Alcohol Dependence: Finding a Way Out of the Bottle

Most people can hazard a drink or two at a party. But when someone’s life revolves around a bottle of gin, then that person needs a hand out of alcohol dependence. 

Alcohol dependence (more commonly known as alcoholism) continues to be a major public health issue in the United States.

What is alcohol dependence?

To define alcohol dependence, the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention calls is a chronic medical condition that includes any or all of the following:

  • Excessive drinking
  • Craving for alcoholic beverages
  • Continued drinking despite repeated problems with the condition
  • Lack of control over alcohol consumption

Moreover, the CDC points out that binge drinking should not be confused with alcohol dependence. Social and binge drinkers can still be encouraged to control their intake. Alcohol dependents, on the other hand, will find it difficult to adjust their drinking habits no matter how hard they try.

With the being said, no less than specialized treatment can help alcohol dependents overcome their condition. The challenge, however, is motivating patients to agree on getting treated. 

The challenge of treating alcohol dependence

A 2019 survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found out that more than 21.6 million people from ages 12 and above needed substance abuse treatment in 2020. However, only 2.6 million underwent treatment at an addiction center. 

In addition, over 39.9% of the respondents in the survey say they are not ready to stop alcohol use. At least 23.8% say they don’t know where to get treated while 20.9% say they cannot afford treatment costs and are not insured. 

Despite these numbers, it’s still important to give hope to someone who is struggling to overcome their dependence on alcohol and take back control of their life. 

How to help someone with alcohol dependence

Do you have a loved one or a friend who struggles with alcoholism? Reaching out is the first step to convincing them to undergo treatment. So, if you are having a hard time lending a hand, try these steps:

1. Wait until the person is sober

The best time you can reach out is when the person is not intoxicated. This can be difficult if they are drinking too frequently during the day. But if there’s a time they are sobered, use it as a window for reaching out.

2. Tell them what you feel about their problem

It’s not advisable to antagonize the person about their condition. Instead, tell the person how you and other people feel about their problem. Show the person that everyone is concerned and would like to help out.

3. Keep calm and patient

If the person shows hostile behavior, it’s best that you keep your distance. Do not attempt to go on the offensive. If possible, bring someone else along if you are planning to reach out. Remember, your goal here is not to confront but to start a conversation.

4. Listen to them

Drinking can be a person’s coping mechanism after an emotionally stressful or traumatic event. When you are having a conversation, let them know that you are willing to listen. Giving comfort and showing compassion goes a long way.

5. Find an addiction center near you

If the person agrees to get treatment, all you need is to find a clinic that specializes in medication management, behavioral therapy, and other psychological and social interventions. 

At Mid Cities Psychiatry, we can help you on the road to recovery. If you or anyone you know is experiencing alcohol dependence, call us today and learn the methods and approaches we use to help out of the bottle and into the world with renewed hope.

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