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How to Help an Alcoholic?

August 13, 2020
Helping an alcoholic person

What begins with one glass of drink soon becomes an addiction unthought-of? Recovering from the disease of alcoholism is not an easy task. It requires immense patience, perseverance and commitment on the part of the individual as well as that of the family members. If you know someone who is suffering from alcohol addiction, you likely want to assist him in coming out from this terrible phase of life. 

So, let us begin our discussion on how to approach an alcoholic and help him in emerging victorious from this battle of life. We’ll cover the following:

  1. A broad understanding of the concept of alcoholism
  2. How to approach your family member and speak to him about treatment in the right place and time
  3. Understanding the development of alcoholism and staging an intervention 
  4. How to find out the de-addiction centres available in your city or town and the coverage of de-addiction in your medical treatment cover
  5. An overview of what is an effective treatment
  6. Understanding the necessity of a treatment programme and support provided before and after rehab

Understanding the Concept of Alcoholism

Primarily, we need to understand what alcohol addiction is. Alcohol addiction is a medical condition in which the individual feels an uncontrollable urge to drink, often large amounts of alcohol, at varying frequency. Due to this problem, the person might also face troubled relationships at home and workstation. 

At times, a person addicted to alcohol might not identify it as a problem. He might say that he drinks in moderation and would not be in a condition to admit it as a problem. Many do not admit honestly about this drinking addiction due to the social stigma attached to it.

Learn to recognise the symptoms of alcohol addiction such as feeling an uncontrollable urge to drink, drinking alone, not paying attention to personal hygiene, refraining from participating in social, or recreational activities due to alcohol consumption. Not only this, the individual might also experience withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, shaking and vomiting when he tries to do away with this drinking habit.

How to Approach an Alcoholic

The second step involves mustering courage and approaching the family member who has an alcohol problem. The vital point to note is that you need to find the right time and place, such as when the person is sober, and then approach him with this sensitive topic. 

Show your complete support to that individual and tell him what you have observed, such as large amounts of drinking, deteriorating health, other family members noticing, and broken relationships. Tell the person your concern that he is drinking too much and it’s negatively impacting their life. Ask the person if they would consider undergoing therapy or treatment. It is quite possible that the individual might not agree with your statements and may come up with negative retorts. But, this must not dissuade you from discussing the topic at length with your loved one. 

No matter what the reaction is, it’s important to remain calm and continue extending your support to the individual. Give time to him to think and listen to what he has to say. Offer your unconditional support to assist him in coming out of this situation.

You might also like to read —
How to live with an alcoholic parent?
How to live with an alcoholic spouse

Requiring an Intervention

You might like to involve other family members to help your loved one agree to the treatment for their drinking problem. 

An intervention might also be required if the individual opposes taking help on this issue. An intervention involves combining the task force of co-workers, family members and friends, and urging the alcoholic individual to seek assistance from a professional counsellor. 

A professional therapist can assist by offering advice on the various types of treatment available and also might help in suggesting the alcohol de-addiction centres functioning in your vicinity.

Do not think that the battle against alcohol is over now. You have to consistently support your beloved in this battle. Moreover, you also have to look after yourself in this journey so that you can be healthy and can have healthy relationships with others.So the most important thing is to tell your loved one that they are extremely important for you and extend your full support to him.

Finding the De-addiction Centres and Medical Insurance Cover

The next important step in the process of helping an alcoholic is to find out the list of de-addiction centres existing in your city and the surrounding area. This can be easily done with the help of the professional counsellor with whom your family member agrees to undergo treatment for alcohol de-addiction. For example, here’s the list of de-addiction centres existing in Delhi.

It is to be noted that the national toll free drug de-addiction helpline number is 1800-11-0031. Drug de-addiction centres are functioning in most of the states of the country. 

Now, it is time to check for your medical insurance cover. In case your family member has his personal medical cover, that person has to get this verified from the insurance company whether treatment for alcohol de-addiction is covered or not. If yes, then find out what’s included in the medical coverage.

In case not, then you will likely have to check for government hospitals which offer this treatment at reasonable rates in your city. Moreover, certain rehabilitation centres offer financial assistance, accept insurance and other finance options to aid the treatment process.

The Procedure of Effective Treatment

Having ascertained the hospital and the amount of medical assistance available at your disposal, try to discern which ones have effective treatment of alcohol de-addiction for your loved one. Indeed, the recovery process from alcohol addiction is tough and it undoubtedly requires the unflinching support of the family members. Now some believe that detoxification only is enough, while others would say detox is the first step and residential care is one of the most effective treatments.

Note that studies have proven that the recovery process has a higher likelihood of success given more time in treatment. Therefore, effective treatment often includes detoxification, rehabilitation, and aftercare. Alcoholics who have only participated in detoxification often have ended up with a relapse.

The objective of detoxification with the help of medicines is to remove the physical presence of alcohol (and drugs) safely, while the goal of a treatment program, often called ‘rehab,’ is to help address the social and psychological problems associated with this disease. Aftercare often includes regular follow-up with the therapist, participating in peer group activities, and taking proper nutritional diet and rest to support recovery.

Extending Full Cooperation to the Alcoholic Even After Rehab

Even after taking proper treatment, remember that your family member is NOT absolutely cured. Recovery is a lifelong journey. So after treatment, you should seek to talk and spend time with your loved one in ways that support their recovery. 

For instance, extend your full support to him by spending time either by playing games or taking a walk in the garden. In this way, you’re supporting him as he finds healthy activities to his time on. Engage in activities which reduce stress and avoid triggers (which are people, places or things that spark a strong craving to drink). The time duration of residential rehab can vary from 30 days, 60 days to 90 days depending upon the condition of the alcoholic. Completing the treatment under the supervision of the doctor will lead to better results for later life.

The above discussion underlines the reasons as to how you can help an alcoholic person overcome this addiction. Alcohol problems are certainly a menace in the emerging society across the world which should be tackled with the support of the government as well as that of the society. They are a burden both on families and society together. 

Present Scenario of Alcohol Consumption

As per a survey conducted by the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) under the AIIMS in Delhi, only one person in 38 alcohol addicts reported getting any treatment and one in 180 addicts reported getting inpatient treatment at a hospital. 

There are 16 crore people in the country (India) that have been reported consuming alcohol. With the changing times and transition in society, the pattern of drinking has also evolved. New drinking occasions are emerging, giving space to the manufacturing brands to come up with new ideas and brands.

Even though governments across the globe have imposed heavy taxes on alcohol, the rising disposable income has made it easy and convenient for individuals to get access to drinks. Alcohol consumption is the third largest risk factor associated with death and disability. The highest rates of alcohol consumption are found in the developed countries of the world followed by the developing nations with the emergence of disposable income at hand. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has taken out several guidelines to warn drinkers. However, the onus lies on the individual and the members of the community.