Alcoholism in the family - Part 4: Tips to help a parent with alcohol addiction

Alcoholism in the family – Part 4: Tips to help a parent with alcohol addiction

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 15.1 million American adults in the age group of 18 and above had alcohol use disorder (AUD) in 2015, including 9.8 million men and 5.3 million women. Though commonly considered as a behavioral problem, alcoholism is more of a preventable disorder that needs adequate care and treatment to ensure recovery.

Besides causing significant damages to a person’s physical and psychological state, it causes nuisance to family members and those closely associated with the person. Being highly addictive, alcohol, one of the most commonly abused substance, accounts for nearly 88,000 deaths in the United States. This makes alcohol the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S.

According to a study conducted in 2012, over 10 percent of the children in the U.S. live with a parent with alcohol problems. Besides affecting a person’s emotional well-being, alcohol abuse can adversely impact a person’s health, family, society, career, finance and daily life.

Though alcohol is popularly accepted in many cultures, the consumption of alcohol even in moderate amounts can cause serious implications, such as mental disorders, heart diseases, fibrosis, etc. A person who engages in regular drinking often develops increased dependence on alcohol, which later transforms into an addiction.

It is often difficult to draw a line between social drinking and heavy drinking. However, if a person’s drinking habits affect his or her health and the surroundings, as well as creates several inconveniences to both family and community, he or she is said to be having the problem of drinking.

Assisting parents to curb their addiction

It is essential for children to try understanding the causes of their parents’ addiction. Several factors, such as mental health, biological factors, environment, traumatic experience, etc., can influence a person to indulge in drinking. In most cases, it is difficult to identify the exact reason. Several evidences suggest that people wrestling depression or bipolar disorder have the increased risk of alcohol addiction. Some of the ways that children can help their parents with alcohol addiction are detailed below:

  • One should avoid arguing with his or her parent when in an inebriated condition as there are chances of a discussion turning into an altercation. A heated argument can worsen things by increasing the risk of injury. One is recommended to try talking to his or her parents when they are sober.
  • One should not be afraid of sharing his or her problems with someone whom he or she trusts. By talk to a family friend or a counselor, one can handle his or her alcoholic parent more effectively.
  • By helping their alcoholic parents and highlighting their importance in their life, children can efficiently guide them toward a healthier life. One should never force a person to stop drinking.
  • One should not facilitate a parent’s alcohol obsession by purchasing or making drinks for them. Moreover, one should also not offer any monetary help to his or her parents to buy alcohol.
  • An individual can help their parents to indulge in a hobby or things they would like to do, like reading, swimming, gardening, playing tennis etc. Being a part of different activities can help the parents take their mind off alcohol.

Path to recovery

Every addiction comes with a set of warning signs and consequences. Therefore, it is important to know the ways to identify the warning signs before things get out of hand. The common signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse include:

  • Resorting to drinking as a means to alleviate stress or relax
  • Facing repetitive legal problems due to drunk driving and fighting under the influence of alcohol.
  • Neglecting work, escaping commitments and drop in performance
  • Change in behavior
  • Other factors, such as insomnia, obesity, liver damage and other health-related problems

Keeping a note of such signs will help one to grasp the problem and seek help immediately. Alcoholism is a disease that is treatable through appropriate treatment measures and unconditional support. By removing the biased views and stigmas attached to drinking, one can assist a person in leading a healthy life.

If you find any symptoms of alcohol abuse in your parents, connect to the Alcohol Addiction Helpline of California. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-980-1715 or chat online to know about the alcohol treatment centers in California that can help your parents lead a sober life.

Read the other parts of the series, “Alcoholism in the family:”

Part 1: Living with parents addicted to alcohol

Part 2: Alcohol and its effect on an unborn child

Part 3: Long-term impact on health and relationships

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