess what situations enable him or her to drink, and how to avoid these situations.
- Medications – Many alcoholics opt to try medications that are designed to prevent the consumption of alcohol. Many medications that are designed to prevent the consumption of alcohol make the individual taking the medication sick when alcohol is consumed. These medications must be prescribed by a professional doctor.
Not every method of treatment is right for every person. Although there is no cure for alcoholism, getting into an effective treatment program can help suffering individuals learn how to deal with and overcome alcoholism.
Many alcoholics will not succeed in overcoming the disease if he or she simply cuts down on drinking. Complete elimination of alcohol is generally the goal of alcoholism treatments. If you feel that you, your friend, or family member is suffering from alcoholism, calling an alcoholics hotline at 1 800-861-9454 can help you and your loved one understand the variety of treatment options that are available.
Taking control of alcoholism is not a simple task. However, it is completely possible. Overcoming alcoholism is a realistic goal for any individual that is willing and ready to try.
Acknowledging that you have a loved who is an alcoholic is never easy. Understanding how to help an alcoholic is often the first step to helping that person recover. When you want to help your loved one and he or she feels ready to overcome alcohol dependency, there are plenty of treatment options available to help.