Fighting Alcohol Addiction – Four Ways You Can Help a Loved One
- Wednesday, 07 August 2013 11:00
Family Guidance Center
Nobody expects to wake up one morning only to realize that he or she is addicted to alcohol. But research shows that around 10 percent of Americans have a problem with alcohol. Alcoholism is a disease, and though many people have good intentions to remain sober, that can be difficult without proper treatment and support networks in place – similar to the steps that would be required to manage any other disease.
Alcoholism is often a family disease, meaning its effects are not self-contained or isolated to just the affected person. In fact, for every individual living with alcoholism, there are six or more people who are also impacted by the disease. This is why counseling and treatment often involve the entire family. If someone in your family needs help with alcoholism, there are things you can do aid in the recovery process.
Express your feelings. Let your loved one know that you are concerned for his safety and well-being. By taking the first step and expressing your own feelings, you make it easier for others to do the same. Be prepared to confront denial, however, as many individuals living with alcoholism may have a difficult time admitting to even themselves (at least at first) that they have a problem.
Encourage treatment. Many support groups like AA and Al-Anon exist to help those living with alcoholism and their families know that they are not alone. These groups improve odds of recovery as they foster feelings of acceptance and support.
Offer support. Advise that you will do what it takes to help the affected person get better. Studies show that dependent individuals are more successful in their sobriety when they are surrounded by strong support systems. Additionally, those who stay sober for 12 consecutive months have good chance of staying clean for the remainder of their life.
Stage an intervention. As a last resort, interventions can be beneficial for loved ones in denial or those who remain resistant to seeking treatment. Alcoholism is a progressive disease, and symptoms cannot be ignored. Include people who are close to the individual and those who are more apt to sway their decision to get help.
Family Guidance Center can help steer you in the right direction regarding treatment and recovery for alcohol addiction. There are many reasons and factors why individuals use alcohol as a coping mechanism; there are also many effective strategies for successfully managing triggers for a lifetime. Family Guidance Center has trained professionals in the Addiction Treatment Services program who can help those living with alcoholism to enjoy a productive life free from addiction.
April Marks National Alcohol Awareness Month
- Monday, 22 April 2013 23:25
Family Guidance Center
Alcohol-use disorders affect over 18 million people living across the country. But the effects of alcohol are even broader still – children, spouses, other loved ones, and friends also carry the burden of alcoholism. It is estimated that a quarter of all American children have resided in households where one or more family members had an alcohol problem.
According to a report revealed on NCADD’s website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that alcohol abuse costs the U.S. economy somewhere in the neighborhood of $223.5 billion each year. The price associated with alcohol abuse comes in the form of lost productivity at work, increased healthcare costs, extra burdens on the legal and criminal justice systems, and vehicular accidents stemming from intoxication.
This year marks the 27th anniversary that the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) has sponsored Alcohol Awareness Month. Since 1987, every April the organization calls awareness to the issue in the hopes of educating the public regarding the dangers of alcohol and reducing stigma that frequently stands in the way of people getting help.
This year’s theme is entitled “Help for Today. Hope for Tomorrow,” and highlights the importance of early prevention and treatment efforts. Data shows that adolescent alcohol use which precedes the age of 15 quadruples a person’s risk of developing an adult-onset alcohol addiction as compared to those who didn’t start consuming alcohol until at least the age of 20.
Children with poor support networks or those with depression or anxiety are at higher risk of alcohol abuse. So are kids who experience trouble in school or who have family members who abuse alcohol. Studies show that children do care what their parents think about underage drinking and that parental involvement and education are key to decreasing levels of alcohol consumption.
Alcohol use is tied to higher instances of crime, divorce, car accidents, and domestic abuse. If you or someone you love needs help coping with alcoholism, the Family Guidance Center can help you take those first critical steps toward sobriety and living a happier, healthier life.
Alcoholism is a Family Disease
- Monday, 01 April 2013 23:15
Family Guidance Center
Parents with issues of alcoholism don’t cope with the disease alone. Alcoholism is a condition that impacts every member of the family from spouses to children. Children are especially vulnerable as they may feel partially responsible for alcohol-related problems, failing to comprehend the complications related to addiction.
According to a Livestrong article, children whose parents are affected by alcoholism have healthcare costs that are nearly a third higher than children of non-alcoholic parents. The risk of child abuse and childhood mental and physical health problems also rises when children have one or more parent living with alcoholism.
