Alcohol is one of the most ancient parts of human culture. Because alcohol is legal, it often seems more benign than other addictive substances. However, alcohol can be just as addictive and lead to many physical behaviors and mental health problems. It’s important to know the signs of alcoholism and how to know if you or someone you love is becoming a functioning alcoholic.
If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse, you’re probably trying to find out how to talk about addiction with them. A Better State is here to help. Our Hudson, New Hampshire clinic provides the area with holistic, dual diagnosis treatment with a range of outpatient treatment programs for mental health and addiction. Reach our staff at 781.412.1488 to learn more about addiction recovery.
What Is Alcohol Addiction?
Alcohol addiction occurs when the brain and body rely on alcohol for chemical processing. When alcohol enters the bloodstream immediately slows down the body’s functions. By slowing down, the body people experience loss of coordination, slow reaction times, and the “mellow” feeling that comes with a drink. Alcohol also depresses a person’s mood. Signs of alcohol addiction include:
- Mood swings
- Craving alcohol
- Thinking about alcohol
- Secretive drinking
- Drug-seeking behavior
- Confusion without alcohol
- Chronic dehydration
When a person becomes addicted to alcohol, their brain and body go through withdrawal symptoms when they go for too many hours without alcohol in their bloodstream. Drinking alcohol can be a social or private way to self-soothe stress, difficult emotions, and traumatic memories. Social drinking implies enjoying alcohol with others, while drinking alone can be an early sign of addiction. Alcohol dependency occurs on a chemical level in the brain that cannot be treated by sheer willpower, making professional alcohol treatment programs necessary for recovery.
What Is a Functioning Alcoholic?
The behavior of a functioning alcoholic may be subtle or obvious. A functioning alcoholic may hide their drinking well or believe drinking enhances how they work or socialize. Your loved one may blatantly drink throughout the day and manage to function at work, school, or home despite intoxication. They may exhibit no signs of intoxication because they have developed a high alcohol tolerance.
Additionally, they may not experience hangovers and often continue drinking throughout the day. Because functioning alcoholics have a very high tolerance, they are at greater risk for health complications and relapse. They also need professional detox support to prevent relapse, overdose, and other complications.
How to Talk About Substance Abuse with a Loved One
If you’re worried about a loved one’s drinking, you must talk with them about your concerns. It can be challenging to have this conversation, but it’s important to remember that addiction is a disease. You wouldn’t judge someone for having cancer, and you shouldn’t judge someone for addiction, either. When approaching your loved one, it’s important to:
- Express your concerns in a non-judgmental way
- Offer your support
- Encourage them to seek professional help
In many cases, an intervention may be necessary to get your loved ones the needed help. An intervention is a meeting in which you and other close friends or family members express your concerns and offer support for professional addiction treatment. A professional interventionist can help you plan the meeting, but it’s important to remember that an intervention should always come from a place of love. The best course of action if you’re worried about a loved one’s drinking problem is to encourage them to get professional help.
Talking About Addiction with Family and Getting Help from A Better State
Realizing it’s time for alcohol addiction treatment isn’t always easy. It’s hard to know when social drinking turns into habitual drinking and alcoholism. Craving alcohol and needing alcohol to get through the day are signs it is time for help. It can be even more challenging to figure out how to talk about addiction with your loved one. The most important thing you can do is stay calm and supportive. A Better State’s holistic, trauma-informed clinic can help you find the right outpatient treatment plan for your needs and lifestyle.
Our Hudson, New Hampshire clinic provides the community with alternative and evidence-based therapies in group, individual, and family settings to help you and your loved ones recover together. Call us today at 781.412.1488 to learn more about how to talk about addiction with your family and loved ones.