Author: James Anderson

How to help someone with alcohol use disorder addiction to alcohol

how to help an alcoholic

Alcohol use disorder, formerly known as alcoholism, is an addiction to alcohol. Someone with the condition is unable to stop or control their alcohol use. AUD is treatable and generally requires professional help. But what you cando is support your loved one in their recovery. And above all else, take steps to keep you and the rest of your household safe and healthy.

how to help an alcoholic

If someone is helping a person with AUD, they must be mindful not to enable drinking behavior. During AUD recovery, a person should focus on taking care of themselves and engaging in positive self-care behaviors. AUD is a serious condition where someone is unable to control their use and consumption of alcohol. AUD is different to binge and problem drinking as it is an addiction and is a formal diagnosis that experts base on a set of symptoms. If a person is worried that someone they know has alcohol use disorder (AUD), there are ways in which they can provide support.

Medical and non-medical addiction specialists

Odds are, your desire is no secret, either — which is why you should be wary if that person tries to “trade” a change in addictive behavior for something. Caring about someone with an alcohol addiction can lead to worry and sleepless nights. You might spend a lot of time thinking about your actions as it relates to their addiction, says Dr. Anand. By Buddy TBuddy T is a writer and founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee with decades of experience writing about alcoholism. Because he is a member of a support group that stresses the importance of anonymity at the public level, he does not use his photograph or his real name on this website.

Remember that an alcoholic is choosing the drink before his family and friends, and you’ll quickly find yourself repulsed by drinking yourself. Plan what you’ll say during the confrontationIn cases where a person is abusing any substance, including alcohol, a confrontation is inevitable. Whether it’s an intervention or a one-to-one talk, your knowledge about the nature of the addiction will come into play. You may want to bring up the fact addiction isn’t any different to other disorders, like diabetes, or cancer, for example. This way, you will not find yourself without anything to say and have more chances of persuading your loved one to undergo treatment.

When you live with someone experiencing alcoholism, avoid enablement. Enabling occurs when someone implicitly or explicitly encourages a person battling addiction to use alcohol. Enablers often give substance abusers money to support their habits. When your loved one drinks or is experiencing withdrawal symptoms, their mood can become unpredictable. They might be friendly one moment, only to become angry and violent the next. According to the Foundations Recovery Network, up to two-thirds of cases of alcohol-related violence occur in close interpersonal relationships.

“It’s not your duty to hide the results of their drinking so they avoid feeling any sort of embarrassment,” says Dr. Anand. Did a night of excessive drinking leave cans or bottles littering your living room floor? So, take a step back and let them deal with the after-effects of their addictive behavior. Enabling occurs when someone else covers up or makes excuses for the person who has a SUD.

Don’t Enable Their Behavior

There are several stages of recovery from alcoholism – and there might be several stages of persuading dependent individual to enroll in the treatment program. Behavioral treatments are aimed at changing drinking behavior through counseling. They are led by health professionals and supported by studies showing they can be beneficial. However, your participation can make a big difference. Based on clinical experience, many health providers believe that support from friends and family members is important in overcoming alcohol problems. But friends and family may feel unsure about how best to provide the support needed.

  1. Keep these pointers in mind so that you don’t unknowingly support their behavior.
  2. Research shows that about one-third of people who are treated for alcohol problems have no further symptoms 1 year later.
  3. For an online assessment of your drinking pattern, go to

All they care about is where their next drink is coming from. Never cover up for an alcoholicThis one is a no-brainer. Do not protect their substance use, even if it looks like they have learned the rules of safe drinking.

Groups for family and friends

It is important that the conversation happens when the person a friend or relative wants to help is sober. They are best to pick a place that is private, safe, and comfortable for both parties. If a person is worried someone they care about has AUD, they should consider the following steps. As with any addiction, there is a need to treat AUD as a serious health condition. A person with AUD is not to blame for the disorder, however. When living with someone who has AUD, it’s important to understand that you didn’t cause the addiction.

How to approach someone with a drinking problem

John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. He is the medical director at Alcohol Recovery Medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Make your tax-deductible gift and be a part of the cutting-edge research and care that’s changing medicine.