Expectant mothers are warned of the dangers of drinking during gestation as it can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome, developmental abnormalities, and termination of the pregnancy. Prenatal alcohol consumption has also been tied to the onset of learning disabilities.
Alcohol related difficulties often weigh heavily on families. According to ProjectKnow.com, the development of poor self-esteem, shame, guilt, fear, or depression in children could stem from parental levels of alcohol abuse. Kids may even struggle in school or have trouble forming relationships because of such problems at home. These children may feel that they are somehow to blame for household arguments and are forced to grow up much more quickly than normal. Worse, they may repeat the cycle and live with addiction themselves as adults.
In fact, figures from the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI) shows that children of alcoholics are at quadruple the risk of other children of having problematic drinking patterns. They are also more likely to marry others whose families have histories of alcoholism. Additional complications from alcohol can result in broken communication, divorce and even violence.
Family members wishing to get help for alcohol-related problems should contact the Family Guidance Center. Mental health professionals at the Family Guidance Center offer confidential support and programs to assist families living with addiction so that they can resume healthy, productive lives.
Alcoholism: Confronting Chronic Denial
- Monday, 11 March 2013 23:05
Family Guidance Center
The disease of alcoholism is often tied to two symptoms that allow it to perpetuate, sometimes undetected, over time – denial and validation. Though not specifically referenced in diagnostic criteria, both symptoms are widely-known to be associated with the disease. Both denial on the part of the person affected and a feeling of validation, either by the person or by family and friends, can serve as significant barriers to treatment and recovery.
Denial is one of the main mechanisms by which the cycle of alcoholism continues despite negative consequences. A person’s level of denial is usually tied to the strength of the addiction. This helps explain why some people drink despite losing a job or being threatened with divorce.
However, denial affects people to different degrees. Some people are more aware of problematic drinking than others, meaning they may be more receptive to treatment. New treatment methods are taking this fact into account and are altering therapy based on a person’s level of readiness for change.
According to a report from PsychCentral, family members and friends can also be in denial about their loved one’s behavior, explaining it away instead as depression, bad health, hot temperament, anxiety or various other conditions. Children of alcoholics may only recognize a problem upon growing up because of the denial that might have existed on both ends. Societal stigma regarding alcoholism often serves to further the cycle of denial; for this reason some families have chosen to simply ignore or hide the issue.
Well-meaning loved ones may also enable patterns of substance abuse without even knowing it. They often have good intentions but the results can be destructive. When those close the person living with addiction either validate or enable the patterns of consumption, those living with the disease are prevented from facing the consequences of their actions and the disease is allowed to continue.
If you feel like someone you care about may be living with addiction to alcohol, the experts at the Family Guidance Center can help. Addiction or dependence on alcohol is highly treatable with the right resources. Family Guidance Center can connect individuals and their families with resources which aid in understanding and working through issues underlying addiction. For more information on substance addiction, contact the Family Guidance Center.
Drinking Increases Risk of Divorce
- Monday, 25 February 2013 17:08
Family Guidance Center
Alcohol addiction has often been called a family disease. Dependency takes a toll on relationships because symptoms don’t occur in isolation. Chronic alcohol use can inhibit functioning and make it hard for affected individuals to complete routine tasks. A new study shows that alcohol abuse is often the source of marital conflict and has also been linked with higher instances of divorce.
Researchers from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health have found that excess alcohol consumption is a public health issue for most Western countries. They also uncovered that alcohol has predictive value when it comes to foretelling whether or not a couple’s marriage will last – especially when one partner only drinks in moderation while the other consumes heavily.
Investigators re-examined data from nearly 20,000 married couples collected between 1984 and 1986 using regression analysis. Study author Fartein Ask Torvik says findings indicate that the more a person drinks, the higher his or risk of divorce will be.
Interestingly, women who drank heavily had a higher divorce rate than men who did the same. Torik believes this could be because heavy drinking in women is not as widely accepted by society. Other explanations include that alcohol consumption is biologically more impairing for females than males or that excess consumption can interfere with a woman’s role as wife or mother. In any case, marriages where the wife drank heavily and the husband only drank in moderation experienced divorce rates that were triple that of couples who only drank lightly.
The study, which is covered in an MNT article, also shows that two heavy drinkers have a higher likelihood of divorce.
Investigators suggest that in addition to divorce, alcohol may be responsible for other social issues or health problems. The effects of familial alcoholism can also be felt by children. Mental health professionals at the Family Guidance Center can provide support and addiction treatment services for families affected by alcoholism. For more information on local programs, contact the Family Guidance Center today.