Reduce possible health problems and injuries
caused by alcohol use.
Ease family conflicts or other relationship
Reduce legal problems caused by alcohol use or
How can you help a person who has an alcohol use problem get treatment?
There are many ways to help a person who has an
alcohol use problem to get treatment. Follow these steps to help both yourself
and the person with the alcohol use problem.
Educate yourself about
alcohol's effects on a person and the person's family. Learn how alcohol
affects health and how it can lead to serious
health problems, such as stroke, depression, and cirrhosis. You can get information by contacting
an alcohol and drug treatment center in your area and talking with a health
professional trained in dealing with alcohol use problems.
Allow consequences. Let the person suffer the
consequences of his or her drinking behavior. Stop making excuses for the
drinking. Don't take over the person's responsibilities or cover up for him or
her. If you are having problems recognizing and changing your
enabling behaviors, talk with a health professional or
go to a support group such as Al-Anon for people affected by someone who has an
alcohol use problem. Allowing the person to suffer consequences might help the
person realize that alcohol is causing a problem.
Prepare to talk with the person. Talk with a health
professional who deals with alcohol and drug use problems to help you prepare. Think about when and where you want to talk with the person, and what you want to say.
Express your concerns. Talk with the person about your concerns regarding the
drinking problem, and tell him or her that you care. You might choose to talk
with the person during a formal intervention. This is a carefully planned
meeting in which family, friends, and coworkers try to persuade a person who
has a problem with alcohol to get treatment. Some health professionals, though,
believe that talking with a person who has an alcohol use problem without the
help of an intervention specialist might have a negative impact on everyone
Get treatment immediately. If the
person agrees to treatment, take him or her immediately. Don't wait, because
the person might decide not to go after all.
Follow through. If the person does not go to treatment, follow through with
what you told the person you would do if he or she did not get treatment. Not
all people with alcohol use problems consent to treatment after they have been
approached with the concerns of others. But this does not mean that you (and
other people involved) have failed. Your expression of concern lets the person
know how much you (and other people) care. It might help the person seek
treatment in the future.
Get help for yourself. You will receive practical advice and encouragement by
attending a support group for people who have been affected by someone's
alcohol use problem. Two such support groups are Al-Anon and Alateen. You might
also choose to speak directly with an alcohol and drug counselor for
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerPeter Monti, PhD - Alcohol and Addiction