How to Get Your Alcoholic Loved One into Treatment

Alcoholism is a serious condition that can have an immense impact on the struggling person’s life, as well as on those who care for them. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult for someone who is suffering from alcohol use disorder (AUD) to recognize their need for help and make the decision to seek treatment. As a result, family members and friends of an individual struggling with AUD may feel powerless in helping their alcoholic loved one get proper medical help.1

Identify the Warning Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse 

There are several warning signs that can indicate a person may be at risk of developing AUD or already has an AUD. Here’s a list of several common warning signs and potential risks associated with alcohol abuse:2

  1. Cravings for Alcohol: An individual who experiences cravings for alcohol likely has an underlying physical dependence on the substance, which could lead to further addiction down the line. This could manifest itself in both psychological and physical symptoms of distress, restlessness, anxiety, racing thoughts, nausea, headaches, insomnia and more.
  2. Loss of Control: When someone repeatedly drinks too much despite knowing the negative effects it can have on their body and their lives, they may be showing a sign of loss of control over their drinking habits. This symptom is often seen in people who struggle with AUD. They may make promises to themselves or others that they will not drink, but then find themselves unable to resist the urge when presented with the opportunity.
  3. Risk-Taking Behavior: Individuals who abuse alcohol often engage in excessive risk-taking behavior while under the influence such as driving while intoxicated, engaging in unprotected intercourse, or taking other dangerous chances without considering possible consequences. While this type of behavior may be more common in younger people abusing alcohol, it can be a sign of a disorder in older individuals as well.
  4. Neglecting Responsibilities: A person abusing alcohol may begin neglecting their responsibilities either directly, due to regularly being intoxicated, or indirectly, due to spending more time drinking or recovering from a hangover rather than tending to work or family duties. If someone begins missing work due to hangovers or disregards commitments made at home with little regard for consequences, this could indicate that they have a problem with AUD.
  5. Social Withdrawal: Individuals who are struggling with AUD often withdraw from social activities and environments that would otherwise offer them pleasure and enjoyment if they were free from addiction. This can also be a sign of depression, which often accompanies addiction. They might start avoiding family gatherings or events with their friends and stay home alone instead, which can lead them into further isolation and depression over time if left unchecked.
  6. Improving Tolerance Levels: An individual struggling with AUD might experience increased tolerance levels over time. Their bodies may become accustomed to larger amounts of alcohol. This typically means that they’ll need more and more drinks than usual to become intoxicated.

These are just some general warning signs that might indicate someone is potentially suffering from AUD. However, it’s important to remember that everyone is different so another person might display different symptoms depending on what stage they’re at with their condition.

How To Discover Your Loved One’s Need for Alcohol Addiction Treatment?

Discovering that someone close to us has an alcohol addiction can be stressful. However, recognizing the signs of addiction early on can improve the chances of helping them get the necessary treatment they need to become sober.3

The struggling individual’s family members and friends can look out for common signs such as frequent use of alcohol, changes in their behavior while under the influence, problems at work or school due to drinking, and social withdrawal. Furthermore, if they’re constantly craving alcohol and unable to limit their own intake, it could be an indication that they have an addiction.3

If you suspect someone you care about may be struggling with an addiction, it’s important to reach out for professional help. It’s usually recommended to start by talking to a family physician about possible treatment options. They may be able to provide referrals for specialized care clinics or support groups for individuals fighting AUD.3

Additionally, there are many online resources available to get informed about the risks associated with alcoholism and how best to approach and help an alcoholic loved one with the issue. The most important thing is to create a safe environment where the struggling individual can openly talk about their struggles without feeling judged or shamed. With patience and understanding, it may be possible for them to find the help they need in order to gain sobriety and make healthier choices going forward.3

How to Help Your Loved Ones at the Right Time for Addiction Treatment?  

