How Do I Speak To An Alcoholic About Their Illness?

Address alcoholism & speak to an alcoholic about their illness

It can be quite a challenge to find the right way and tone to speak to an alcoholic about their illness. Anyone who notices the typical behavioral patterns of alcoholics in their partner, mother or father, best friend or their own child, should, on the one hand, be really sure before addressing the topic, but on the other hand not hesitate too long.

Chronically morbid alcohol consumption can lead to serious damage to health. The longer the heavy alcohol abuse lasts, the greater the risk of dramatic secondary diseases. For relatives, it is, therefore, a fine line that they have to walk on.

Beware of co-dependency

On the one hand, they want to protect their own husband or wife from the consequences of alcohol addiction. At the same time, however, they do not want to offend those affected. It is not uncommon for this to develop into a so-called co-dependency.

In such a case, the family members and friends as co-dependent become part of the disease. They then unknowingly support alcoholism through their own behavior and actions.

If you want to speak to an alcoholic about their illness and address the issue of alcohol, you should choose a quiet moment with the person concerned. Do not use door-to-door conversations or drop side comments, as these will likely lead to defiant reactions or to the alcoholic withdrawing.

In addition, you should not attempt to confront the person concerned with accusations or blame. The same goes for making promises. If this happens under duress, the alcohol addict usually cannot and does not want to be bound to it, or only inadequately.

Remaining calm in the conversation, offering help and showing support is much more productive. Family members should stop the conversation with the sick person once they notice that the situation is escalating. Sometimes the person suffering from alcoholism can become aggressive or defiant. Here, too, the conversation should be interrupted.

It then makes more sense to seek psychological support yourself and possibly first to seek a conversation with an addiction counseling center or an addiction clinic on your own.

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Why do alcoholics have to change their behavior by themselves?

Often the irregular glass of beer or the occasional glass of wine turns into two to three liters of beer or one or two bottles of wine every day. Therefore, not only friends and family are in demand, but first and foremost the alcoholic himself.

Insight into the disease is one of the most important prerequisites. As a father, mother, man, woman or child, one can accompany the alcoholic on the way to this insight. Signal support and offering talks and declare your willingness to actively participate in therapy often helps the affected.

Ultimately, however, the person suffering from the various alcohol addiction symptoms has to rethink his or her actions. It is essential that he classifies them as pathological. Only then can inpatient treatment in an addiction clinic with qualified alcohol detoxification and alcohol cessation take place.

Only in this way can people affected by an addiction find their way back to a normal life in the long term and overcome their mental and physical dependence.

How does it continue after the acknowledgement?

The physical signs and psychological symptoms are clear and the person concerned would like to face their alcohol dependence on their own initiative. It is now important to seek professional help and under no circumstances do cold withdrawal at home.

The best chance of success offers a warm withdrawal with subsequent processing of the addiction development. Here, medication reliefs the withdrawal symptoms and professionals closely monitor the vital functions of the person affected.

The development of new solutions, extensive relapse prevention and a sustainable aftercare concept stabilize the patient and prepare him optimally for a life without alcohol. Possible contacts for initiating warm withdrawal are the treating doctor, an outpatient addiction counseling center or an addiction clinic.

The quickest way to withdraw is in a private withdrawal clinic. There detoxification and weaning take place together or in immediate succession. In the case of public institutions, there is usually a considerable waiting time.

In addition, they usually provide alcohol detoxification and alcohol cessation in two separate steps, which, therefore, carry a high risk of relapse during the treatment break.

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Dealing with relapses

Alcoholism cannot be “erased”. Anyone who has ever been addicted to alcohol has to decide again and again against alcohol even after successfully completing an alcoholism therapy.

Any glass can cause severe relapse. Even if the first alcoholic drink seems to have no consequences after a long time, consumption is usually back to the old level within a very short time.

The road out of alcohol addiction is long and difficult. Professionals, therefore, prepare the patient to deal with possible relapses. Relapses are common and it is important that those affected see them not as a personal failure but as part of the learning process. It is then important to recognize what triggers the relapse. In this way, they can be averted in time in the future.

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Support groups

After the therapy, self-help groups make a significant contribution to staying stable. The topic of alcohol addiction remains present through the regular meetings. That protects against relapses.

In the group, those affected find support and an understanding that those not affected cannot muster. Some arrange personal mentors whom they can contact in an emergency.

Without therapy, the average life expectancy of an alcoholic is reduced by twelve years. The most common causes of death are suicide, accidents, liver failure, heart disease and cancer.

Despite the consistent use of all therapeutic options, only 45 percent of former alcoholics are still abstinent four years after the end of therapy. However, those who are not deterred by relapses can get their alcohol addiction under control in the long term.

Dear co-creators

I hope this article can be helpful to you and encourage you to speak to an alcoholic about their illness. Alcoholism is a serious and underrated topic. It’s a disease that’s all too often brushed under the rug. If left untreated, alcoholism usually remains a constant companion in life until – often premature death.

People also often don’t recognize alcoholism in old age. Others then quickly ascribe falls or cognitive deficits to old age instead of addiction.

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