Category: Alcohol abuse

signs of alcoholism

Am I An Alcoholic? 7 Signs Of Alcoholism You Shouldn’t Ignore

No one ever intends to develop a problem with alcohol. People start drinking at different ages, and for different reasons. But for many people, it can become a serious issue.

So how can you know if you have a problem? There are actually certain signs of alcoholism that can help you identify whether things have gotten out of hand. Let’s take a look at some signs of alcohol abuse that will alert you to the fact that it’s time to seek help.

Am I An Alcoholic? 7 Signs Of Alcoholism You Shouldn’t Ignore

Many alcoholics are functioning. However, there are some signs of alcoholism you shouldn’t ignore. Learn more about how to determine if you are addicted here.

1. Experiencing Withdrawal

Keep in mind that withdrawal is not the same as having a hangover. Withdrawal is your body’s reaction to the lack of alcohol rather than too much alcohol. This reaction can cause you to feel anxious, nauseous, depressed, irritable, or tired.

You might also experience shakiness, trembling, or have trouble sleeping.

2. Difficulty Maintaining Relationships

Many people with a drinking problem will notice trouble with relationships such as friends or your significant other.

Relationship trouble is a major sign that your addiction is beginning to deeply impact your life.

3. Unable To Stop Once You’ve Started

Do you feel the impulse to drink all the beer in the house or finish a bottle of wine once it’s opened?

This can be a big red flag that you have a problem.

4. You’ve Developed An Increased Tolerance

Tolerance of alcohol is another key sign of addiction.

If you’re able to drink more than you used to without getting drunk, it means that your body has been exposed to alcohol enough to cope with it. 

5. You’ve Started Blacking Out

Blacking out is when you wake up with no memory of what happened while drinking.

Quite simply, this means not only that you’ve had too much to drink, you’ve had way too much. Blacking out once in a while is bad, but blacking out on a regular basis means you need to get help as soon as possible.

6. You Need To Drink to Relax

Many people use alcohol as a way to deal with their emotions. This can be due to anxiety, stress, or any number of other things. But drinking shouldn’t be used a means of self-medicating.

After all, alcohol provides only temporary relief and will only serve to make things even worse in the long run.

7. Lying About Your Drinking

Another significant warning sign that you have a drinking problem is when you begin lying about your drinking, or trying to hide it from the people in your life.

You might be in denial that you are suffering from addiction, and hiding the addiction is a way that many addicts choose to deal with the problem.

Getting the Help You Need

Learning the signs of alcoholism is the first step toward recognizing that there might be a problem. The better you understand the nature of addiction, the easier it will be to put yourself on the path to getting help.

The symptoms of alcoholism are easier to spot once you know what to look for. But taking the steps necessary to begin the recovery process requires more than knowledge, it also requires great courage. 

Click here to learn about addiction treatment programs.

how to spot an alcoholic

How To Spot An Alcoholic: An In-Depth Guide

According to research conducted in 2015, 15.1 million adults in the United States are alcoholics. Over a quarter of all adults have also admitted to binge drinking within the past month. However, how to spot an alcoholic isn’t always straightforward.

Many people picture alcoholics as those who are unable to live another life. Images of homeless individuals or someone unable to attend work because of their addiction is often what comes to mind. But this isn’t always the case.

Alcoholism isn’t just an addiction; it can be deadly. The same 2015 research stated that alcoholism is the third most common preventable death in the United States. The first two are obesity and tobacco.

In this article, we’ll go over some of the tell-tale signs of alcoholism. Many of them extend beyond what is typically associated with classic signs and symptoms.

How to Spot an Alcoholic: Lying About Behaviors

This can be a tricky one, as some alcoholics not only defy stereotypes, but also hold down jobs, marriages, and other relationships while being heavily addicted.

One big sign of alcoholism is lying about alcohol consumption. Although it can be difficult to monitor this in an adult, many family members will notice things over time that clue them in.

You may notice, for example, that alcohol in the house goes missing often, though no one admits to having drunk it. They may also see someone consuming large amounts of alcohol or see them drinking in excess when no one else is drinking.

