Alcohol is widely available and more affordable than other substances. They can also be purchased legally by anyone of the legal drinking age. These factors contribute to the prevalence of alcohol abuse in the United States. A 2019 survey by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) revealed 14.5 million people age 12 and older had alcohol use disorder (AUD).
Alcohol abuse leaves a serious impact on a person’s overall health. It is linked to multiple diseases and health issues, including heart disease, liver complications, dementia, and depression. But this condition not only affects people with AUD. The people surrounding them can also suffer from its consequences.
If you’re living with a loved one who has AUD, there are things you can do to make life more manageable.
Dealing with Alcoholism in Your Household
Living in a household with someone who has AUD is not usually easy. You have to deal with their troubling behaviors and extreme moods. There will be times they will be friendly, then become angry and violent later. These can sometimes lead to physical abuse.
Although the situation can be difficult, your loved one needs your support and patience. Here are a few things that can help you cope with the situation.
1. Get your loved one to a treatment program
The NSDUH survey shows about 7.2 percent of people ages 12 and older with AUD received any treatment in the past year. There are several treatments available for people with AUD. Your loved one can undergo a treatment plan that involves alcohol treatment specialists. You may also encourage them to go to rehab to help them overcome their situation.
Other treatments available for people with AUD include psychological counseling, oral medications, injected medications, medical treatment for health conditions, and continuing support. There are also residential treatment programs for serious alcohol use disorder. These programs include licensed alcohol and drug counselors, nurses, doctors, and social workers.
2. Don’t enable them to drink
One way to help people with AUD recover is not giving them access to alcohol. If you’re living with someone who has a drinking problem, it’s best not to buy alcohol. You should also restrict your loved one access to your money. Otherwise, they’ll be tempted to buy alcohol for themselves.
Not having access to alcohol can cause anger and frustration to your loved one. This might result in your enabling behaviors. No matter how difficult it is to restrict your loved one from drinking again, it’s important not to give in to break the cycle.
3. Prioritize your safety
Depending on your loved one’s condition, living with a person with AUD can make you vulnerable to physical and emotional abuse. Individuals who have drinking problems might find it hard to control their temper, especially if they don’t have access to their addiction. Research shows two-thirds of victims of spousal violence say the perpetrator had been drinking.
Consider relocating your loved one if your safety is at risk. This option may be necessary, especially if there are children in your household. Your loved one can stay at a rehabilitation center until they have recovered.
The Impact of Alcohol Addiction on A Household
Living with a loved one who has drinking problems can affect you physically and mentally. It can take a toll on the relationship between your loved one with AUD and you and other members of the family. Your loved one’s alcohol problem can also affect your finances.
Having an intoxicated person in your household can have an impact on children’s welfare, as well. Children may experience stress due to changing moods of the parent who has AUD. The effects can last until their adulthood.
Additionally, alcoholism in a household can give children a hard time distinguishing good role models from bad ones. Since they grow up in this type of household, many might feel self-conscious if they realized that drinking is not normal in other families. These children can also develop trust issues caused by an atmosphere where denial, keeping secrets, and lying are normalized.
It’s tough to live with an alcoholic. They might blame you for drinking too much. You’ll likely blame yourself for what is happening to your loved one. But you shouldn’t feel that way. It’s not your fault if they can’t fight the urge to drink, especially if they have become dependent on it.
Alcohol use disorder is a serious condition that affects the people who have it and the individuals in their household. But recovering from alcohol abuse is not easy and doesn’t happen overnight. Your loved one needs your support and patience. That’s why it’s crucial to know how you can make your life easier if you’re living with a loved one who has drinking problems.