Alcohol use disorder, also known as alcoholism, is a chronic medical condition. It is characterized by a person not controlling the urge to drink alcohol. Most people suffering from this condition try different methods to get rid of the addiction, but it mainly yields no positive results. Thankfully, several studies about Medical Cannabis and Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) have pointed towards the effectiveness of medical cannabis in treating this condition.
It’s often frustrating and challenging to watch your loved one struggle with alcohol use disorder. With most people not understanding the disease, it becomes increasingly difficult to help out. So if someone close to you is suffering from this condition and you are looking for ways to help them, you are on the right page. Here we will discuss various ways to do that.
Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder
Most people often assume that alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a problem that can be dealt with through solid willpower and discipline. Such assumption is false; AUD is a mental condition that can’t be dealt with without the help of medical professionals. Alcohol consumption can be a social habit or a coping mechanism; hence it’s crucial to understand the symptoms of alcohol use disorder before you conclude that your loved one is suffering from the condition.
Symptoms of alcohol use disorder are usually based on such an individual’s physical and behavioral outcome. The first physical symptom you’ll notice in a person suffering from AUD is that such a person doesn’t drink in moderation. Usually, they start using alcohol as a coping mechanism and gradually increase to excessive consumption.
Excess consumption indicates that alcohol has induced an alteration in the person’s brain and caused the person to crave more. Other physical symptoms include; nausea, vomiting, blacking out, withdrawal, and emotional imbalance such as shaking and lack of concentration when not consuming alcohol.
Other typical behavior symptoms include; skipping meals, poor personal hygiene, drinking alone, getting angry when accused of their drinking habit, and many more.
How to be Supportive to A Person with Alcohol Use Disorder
After you’ve learned about the symptoms of AUD, the next step is to approach the person exhibiting those symptoms in a supportive manner. Nobody likes to be accused of having a bad habit or an addiction; hence, you should show compassion. Tell your loved ones that you love them, and you’ll help them get through the disorder. The following are some tips for conversing with a person with alcohol use disorder
- Discuss in a Private Place
Timing and location matter when approaching a person with AUD. Don’t discuss in a public place because such a person will feel uncomfortable and might feel embarrassed. Ensure that they feel comfortable in a private place and are ready to talk.
- Ask Questions
Questioning them is a great way to learn about their conditions. However, before you start asking questions, let the person know that you’re concerned about their condition, you love them, and you want to help them get through the difficult period. After that, gradually chip in questions like ”what caused the excessive alcohol consumption”. It could be anxiety, loneliness, stress, frustration, boredom, and more. You might not get a straightforward response, or the person might snap at you. It’s essential to prepare yourself for various responses and avoid getting angry or discouraged.
- Suggest treatment options
Let your loved one know that the alcohol use disorder affects their health and the family. Make them understand that they need medical treatment to get through the condition.
Treatment Options For Alcohol Use Disorder
Various options are available for treating AUD. The choice of treatment is dependent on the stability of the person’s living condition, the degree of alcohol consumption, and the resultant health conditions caused by the disorder. Some of the standard treatments include:
- Behavioral treatments
These treatments could be family, group, or individual therapy. Behavioral treatment will help the person identify the cause of the problem, identify triggers, discover how to reduce and stop drinking, and mend broken relationships and family.
- Rehabilitation treatment
Rehab treatment is also called residential treatment; it offers intensive care for alcohol use disorder. Your loved one will reside in a rehab facility for 1-3 months with this treatment method. During these periods, the person will receive detoxification, medications, and therapy.
- Support Groups
When your loved one experiencing AUD attends support groups, they will meet other people experiencing similar problems. Support groups will help AUD patients discuss their issues and get advice from people with the same condition.
The most important way to support a person with AUD is to accompany them to therapy and support groups. You should also visit them at rehabs and follow them for doctor’s appointments. You should be patient with them through the recovery process and show them vital support and love.