According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics alcohol abuse, alcohol use disorder, and alcoholism combine to cause the deaths of about 95,000 Americans each year. About 7% of adults who drink have AUD, and more than half of people have started drinking more since COVID-19 lockdowns began. If you suspect someone you love is abusing alcohol and drinks too much, chances are you want to help. This guide will provide you with information to do so.
How To Recognize Alcohol Abuse
If you notice someone you love (or even yourself) drinking more than normal, it will help to know the first signs of alcoholism so that you can spot them. There is no exact formula that proves someone is abusing alcohol, but there are things to look for. If any of the following occur, especially routinely, it is a good indication that alcohol abuse disorder is at play.
- Becoming more distant from friends or family, especially those who don’t drink
- Changing who you hang out with most regularly
- Choosing to drink instead of tending to responsibilities or go to non-alcoholic functions
- Drinking alone or hiding how much you consume
- Exhibiting irritability or mood swings when not drinking
- Experiencing blackouts when drinking
- Feeling hungover after drinking
- Making excuses to drink more
How To Talk To Someone About Alcohol Consumption
Before talking to your loved one, practice what you’re going to say. Create a “script” of positive, supportive statements that let the person know that you are available and care for him or her. Avoid using phrasing that is negative, presumptuous about the situation, or hurtful. You will sound less accusatory if you use “I” statements but bring up specific concerns, such as violence or financial problems. Make sure the person knows that you love him or her and avoid accusing the person of being an alcoholic.
Talking at the right time and in the right place is also important. Choose a place that is private, quiet, and not likely to experience any interruptions or distractions. Avoid times when the person may be preoccupied with other family members, work, or other issues. Do your best to choose a time when you know the person is sober and not upset about anything. This way, he or she is more likely to be receptive to what you have to say.
How To Provide Resources for Someone Who Drinks Too Much
There are a variety of treatment options for people who have become too reliant on alcohol. Having some of these resources readily available when you talk to your loved one. If the person has a primary care doctor, offer to go with him or her to an appointment to discuss the person’s drinking patterns and have the doctor recommend a course of treatment. Behavior treatment or residential treatment programs are options as well. Finally, provide support group information for your loved one. Many people attend Alcoholics Anonymous or other support groups.
If you or someone you love is having trouble controlling how much alcohol you consume, drinks too much then you are not alone. Talking to someone who can provide support and give you the resources you need to regain your life.