Helping Someone with a Drinking Problem

If someone you love is struggling with alcohol use, learning about the reasons behind behaviors like blaming can help you better support your addicted loved one as well as yourself. This overview covers the reasons why people often cope with alcohol addiction through blame, denial and lies. When a family changes behaviors that result in accountability for the addict, it allows their loved one to see things differently and consider a change. It is most effective to leave the talking and the guidance to the professionals.

getting someone who in denial help for alcoholism

Teens today experiment with alcohol earlier and more often than ever before. They’re more likely to binge drink and more vulnerable to developing an alcohol use disorder than adults. This may be because the pleasure center of a teen’s brain matures before their capacity to make sound decisions. Even if an intervention doesn’t work, you and others involved in your loved one’s life can make changes that may help.

Offer Solutions

Denial is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a refusal to admit the truth or reality of something.” In psychology, it’s a defense mechanism to avoid confronting a personal problem. It’s extremely common for people with alcohol use disorder (AUD) to resist the reality of their drinking problem. Al-Aanon, a Twelve-Step organization, is also a positive way to provide help family members struggling with an alcohol problem. If the person has not tried cutting back, you could suggest this strategy as a first step. Some people in the risky stages of substance use, or even in the early stage of addiction, are able to cut back and consistently use only minimal amounts in the future. When someone with a substance use or alcohol use disorder is in denial, it doesn’t mean they can’t see the way they’re using alcohol and drugs.

  • Until they begin to contemplate quitting, any actions you take to “help” them quit will often be met with resistance.
  • They may also struggle with an inability to be vulnerable and admit to their own shame.
  • The pain is often magnified when that person is in denial about how their addiction is affecting their lives and the lives of those around them.
  • The risks of alcoholism are well-documented and understood by most of the population, yet addiction continues.

However, it is the only path that holds promise for something better. As long as family members deny that there is a problem, the problem will progress along with suffering. People who overuse alcohol and drugs tend to have a hard time denial in alcoholism dealing with their emotions. You may rely on alcohol and drugs to help you escape from your feelings. Ark Behavioral Health offers 100% confidential substance abuse assessment and treatment placement tailored to your individual needs.

When to Get Help for Yourself With a Drinking Spouse

You, too, might realize that your relationship with alcohol is negatively affecting your life. And you might find that you feel healthier and happier without it. You suspect your spouse, close friend, or relative has a drinking problem.

getting someone who in denial help for alcoholism

Talking in and of itself rarely accomplishes the leap forward. If the addict is unwilling to change, the family can speak with their feet and not their lips. A clinician can use specific evidence-based communication strategies to help someone move from pre-contemplation to the next stage, contemplation. To find a treatment program, visit SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator. You may find, though — as many do — that people who can cut back are the exception, not the rule.

Communicate your boundaries

An intervention presents your loved one with a structured opportunity to make changes before things get even worse, and it can motivate him or her to seek or accept help. They equate their ability to complete certain tasks in the day as evidence they don’t have a problem with alcohol. Most functioning alcoholics would tell you they never miss a day of work or show up late with a hangover, so they must not have a problem. There may be very little you can do to help someone with AUD until they are ready to get help, but you can stop letting someone’s drinking problem dominate your thoughts and your life. It’s OK to make choices that are good for your own physical and mental health.

  • Millions of readers rely on for free, evidence-based resources to understand and navigate mental health challenges.
  • Families not ready to address their part will still benefit from starting the intervention process if they keep an open mind about addressing behaviors they can change.
  • Another nine-hundred thousand Americans between the ages of twelve and seventeen have alcohol use disorders.
  • You may tell yourself that surely there is something you can do.

Try to use “I” statements and avoid using labels such as alcoholic. Avoid being judgmental, but show support and offer suggestions about ways or places they can get help. These conversations can be tricky and emotional, so you may want to involve a therapist or counselor. If you think someone you know is in denial about their drug or alcohol use, try to be understanding and supportive. Only two of these symptoms within a year’s time are required for an alcohol use disorder diagnosis. If your spouse is in denial about the effects of alcohol use disorder, what can you do?

Ways to Present Rehab to a Loved One in Denial

In a 2015 study, almost 29% of participants didn’t seek treatment due to stigma or shame. People who are high functioning with a drinking problem “seem to have everything together,” says Matt Glowiak, PhD, LCPC, a certified advanced alcohol and drug counselor. They’re able to successfully manage tasks around their work, school, family, and finances, he says. The third .stage of denial is dismantled by the constant recommitment to active participation in the recovery support fellowship of your choice. This is the same way someone comes to accept being chemically dependent.

getting someone who in denial help for alcoholism

Mention the word “treatment” in relation to substance use and many people think of long-term residential facilities or detox. In fact, treatment includes both of these options — and a variety of others. It’s never too soon for you or for the person with an active addiction to seek help. Restore your own emotional stability and bring new direction and meaning to your life.