If you believe that your loved one may be suffering from an alcohol addiction, it’s normal to feel sad, scared and even confused. After all, this is an extremely challenging time that you might not know how to approach.
In this guide, we explore how you can begin the conversation with your loved one regarding their drinking habits and how you can take the first step towards recovery with them.
What Is An Alcohol Use Disorder?
Alcohol use disorders (AUDs)are classed as an official medical condition that occurs when someone is unable to control or stop drinking alcohol, despite the negative effects it’s having on their health, occupation or lifestyle.
According to Alcohol Change UK, there are just under 587,000 people in England alone who are classed as being alcohol dependent.
What’s more, recent data shows that, in a single year, there have been 318,595 alcohol-related hospital admissions in England. This number has been increasing over the decades. Again, mortality rates associated with alcohol use are also rising, particularly amongst those individuals aged between 55-64.
One type of AUD is what’s known as high-functioning alcoholism, which is where individuals appear to be in control of their day-to-day lives. For example, they might have a job or be able to maintain relationships despite their alcohol use. This can make it harder to determine whether someone is an alcoholic or not, and therefore address the problem.
The Common Warning Signs of Alcoholism
Alcoholic disorders can affect people in different ways, and there is also functioning alcoholism, which we’ve mentioned above, which again can make it difficult to spot potential signs of concern. However, some of the most common signs of alcoholism include:
- Withdrawal symptoms without alcohol.
- Difficulty stopping or controlling alcohol use.
- An increased tolerance to alcohol.
- Neglecting responsibilities and social activities in favour of alcohol.
- Continued alcohol use despite consequences.
Signs Your Partner May Be An Alcoholic
As well as the above signs of alcoholism, there are a few things that you can look out for that could mean your partner is an alcoholic. However, it’s also important to remember that just because you spot these signs, it doesn’t automatically mean your partner is an alcoholic. Instead, they may be struggling with something else.
- Secretive behaviour about drinking.
- They may appear to have flushed skin.
- Changes in mood swings and appearing distracted.
- Sudden, unexplainable financial issues.
- You’ve noticed a tremor.
- Rationalising or minimising drinking habits.
- Physical signs, such as changes in appearance, fatigue, weight loss or neglect of personal hygiene.
How To Approach Your Partner About Their Drinking
If you do suspect that your partner might be an alcoholic or you want to discuss their drinking habits with them, it’s important to do so in a caring and sensitive manner. It’s a good idea first to educate yourself on alcoholism, its signs and the treatments available so that you go into the conversation well-equipped. These conversations are also best had in a calm and private environment, ideally when your partner is sober.
Start the conversation from a place of love and concern, using statements that talk about how you are worried and what you’ve observed. It’s also important to be wary that your partner may deny their behaviour and be ready to address this calmly. Above all, reiterate that you’re there to help them and that you want them to seek professional help.
Seeking Help For Your Partner And Alcoholism
Recent figures show that less than 20% of people with alcohol dependence in England are receiving treatment. What’s more, professional treatment is often the only way to get onto the path to recovery and enjoy an alcohol-free life, long-term. Whether your partner accepts that they need help or not, you can still explore the variety of options available. At Action Rehab, we offer various services, including support with planning an intervention.
Together, we can help your partner find the right alcohol rehab clinic for them, as well as a treatment programme that suits their individual needs and circumstances. You could help organise transportation or even payments, and there is also the opportunity to become involved in family therapy.
Supporting Your Partner In Recovery
Once your partner has acknowledged that they are struggling, you can guide them along the way, and your support will be essential for the success of your journey.
As well as helping them to get to rehab, you can encourage healthy habits like regular exercise, nutrition and good sleep. Not only will these habits help them to be healthy and happy, but also aid in their recovery. You can also reiterate that you will always be there for them, keeping the door open for communication and listening to their struggles.
Helping them to avoid any triggers is also a great idea, and very important for their recovery. Above all, you need to stay patient with them. Recovery isn’t a straightforward road, and there will be challenges to navigate. You may even find that you require support yourself, which the team at Action Rehab can arrange. Once your partner has finished their treatment programme, it’s important that you continue to support them – either by attending local support groups with them or keeping an eye on them as they navigate their new sober life.
Recognising and addressing alcoholism in your partner is very challenging but essential if you want to help them step towards recovery. Plus, it can be hugely rewarding, and it is possible. One thing’s for sure: by knowing the signs and approaching the situation with care, you can support your loved one in getting the help they need.
If you have any questions or believe you have a partner who is struggling with alcohol addiction, our team is always here to help. Contact us today for more information.