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Care for The Alcoholic in the Family

When a family member has a drinking problem, it’s easy to brush it off and act like it’s not a big deal. He isn’t an alcoholic, you rationalize to yourself. He just drinks a little too much sometimes. Facing these issues head on can be a challenge, but accepting reality and working to improve the situation is the best choice when dealing with a potential alcoholic.

How to Tell if Your Family Member Is an Alcoholic

Here are some signs that your family member may be an alcoholic:

  • You avoid coming home because you are worried about your family member being drunk.
  • Your family member is incapable of performing their daily responsibilities because of their alcohol use.
  • You feel as if you can’t discuss alcohol use in the home, or any other issues you have.
  • Your family member is rarely sober, and when they are they are irritable and uneasy.

Effects of Alcoholism on Family Members

Alcoholism has a profound effect on those it touches. Loved ones suffer anxiety and emotional distress, and may develop their own unhealthy ways of coping. Young children of alcoholics often fail to develop healthy relationships with others, and may develop anxiety disorders as result of stress. They may have poor cognitive development, and may do poorly in school compared to their peers. Spouses of alcoholics may suffer depression or anxiety, and feel trapped doing the parenting, chores and workload of both partners.

How Family Members of Alcoholics Can Cope

Family members of alcoholics should consider seeking treatment themselves. Dealing with the emotional pain and stress of having an alcoholic in the family is difficult, and loved ones often neglect their own needs. WebMD discusses ways that family members can cope with a loved one’s alcoholism. A support group for families of alcoholics can help you relate with others who understand your situation, and other participants may give you suggestions for getting your loved one into treatment.

Try to have a ritual, such as Friday night dinner together, as often as possible. This can help solidify a family bond despite the problems going on, which is beneficial for all family members. Have sober family outings such as a movie, the park, or dinner out to take a break from stress at home. Take special consideration for young children, and make sure they are socializing and experiencing healthy activities outside the home.

*Hire an Interventionist

If you are ready to encourage your family member to get treatment, consider hiring an interventionist. A professional interventionist not only plans the actual intervention, but will help you prepare emotionally and serve as an unbiased mediator. They will advise you on what kind of treatment is right for your loved one, and even provide transportation to the treatment center or airport if your family member agrees to get help.

How to Find Treatment for an Alcoholic Family Member

If you think your spouse, parent or child is an alcoholic, do what you can to encourage them to get treatment. Try to research for treatment options like private inpatient or outpatient rehabs and speak openly to your loved one about your concern for their drinking. The most important thing is to take action – your loved one won’t stop drinking if they face no consequences. Show support for them without excusing bad behavior or enabling their drinking. Encourage them to get help, and consider attending counseling or a support group to get through this difficult time. If you would like to learn more about options to help an alcoholic family member, call our toll-free helpline to speak with one of our counselors. We can connect you with a treatment program that can advise you on the best way to get your loved one the help they need.

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