The first step in helping an alcoholic loved one find the necessary treatment is to create an environment of support and understanding. It’s vital that the person trying to help communicates their love and compassion while also being firm about their belief that the struggling individual needs professional help. The struggling individual’s family and friends may get better results if they don’t blame or judge them but listen actively to what they have to say so they can better understand their needs and concerns when it comes to getting professional treatment. 

It may also be beneficial to contact a professional therapist or counselor who specializes in working with individuals who are struggling with substance abuse issues like AUD. They can likely assess the severity of the condition and recommend appropriate interventions or treatments based on individual needs. Professional guidance may also be helpful in creating a tailored recovery plan that takes into account any specific mental health or emotional issues that may accompany AUD.4

Finally, the person attempting to help the struggling individual may experience negative effects on their own mental health during this process, which is why it’s important that they take care of themselves, too. Whether through talking to a therapist or joining Al-Anon, a support group for family members of individuals struggling with AUD, the struggling individual’s helper should get help if they need it. They can develop relationships with other people who have similar struggles, which could further support their efforts in convincing the individual struggling with AUD of their need for professional intervention.4,11

What are Family interventions? 

Family interventions for alcoholic loved ones may in some cases help the individual suffering from this disease. Family interventions typically involve family members and close friends gathering together in order to confront the afflicted individual with their behavior, while also providing support and encouragement toward recovery.5

This is usually done in a therapeutic environment, where an intervention facilitator can lead and guide discussions. The struggling individual will likely be encouraged to get professional help at a treatment facility and be enabled to research their treatment options with their family’s support.5

What Should You Do If Your Loved One Is Refusing Treatment?  

The individual struggling with AUD may refuse treatment, which may be stressful for the person who wishes to help them. However, there are still a few things that friends and family of the struggling individual can do to motivate and encourage their alcoholic loved one to seek the help they need.6,7

A firmer approach may help at this stage. Compassionately, but firmly informing the struggling individual of the support that you are willing to give so long as they seek treatment may be a beneficial approach. It’s important to set limits and stick to them, such as cutting off financial assistance or not allowing alcohol into the home. Remember to take care of yourself during this time – get plenty of rest, eat healthily, and talk to a professional if needed – since helping another person suffering from AUD is an immense task. Even if your loved one refuses treatment at first, you may choose to keep reminding them that you will help if they change their mind.6,7

How to Find Effective Alcohol Abuse Treatment Options?

Thankfully, there are resources available to help those affected by AUD to get the treatment they need. When searching for effective treatment options, it’s important to have an understanding of the program requirements and whether the struggling individual’s situation matches the program’s settings.3

Additionally, the treatment-seeking individual or their family and friends helping them should take into consideration the struggling individual’s current insurance coverage and find out whether it covers any kind of support required during this time.3

Consulting with a rehab navigator can also provide you or your alcoholic loved one with help and insight into which type of program could yield the best results given the struggling individual’s particular situation. Finally, the person seeking treatment and help for their alcoholic loved one should make sure that any facility they select has established professional affiliations and offers resources such as a 24/7 hotline and aftercare services when needed.3

How To Choose the Right Rehab Facility for Your Loved Ones? 

If you’re looking for a reliable treatment program for an individual struggling with AUD or for yourself, American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a great option. They provide comprehensive treatment programs and support services that can help individuals suffering from AUD, whether they are high-functioning or not.

Their team of experienced navigators is available to speak with struggling individuals and help them find the right facility for their individual needs that matches their financial ability at the moment. This includes determining a diagnosis, finding an appropriate treatment plan, providing medication when necessary, as well as helping struggling individuals with detoxification and alleviation of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

AAC specializes in treating all stages of alcohol addiction by providing personalized care plans. Depending on an individual’s needs, various therapy approaches may be utilized during treatment including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

The treatment-seeking individual may have the chance to explore their reasons for drinking, to learn coping strategies, explore the effects that AUD has had on them and find a way to recover. Additionally, medications such as naltrexone or acamprosate may be prescribed to reduce withdrawal symptoms or cravings associated with AUD.

Frequently Asked Questions