What to Say When You Think Someone Has a Drinking Problem 07 Nov 2018

BY: Alexandrea Holder

Addiction / Featured

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What to Say When You Think Someone Has a Drinking Problem

You don’t really want to ask.

It’s rude.

It’s the elephant in the room no one’s given voice to yet.

But you have to because 88,000 people die from alcohol-related deaths every year in the United States.

Each one of those deaths was preventable.

Alcoholism doesn’t remain the sleeping beast forever. Alcohol use disorders cause significant physical and psychological damage; alcohol-induced brain damage appears in loss of memory, nerve cell damage, measurable cerebral changes, and a decline in brain mass.

You get the picture.

But how do you do something about someone else’s drinking problem?

Here’s an ingenious way to talk about someone else’s drinking problems everyone overlooks:

 

Talk Impact: “Hey Joey, I noticed you’re not working anymore.”

When broaching the subject about how someone’s drinking problem is affecting their life, talk impact. There’s a good chance they’ve heard it before, and they won’t want to hear it again.

But:

Your voice may cut through even the stubbornest of “enthusiasts” if you offer tangible evidence about how one’s drinking is impacting the lives of the people they love around them. Use examples from how their children are affected, significant others, and progression of one’s aspirations.

Chances are if your loved one is in the throes of a full-blown alcohol substance use disorder, your words won’t cut through the psychological and physical need of alcohol. However, if your loved one is experiencing early warning symptoms of alcoholism, this tactic may work well.

Alcoholism (full-blown or not) impacts every facet of daily life including:

  • Parenting ability
  • Work ethic and professionalism (Do you go to work hungover?)
  • Have a healthy self-image
  • Measure of fatigue
  • Lags of memory (Blackouts)
  • Drinking binges

 

Some Conversation Starters Include:

“You don’t seem happy anymore. Is there a particular reason why you’re drinking so much? No judgment, I just want to understand what you’re going through.”

“I remember when you loved working on _________. Is there a reason why you haven’t pursued it? Is that one of the reasons why you’re self-medicating so often? Is there anything I can do to help? I’m always here to just listen.”

“I noticed you and (significant other or child) don’t spend as much time together anymore. I haven’t heard any new stories! What’s going on? I’ve also noticed you’re drinking a lot more— and I don’t say that out of judgment, I’m just genuinely asking if you’re doing well.”

The key here is to be earnest, be genuine, and be ready to help.

You don’t have to be a therapist to lend someone an ear. Although alcoholism (or symptoms of abuse) are concerning, there’s always an underlying cause for one’s self-medication.

 

What You Need to Know About Self Medication with Alcohol

Self-medication is the unconscious or conscious use of an addictive substance to blot out the discomfort of emotional unrest.

This may be generalized depression or an undiagnosed mental health disorder. Self-medicating is not limited to addictive substances, and may extend into abusive or dysfunctional romantic relations, an unhealthy relationship to food, or binge-watching.

Self-medicating has no bounds.

And if someone you love has found temporary solace in alcohol, don’t crucify them for it— try to understand why it happened.

Why does alcohol help you feel better? What don’t you want to feel anymore?

Self-medication is a classic way to escape pain.

 

The Takeaway

Alcoholism or alcohol abuse is serious, but there’s always a cause.

Your job is to let your loved ones know you’re there for them and that you’re ready to help— no matter what that means. If your loved ones are ready to get help, check out listings for local treatment centers and start asking the right questions about getting help. Open the conversation with an opener that 1) emphasizes something that has happened (or has been lost) as a result of one’s drinking problem and 2) firmly establishes your inquiry has no strings of judgment attached.

Alcohol Abuse in Georgia 25 Oct 2018

BY: Alexandrea Holder

Addiction / Featured

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10 Signs of Functional Alcoholism You Shouldn’t Overlook

Alcohol: the most socially accepted addictive substance in the United States. Drinking and sometimes drinking to excess is seen as a social norm, almost to the point of being an expectation. Alcohol consumption is part of everyday American culture. Mourning, celebrations, relaxing, and even dinner gatherings seem to circulate around drinking. Alcohol is in our movies, television shows, and music, too. The normalization of alcohol abuse in all aspects of our lives makes it easy to miss signs of alcoholism, especially when they aren’t blatantly obvious. This gray area allows people- often labeled functioning alcoholics- to slip between the cracks, harboring addiction just beneath the surface.

What is a Functioning Alcoholic?

Scientifically, alcoholism is a long-term chemical change within the brain caused by alcohol consumption. In layman’s terms, alcoholism is an addiction to alcohol, typically resulting in excessive drinking. Because alcohol affects men and women differently, the guidelines for sensible drinking differ. The typically accepted limit is:

  • Men: Two drinks per day or 14/week

 

  • Women: One drink per day or 7/week

 

Functional alcoholism is a form of alcohol abuse which is not readily recognizable. Whereas alcohol abuse disorders are often characterized by clear dysfunction and instability, functioning alcoholics are better able to conceal their addiction symptoms. People living with alcoholism who fall into this category are often viewed as not having a problem or still being in control; they maintain employment and continue tending to other responsibilities, so we often overlook the warning signs.

We shouldn’t. Functioning alcoholism is just as dangerous as any other type of alcohol abuse disorder. It may even be worse since without being properly addressed, alcohol abuse can have life threatening consequences.