Later, the same person who observed this behavior may notice that the alcoholic in question told someone they know that this behavior either never took place or that they drank far less than they actually did.

Deceit is a very common problem in addictions or dangerous disorders. It is prevalent amongst those who also suffer from drug addictions, eating disorders and other detrimental habits.

Drinking at Inappropriate Times

While we touched on drinking heavily when no one else is around, there are also other times when drinking may be a problem. An alcoholic might hide alcohol in other containers and drink throughout the day at work or school, for example.

They may also add alcohol to other drinks throughout the day, such as in their coffee or tea. While this is okay every once in a while, it is worrisome when it becomes a daily habit.

They may also drink in situations that they know could lead to danger, such as while caring for their children, operating heavy machinery or while driving. These potentially dangerous behaviors should be addressed immediately, as they can put other people’s lives at risk.

Many alcohol-dependent people drink at inappropriate times not only because they are mentally dependent, but have become physically dependent. Detoxing from alcohol can take a long time. It can also produce unwanted physical symptoms.

Alcohol withdrawal can happen just a few hours after the person has had their last drink. Symptoms include anxiety, headache, shakiness, nausea, vomiting, and insomnia. Some people who have been drinking for a long period of time may also experience seizures or hallucinations.

Typically, these symptoms go away once the body stops becoming dependent on alcohol. However, as these symptoms can get in the way of daily life, staving them off with more alcohol is common.

Developing a High Tolerance for Alcohol

Some people feel drunk or slightly buzzed after one or two drinks. Alcoholics have built up a tolerance for its effects, just like people build up a tolerance to medications. A person who is highly dependent on alcohol might be able to down many more beers or spirits than most other people without it seeming to affect them.

Mood Swings

Alcohol has a tendency to lower inhibitions. This is why security is out in full force in most locations where alcohol is present and people are likely to drink in excess.

However, if some is drinking in excess habitually, their behavior may become irrational, angry or even scary more often than usual.

Mood swings may come in the form of yelling at a spouse, relative, child or friend. Some may be physically aggressive, which is why alcohol often plays a role in abusive situations.

Other alcohol-dependent people may become weepy or emotional about situations in their lives. For many, this is not a usual behavior trait when they do not drink.

Most alcoholics have mood swings that switch very quickly from one extreme to the other. This can obviously be difficult for friends and family members trying to live with or support the person.

Becoming Flaky or Unreliable

Alcoholics can increasingly become unreliable as the problem worsens. Though it is important to note that this does not happen to everyone.

Some people erroneously believe that someone does not have an issue with alcohol if they don’t have attendance issues or are able to follow through on their commitments with friends and family.

This does not mean that some alcoholics don’t fall into this trap. Many times people stop showing up to places, including their work because they are hungover. Sometimes, they may be embarrassed because of their behavior under the influence and having to face those individuals again.

In some instances, alcoholics may avoid a situation simply so that they can stay home (or at another venue) and drink.

Often, they will be difficult to get ahold of. They may cancel plans at the very last minute, or simply not show up. Many will find it difficult to get in touch with them after they’ve neglected responsibilities, as not answering the phone or front door can also be a sign something is wrong.

Only Showing Up at Events Where There is Alcohol

If someone has a severe problem with drinking, they will resort to drinking at inappropriate times, as discussed above. Because of this, some may want to hide their inappropriate drinking by only showing up to events that are serving alcohol.

If the person in question is suddenly missing out on children’s birthday parties, work, school or dining at places that don’t serve alcohol, but always shows up at weddings or family gatherings involving substances, this can be a warning sign.

Avoiding Responsibilities

While we have discussed the inability to show up for events, school, work or other meetings, often other responsibilities are neglected. This can include not paying bills, not cleaning the house, neglecting children or animals, shirking off doctor or dental appointments and many others.

Some people with severe alcoholism may find it difficult to leave the house. This can be due to a variety of factors but also falls into the category of avoiding daily tasks.

