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Your friend seems to have crossed the line from being a casual drinker to a problem drinker, and you’re not sure what to do. This is an all-too-common situation.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) estimates that 17 million American adults and 855,000 adolescents (ages 12-17) have alcohol use disorder (AUD), previously known as alcohol dependence or alcoholism.
Unfortunately, people who struggle with AUD often hide how much they drink, deny they have a problem, or lie to themselves or others about their alcohol consumption. Some people with a drinking problem aren’t ready to change yet. Others may promise to change, but slip back into drinking.
How do you help someone with a drinking problem? Here are some ways to approach them:
Treating alcohol use disorder isn’t easy, and it doesn’t always work the first time around. Sadly, less than 10 percent of people with AUD receive any treatment.
The most successful treatment happens when a person wants to change. While you can urge your friend or loved one to get into a treatment program, you can’t force them to go. All you can do is offer your help. It’s up to them to decide if they’ll take it.
Once someone is ready to seek help, there are many treatment options available, including medications to ease withdrawal symptoms, therapy to understand the addiction and change behaviors, and long-term social support to maintain sobriety and avoid relapse.
Don’t consider your part done after your loved one starts treatment. Attend meetings with them if they are open to it. Offer to help out with work, childcare and household tasks. Stay invested in your loved one’s long-term recovery.
If you or a loved one needs help with drug or alcohol addiction, you aren’t alone. Get help at Linden Oaks Behavioral Health.
Parents, talk to your kids about the dangers of alcohol abuse. Get tips for talking to your teen about drugs and alcohol.
Learn signs your teen may be abusing alcohol
What alcohol does to your body
Binge drinking taken to a new level on college campuses
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