10 Signs of Functional Alcoholism You Shouldn’t Overlook

1: Getting an Early Start

People who are functioning alcoholics may not drink all day everyday, but beginning the day with alcohol may be a warning sign of deeper lying issues. Weekend mimosas first thing in the morning or spiking your coffee to make it through the workday could signify physical or mental dependence, especially when habitual.

2: Working Hungover

Going into work hungover is often viewed as a sign of a good time the night before. But regularly toughing it through the day while nursing a migraine, fighting back nausea, or struggling with vertigo should be a wake up call. Alcohol abuse can also lead to missing work days, excessive sick days, and other employment issues.

3: Secretive Drinking

Having to drink in secret to avoid judgement or raising concerns is a red flag. If you have to downplay your drinking habits in order to not arouse suspicion, it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship with alcohol.

4: “Pre-Gaming”

This common tradition among the partying crowd is a harmful habit which could indicate alcohol abuse. While many view it as a means of avoiding inflated bar prices or ensuring a good time, pre-drinking before going out to drink could be an indicator of an elevated tolerance brought on by excessive alcohol use.

5:Exceeding Set Limits

Going out with a specific boundary set only to exceed your self-imposed limit may be a sign of impulse control issues. The inability to stop drinking or follow a reasonable pace is significant in terms of identifying warning signs of functional alcoholism.

6: “Blackouts” and Memory Issues

Getting drunk to the point of blacking out is dangerous for everyone involved. It leaves one vulnerable to malicious intent and raises the risk of life-threatening situations. Missing hours or days’ worth of memories due to alcohol abuse is a sign it may be time to seek help.

7: Drinking Instead of Eating

Making choices to purchase alcohol over food or lacking an appetite in favor of drinking is not only damaging to one’s health, it could implicative of functional alcoholism. Pay attention.

8: Defensiveness of Drinking Habits

“I’m just a social drinker!”

“Come on, I don’t drink that much!”

“I’m an adult, I can drink however much I want! I’m not hurting anybody!”

Often, the people closest to us notice changes within us long before we do. Deflection and defensiveness when they express concern for one’s alcohol consumption can be telling of the true depth of alcohol abuse.

9: Joking About Alcoholism

They say behind every joke is a bit of truth, which may ring true for jokes about alcoholism or being an alcoholic. Joking about excessive drinking may be an attempt to receive validation or convince yourself or others that the problem isn’t as bad as it seems.

10: Binge Drinking

Of all the invisible symptoms of functional alcoholism, binge drinking is perhaps the most ambiguous. While binge drinking alone is not necessarily a sign of alcoholism, a pattern of doing so may be. Binge drinking is defined by the CDC as “a pattern of drinking which brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above.” This typically translates to five drinks or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women, but may vary.

While no single item on this list is absolutely demonstrative of functional alcoholism, patterns of addictive behaviors should not be overlooked. Alcoholism in any form is too often ignored unless it has harmful or tragic consequences. By opening the conversation about alcohol use disorders and recognizing potential trouble in our own habits, we can help to reduce the harm of alcohol on our families and communities.

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism, Tangu Recovery can help. Contact us today.

16 Oct 2018

BY: Alexandrea Holder

Featured

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The Alcohol Abuse Crisis in Georgia

Alcohol abuse is a pervasive problem that impacts the lives of millions of people across the United States. Failure to seek treatment for alcohol abuse can result in damaged personal relationships, loss of employment, long-term health problems, and even death. People who abuse alcohol also endanger the lives of others around them, as evidenced by the 366 deaths in Georgia that were linked to drinking and driving. Below is a look at some of the signs of alcohol abuse and the steps you should take if you notice these signs in yourself or a loved one.  

What are some common signs of alcohol abuse?

When people overuse alcohol or consume large quantities of alcohol on a regular basis, they put themselves at increased risk for alcohol abuse and addiction. They often consume alcohol while driving, which can lead to car accidents and DUI offenses. The Mayo Clinic outlines some specific symptoms of alcohol abuse, which include the six symptoms below:

  • The inability to limit the amount of alcohol you drink
  • Frequent strong urges or cravings to consume alcohol
  • Withdrawal symptoms such as nausea or sweating when alcohol use is not used
  • Problems fulfilling obligations at work or home due to alcohol overuse
  • The development of tolerance, or the need to drink increasingly large quantities of alcohol to experience effects
  • Consuming alcohol while driving or in other unsafe situations  

What should you do if you show signs of alcohol abuse?

The single most important step to take if you show signs of alcohol abuse is to seek treatment immediately. The path to successful treatment of alcohol abuse begins with medically-assisted detox in a secure treatment facility. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, medical detoxification is the first stage of the addiction treatment process and “safely manages the acute physical symptoms of withdrawal…” Medical detox occurs in a safe, secure setting where alcohol abuse specialists and medical professionals are able to provide needed care during the withdrawal process.

Selecting the best alcohol detox provider in Atlanta

With thousands of alcohol abuse treatment providers across the United States, it can be challenging to choose the best alcohol detox provider. Tangu is committed to helping people who abuse alcohol attain long-term sobriety. We have a proven track record of success helping people across the United States overcome addiction to alcohol and regain control of their lives. To learn more about our treatment services, contact us now!

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