Is it a Drinking Problem or is it Alcoholism?
Is there really any difference? How can you know if someone is just drinking a little too much or too often, or if they are an alcoholic?
There are guidelines that can help you determine where to draw that line. Then you will know when to just work with someone to help them reduce their drinking and when to proceed directly to an alcohol rehabilitation program.
Answer these questions:
- Are there sudden mood changes? Irritability? Defensiveness?
- Have problems at work or school begun to crop up? Like absences, problems completing work assignments, low grades? Has the person lost a job or been suspended from school?
- In a young person, are they rebelling against reasonable family rules? Is an adult taking less and less responsibility for family, marriage, home, community affairs that they used to be involved in?
- Has the person changed the people they associate with? Do they tend to keep these new friends hidden or are they secretive about them?
- Have they developed an apathetic attitude about their appearance or their former interests?
- Have you found more alcohol or empty bottles in their home, vehicle or trash?
- Are they having frequent problems with memory, concentration, coordination or speech?
These are signs that drinking has gotten out of hand. If these points are discussed with a person and they reject the idea of alcoholism and they continue to drink, then it is time to look at a rehab to help them do what they can't now do on their own: stop drinking.
Alcohol Consumption is Related to a Long List of Negative Effects
Many studies in the US have examined how alcohol consumption affects college students. On many campuses, alcohol consumption seems to be part of the landscape, but on campus after campus, alcohol binges are falling into disfavor. Starting this trend was the president of the University of Oklahoma who declared the campus "dry" after the drinking death of one of their students.
But as things stand now, nearly two thousand college students die each year from alcohol-related injuries, including car accidents. More than half a million suffer injuries and nearly 700,000 students are assaulted by someone who was drinking. Students also fall behind on their studies and often have their grades fall. Alcohol consumption, especially reckless or excessive alcohol use does not seem to mix well with academic goals.
The same types of injuries, deaths and assaults occur off campus as well. The Global Report on Alcohol from the World Health Organization noted that tens of thousands of people suffer from someone else's drinking as shown in these statistics from Australia:
In 2008, 367 people died as a result of someone else's drinking, 13,699 were hospitalized, 19,443 children had to be taken into protection as a result of a caregiver's alcohol problems, nearly 25,000 domestic assaults occurred at the hands of someone who was drinking along with 60,000 other assaults.
Alcohol "Problems" Also Lead to Physical Damage
Plenty of people know about cirrhosis, the scarred, fibrous condition of the liver that can happen after years of drinking but not so many people know about the cancers that are connected with alcohol consumption (liver, mouth, throat, larynx and colon), and the inflammation of the pancreas that can be fatal. The nerve damage, toxicity and malnutrition that can accompany drinking problems can also create or stimulate mental problems such as anxiety or depression. Unfortunately, some medical doctors may take the fast way out of these problems by medicating the person with psychiatric drugs for anxiety or depression instead of handling the addiction.
What do You do if you Discuss Rehab and the Person Does not Want Help?
This is always tricky: You can plainly see that they are having severe problems as a result of the drinking problem but they say that they "know" they are in control, they are just fine and they will not talk about rehab.
This is the most common reason that people do not seek rehab when they are addicted to alcohol or drugs. They just don't see the need but that is really part of the condition they are suffering from.
You will have to bring in someone they respect and will listen to, if there is someone like this available. If that fails or if there is no one, you will need to bring in an interventionist. This is a person with enough experience dealing with addicted people that they know how to bring about an awareness that something needs to change. They can expand in an addicted person that faint desire to get clean and sober that they do not dare admit.
The staff at Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers around the world have experienced this refusal to accept treatment thousands of times in the forty-five years that Narconon facilities have been helping people get clean and sober. They are experienced in handling this refusal and they can help you find an interventionist to come to your home and help you with this impasse with the alcoholic. You do not need to watch alcohol destroy someone you love. Contact Narconon for help in rehabilitating a person with a drinking problem back to a sober, productive life.