Alcoholism causes emotional and physical health problems. A person suffering from this disease experiences the brunt of these problems, but people who are close to them are not spared of the emotional side effects of the person’s addiction. Family members of alcoholics can suffer from anxiety, depression, and shame related to their loved one’s addiction. An individual who is addicted to alcohol may try to shield their families from the impact of alcohol abuse, but isolating themselves does little to save them from the financial and emotional implications of alcoholism. In such a scenario, it is essential to get help for alcoholic family members as soon as possible so that everyone can be saved from long term emotional trauma.
Here’s how family members can help the alcoholic in their family and themselves:
Problems related to alcohol abuse don’t resolve themselves and need all family members to work together towards a common goal: getting treatment and therapy for the affected family member. Family counseling, more often than not, is considered to help families handle the cause of problems and develop robust solutions.
Supporting the alcoholic
Whether your family member decides to go to rehab or attend support groups, other members can help them while they try to recover from alcohol addiction. Moral support from family and friends is a significant component of recovery from alcohol use disorder.
Options for treatment
There are many services available when trying to gather help for alcoholic family members, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Understanding the many options available can be an essential first step:
Behavioral treatment– these are aimed at changing drinking behavior by counseling and are by health professionals.
Medications– medications that can help can be prescribed by a physician and can be used in combination with counseling.
Mutual support groups– There are several support groups where peer support helps people in quitting drinking.
Professionals working in the field of alcohol treatment can offer advice on how to choose the treatment program that would be ideal for your situation.
The need for help for alcoholic family members is an on-going process that can include setbacks. So patience and persistence is the key in case of relapse. It is rare that people get treatment and never drink again, so keeping track of their experience and being available at all times is crucial for progress.
Help for the family
Sometimes the person with addiction refuses treatment because they may be high functioning and hasn’t exhibited the worst effects of their addiction yet. This does not mean that family members should give up and do nothing. There are many ways to deal with an alcoholic. Counseling and support groups can benefit family members affected by someone else’s alcohol disorder.
There are programs targeted to support families who have an alcoholic family member, such as:
Parent support programs
Professional therapists provide parent support programs to help them effectively handle children and other family members with an alcohol use disorder.
Family counseling services
These counseling services are provided to families seeking support and help for their alcoholic family members. It aims to help them recognize when a loved one has a drinking problem and how to talk to them about it, along with managing challenging behaviors.
Alcoholism is a family disease – not because it is hereditary, but because it affects the whole family. It can have devastating impacts on spouses and children, and even siblings if they are young enough and sharing the same shelter. They may be at enhanced risk for emotional and physical abuse. Therapy combined with well-designed strategies can help everyone facing the impact of such circumstances.