If you know or have any sort of relationship with an alcoholic, you know how tough it can be to deal with and maintain a personal relationship with them. Alcoholics are never clear in their head, and this affects their choices, actions, the way that they communicate and the way that they hold relations. When they aren’t drunk, they’re probably thinking about their next drink and are never fully in the moment. When they are drunk, well, I don’t need to tell you how badly alcohol can disrupt somebody’s normal functionality. If you’re reading this, it might have something to do with a person in your life you may suspect, or know is having trouble dealing with alcohol or alcoholic denial. It’s very important to know the signs of an alcoholic, the correlation between alcohol addiction and mental health, how to approach the subject of a loved one’s excessive drinking, and how to get help for a family member with mental health issues. In this article, I’m going to elaborate on these topics and hopefully provide some insights into how we can get our loved ones help with alcohol.
Let’s start by talking about some ways you can spot an alcoholic. There’s usually no need for Sherlock Holmes, as it’s not challenging to notice some of these displays if you’re in the right situation. The first one is that they have an unusually high tolerance for alcohol. Granted they aren’t just a large person, if a person is continually slamming drinks and keeping up with the rest of the crowd without showing as many signs of inebriation, this is likely a cause for concern. Hiding alcohol and absence from school or work is another sign. If a loved one is hiding alcohol in places they know they aren’t supposed to have it, this shows that they can’t go very long without it and that they feel ashamed of themselves. Absence from normal tasks and commitments is almost always a huge warning sign, whether it is alcoholism, drug addiction, or depression. Another warning sign is irrational behavior and mood swings. If a loved one behaves in very negative manners, particularly in situations where booze is included, it can show the dysfunctional chemistry in the brain. Mood swings are also due to the imbalance of chemicals in the brain, and the alcoholic’s mood can change very abruptly.
The Link Between Alcoholism and Mental Health
Something you may not have realized is that alcohol and mental health are very related. Alcohol directly affects the chemistry inside the brain. It is a depressant and disrupts the balance affecting our thoughts, feelings, and actions. In the short term, alcohol helps us feel more confident and less anxious because it depresses the part of the brain associated with inhibition. In the long run, repeated alcohol use can lead to any number of harmful side effects like depression, anxiety, and much more because of the repeated and near-permanent interference of neurotransmitters in our brains needed for good mental health. If you notice strange behaviors with loved ones, friends, or a spouse, associated with mental health and alcohol, it may be a good time to start thinking about how to approach the situation and get help for the loved one or spouse of an alcoholic. A lot of the time, breaking the cycle of alcoholism associated with mental health disorders requires help from a professional who specializes in dual diagnosis management and treatment.
Whether you’ve tried to approach a loved one about their alcohol use or not, it’s very important to know what to expect. Odds are, alcoholic denial is going to play a role in the first few steps. They may not realize they have an addiction, as alcoholics and drug addicts tend to trick themselves into believing their behavior is normal. It’s very important to recognize the signs of enablement, as you may or may not already do these things. Don’t turn a blind eye to the consequences of the alcoholism. It’s easy for a spouse or friend to get caught up in inadvertently allowing the behavior to continue, so knowing the signs is extremely important. Try having a talk with your loved one.
Try scheduling an intervention. You don’t have to deal with this on your own, if there are lots of people who care about the alcoholic, show them that. It’s easy to forget about people that love you when you let alcohol spin you out of control. Stage an intervention with your family and friends and let them know. It’s also perfectly acceptable to seek professional advice, counsel, and treatment. There are thousands of people who are very qualified to handle these situations, and they know what to do.
Never Too Late to Seek Treatment for Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol and drug addiction is a tough thing to be a part of. If you sense that a loved one is struggling with either one of these, you’re probably not that far off from the truth. You have a right to care about the individual. After reading this, I truly hope I’ve provided new thoughts and ideas into spotting the signs of an alcoholic, knowing how mental health is wrapped up into addiction, and what to do if you notice these things. Try talking to them about things you notice, and how their behavior affects themselves, you, and everyone around them. But remember, do it out of love. You have a right to care, and caring might include calling upon an authority or medical professional. Good luck!