Having a loved one who is struggling with alcoholism can leave you feeling a wide range of emotions. At the end of the day, you love the person whether he or she is your spouse, parent, child or friend. Addiction is a very tricky disease, and it may leave you asking yourself how to help an alcoholic. It’s important to understand the disease of addiction first so you can know what’s happening in his or her head.
Understanding the Disease of Addiction
If your loved one is showing signs of alcoholism, you’ve probably noticed that he or she becomes very defensive. Often, this happens because his or her brain has gone through fairly drastic changes.
Everyone has the need to seek out pleasure, but the brain of a healthy person stops him or her when that pleasure will start having severe consequences. Addiction kicks in a person’s survival instincts, so even if he or she knows that there are consequences, the brain disregards them.
What happens in the pleasure system of a person with an addiction is that the brain runs unrestrained. In addition, the prefrontal cortex has a problem. Its main job is to moderate the pleasure system of the brain. However, it also has many other vital responsibilities. When the prefrontal cortex isn’t functioning properly, it can cause a variety of behavioral issues. This happens because the other responsibilities of the prefrontal cortex include:
- Impulse control
- Emotional regulation
- Logical decision making
How to Help an Alcoholic
The next thing you need to know is that the best way for your loved one to recover is by going to addiction treatment. One issue that many people have is that they think that they can help the person recover from addiction themselves. The harsh reality is that believing your love can fix the problem may actually be enabling the person’s drinking. You’ve been suffering too, so it’s important for you and your loved one to begin healing separately.
The easiest thing you can do is have a personal conversation with your loved one and suggest the idea of alcohol rehab treatment. Sometimes the person knew they had a problem, but they didn’t even think about treatment as an option. This is an informal intervention, and it’s simply suggesting to the person that he or she needs help. This can work when the person is in his or her early stages of addiction or ready to get help.
When a Formal Intervention is Necessary
You may have seen shows or movies that display what a formal intervention looks like. All of the close loved ones to the person sit him or her down to explain that he or she needs help. Before you do this, you should always consult some type of addiction specialist to learn the best practices for how to help an alcoholic. In this type of setting, the person can feel attacked and sometimes the purpose of the intervention gets off track.
If your loved one is ready to get the help they need, call Pinnacle Peak Recovery today at 866-377-4761.