The issue of when does someone need alcohol treatment is one that faces many family members who know that a loved one is struggling with alcohol but are not sure if the situation is serious enough to warrant professional help.
It is often the case that family members and friends can see how serious an alcohol problem is long before the person with the problem can. Denial is very strong among addicts and most will struggle to accept that their use of a particular substance has reached a stage where professional intervention is necessary. This is especially true in the case of alcohol abuse because most people see it as safe due to it being legal.
So, when does someone need alcohol treatment and how can you broach the subject?
Assessing A Loved One’s Need for Alcohol Treatment
Raising concerns about a loved one’s drinking can be tricky; you are likely to be met with fierce denials or anger at the mere suggestion that he or she has no control over how much alcohol is consumed. It is a good idea to have a good reason for broaching the subject before you do.
Although there are no tests that can confirm alcoholism, there are some tell-tale signs that someone you love might have a problem. These include:
- Lying about how much alcohol he or she consumes
- Mood swings when under the influence of alcohol
- Change in behaviour
- Taking unnecessary risks when under the influence of alcohol
- Doing things while under the influence of alcohol that he or she would never do when sober
- Becoming increasingly withdrawn and avoiding spending time with family members or friends
- Running out of money and being unable to pay bills or meet other financial obligations
- Arranging his or her social life around alcohol
- Always wanting to continue drinking when everyone else has had enough
- Being able to handle more alcohol than he or she used to
- Hiding evidence of alcohol consumption
- Drinking alone.
If you have been worried about someone you love and have noticed some of the above signs, you may be right to question the drinking habits of this person.
Overcoming the Stigma of Addiction
Being told that you may have a drinking problem is humiliating and embarrassing and your loved one might not appreciate you saying so. However, that does not mean that you should keep quiet.
There is a huge amount of stigma attached to addiction and many people feel ashamed when they come to the realisation that they no longer have control over how much alcohol they are consuming. Many find it better to pretend that nothing is happening and hope that no one else will notice, but this rarely happens. You will know that it is not easy to hide the signs of alcohol abuse and addiction from loved ones for long; after all, you would not be here had you not noticed these signs yourself.
However, before you charge off and confront your loved one, it is important that you take time to consider what you are going to say. It is important that you convey the message that you are concerned about this person rather than disappointed in them. Instead of being critical, try using language that is positive.
Choosing the Right Time
As you probably already know, those with alcohol problems tend to suffer with mood swings. This can leave them feeling happy and positive one minute and depressed the next. It is therefore important that you choose the right time to address the subject of your loved one’s drinking habits.
If this person tends to get upset or angry while under the influence, make sure that he or she has not been drinking before you tackle the subject. You should remember that alcohol can cloud judgement and affect decision making, so it would be completely unwise to mention your concern if your loved one has been drinking.
You may find that approaching the individual when he or she is recovering from the after-effects of a particular heavy drinking session could be the perfect opportunity to mention your concerns. This is a time when he or she may be fully open to the idea of quitting alcohol for good.
What to Do If You Face Resistance
Your loved one may very well agree with you that he or she is drinking too much alcohol, but it is more likely that you will be met with angry denials and resistance to the idea of alcohol treatment. So what can you do in this instance?
If you believe that no amount of begging or pleading is going to convince the affected person that he or she is need of help, it might be a good idea to consider a family intervention. This is an effective tool when it comes to encouraging addicted family members to get help, but it will only work if you have evidence of the harm the person’s drinking has caused to others.
What is a Family Intervention?
A family intervention is a meeting where a group of family members and friends come together with the individual who has an addiction in a bid to get him or her to accept the need for professional help. The aim of the intervention is to encourage the person into treatment; the majority do end with this result.
The intervention is a chance to make the addict see how serious his or her problem is and should stress the harm that his or her actions have been causing to others within the family unit and beyond. It is not, however, a time to punish the addict or berate him or her for being ill.
A family intervention can be a therapeutic and successful process, not only in terms of helping the addict but also in helping others. Even those that end without the addict accepting a need for professional help can be helpful for family members, who will at least know that they have tried everything they could to get their addicted loved one the help that he or she needs.
Moreover, being able to speak about the pain and hurt caused can help when it comes to addressing specific anger or resentment issues that may be lingering.
What is Involved with a Family Intervention
If you have reached the point where you know your loved one needs help and are thinking about a family intervention, you will probably want to learn a bit more about the process and how to stage one. If the affected individual has rejected all other attempts or suggestions of help, then an intervention might be what you need. If you have evidence of the harm that his or her actions have caused because of the addiction, you have a much higher chance of a successful outcome.
Without being able to talk about specific issues related to the alcohol abuse, your loved one might be fooled into thinking the problem is not that bad and may once again reject the idea that professional help is required.
It is important to think carefully about who should attend the intervention. You should only invite those who you believe the addict respects. It would be unwise to invite people who tend to antagonise your addicted loved one or those who do not get on well with him or her. Doing this could jeopardise the success of the intervention as it is likely to end in an argument.
You should also make sure that those who are going to take part are calm individuals who are unlikely to lose their temper or express disapproval. Try to keep numbers manageable as too having too many participants could make the addict feel under the spotlight and he or she may not respond well.
Do Your Research in Advance
Knowing that someone needs help for alcohol addiction and getting him or her to accept this is applaudable, but it could all be for nothing if you do not have something in place when the intervention ends.
It is important that you do some research in advance to see what kind of treatment programmes might be available for the person should he or she agree to get help. You might also want to get in touch with a rehab clinic to ensure a place is available if your loved one is keen to get started immediately.
Failure to do this could give the addicted person plenty of time to go back on his or her promise to get well. However, if a treatment place is immediately available, he or she can get started straight away while the desire to get well is still fresh.
What Treatment Programmes Are Available for Alcoholics
If your addicted loved one accepts a need for help, he or she will more than likely require a detox in the first instance. A detox programme is required to break the cycle of abuse and addresses the physical issues associated with the illness.
It is generally accepted that a detox from alcohol should be completed in a dedicated facility because there is a risk of severe withdrawals and complications. In a dedicated facility, the risk will be minimised, and should any complications arise, fully qualified staff will be on hand to respond appropriately.
After a detox has been completed, treatment for the cause of the illness can begin. This will take place in an outpatient or inpatient facility. With most outpatient programmes being provided by the NHS or charities that are dependent on funding, there tends to be long waiting lists for treatment. These organisations often cannot keep up with the demands placed on them and new cases usually have to wait months before a place becomes available.
To access immediate treatment, your loved one may have to consider a private clinic where inpatient programmes tend to be the norm. Inpatient programmes take place in quiet, distraction-free environments over the course of around six to eight weeks. The intensive schedule of treatment condensed over a short period of time provides the most time-consuming approach to getting well.
Rehabilitation programmes tend to include both traditional talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behavioural therapy, and individual counselling. Bespoke treatment plans may also incorporate a number of holistic therapies to improve wellbeing and reduce stress. Holistic therapies have proven to be effective when it comes to the treatment of addictions such as alcoholism. Examples of holistic therapies include:
- sound therapy
- art therapy
- sports and nutrition.
If you would like to know more about treatment programmes for addiction or if you are wondering when does someone need alcohol treatment, you can contact us here at Oasis Recovery Communities. We offer detox and rehab programmes for those who are affected by alcohol and drugs.
Our friendly advisors are available around-the-clock to answer any of your queries and provide information to help you get your addicted loved one to accept help. Call today.