Neglecting Appearance

Neglecting your appearance is a common issue with mental health decline. Someone who is very deep into their addiction may fail to wash for days, stop combing their hair, changing their clothes or even showering. They may have laundry piled up they haven’t done and wear dirty clothes instead.

Blacking Out

Most people have experienced a binge drinking blackout when they don’t remember what happened the night before after excessive alcohol consumption. This can be one of the earlier signs of alcoholism. When blacking out, people may consume even more alcohol than they intended and not even remember.

Memory blackouts can also lead to very dangerous behavior, including driving, biking or operating a motorcycle under the influence. This can, of course, not only put the person’s life at risk but also other people’s.

Clashing with the Police

As mentioned earlier, problematic drinking behavior can create aggression. Someone who is dependent on alcohol may drink in excess and not care about the consequences.

This can mean they have collected several citations for things like driving under the influence or disorderly conduct.

Often, these citations and fines do very little to curb their behavior. This is because they have become so dependent, they no longer care about the real world consequences of their behavior.

Unable to Maintain Relationships

Many alcoholics are unable to maintain relationships with their spouse, partner or family members. This is because they focus on alcohol over the other person. Often, the relationships become damaged, sometimes irreparably, because of the excessive drinking.

What to Do If You’ve Spotted This Behavior in a Friend or Family Member

If you’ve read this list of how to spot an alcoholic and feel this describes someone you know, it is important to find ways to encourage the person to receive treatment. While it may not be easy to get them there, rehab facilities are best equipped to deal with the reasons behind heavy drinking.

Visit our website for resources and programs to help intervene if you or a loved one are experiencing alcohol dependency.

8 Steps to Take When Your Spouse Displays Abusive Alcoholic Behavior

what not to say to an alcoholic abusive alcoholic behavior

Marriage is such a beautiful part of life. It changes your life plans for the better, turning individual goals and ideas into thoughts of planting roots and starting a family. It’s exciting, supportive, and of course, incredibly loving.

Sometimes, though, people change after “I do’s” are said; the story starts to change for the worse. Your spouse may become distant, begin to spend more time out of the house or show less interest in you while at home.

In the worst of cases, he or she becomes abusive. This often happens with alcoholics. Although alcoholism and abuse don’t necessarily cause one another, they tend to correlate.

If the person you love has been picking up the bottle a lot lately and putting their hands on you too, it’s time to take action. Here are a few steps you can take to solve the abusive alcoholic behavior happening in your home.

1. Distance Yourself When They Drink

The best thing you can do for yourself when living with an abusive alcoholic is to create distance. Spend more time out of the house instead of going straight home after work. Fill your schedule on the weekends so you don’t leave yourself available to the alcoholism and verbal abusive happening at home.

As effective as this can be, it’s much easier said than done. After all, it’s your home too! Not to mention, you probably still care about your spouse even with the issues they’re dealing with and putting on you.

But, the point is to take care of yourself first. Taking the space you need to avoid a verbal attack or physical confrontation helps you start the healing process. From there, you can better assess the situation between the two of you and figure out how to deal with an abusive alcoholic wife or husband.

2. Talk to Them When They’re Sober

What happens if you come home in the middle of your spouse’s drinking activities? Distance yourself somewhere within the home to avoid the abuse that may come your way. Try not to say or do anything that will set them off either.

The best thing to do is wait out the effects of the alcohol. Then, start a conversation with your spouse when he or she is sober.

Watch Your Words

As you sit down to talk about the alcoholism, be careful of what you say. The last thing you want to do is bring out the abusive tendencies your partner has taken on.

Instead, try to create a safe space for the both of you. This is one in which the other person doesn’t feel threatened or attacked for their behavior. Such a setting also protects you from the insecurity and shame that can cause abuse.

Try Not to Place Blame

Confronting an abusive alcoholic about the pain they’re causing you is like poking at a sleeping bear. You don’t know what will be the thing that sets them off.

One subject is definitely off limits, though. You can’t place blame. This is sure to send your spouse into a whirlwind of intense emotions and make them act out.

3. Avoid Ultimatums

Another subject to avoid is an ultimatum. Sometimes, partners of abusive alcoholics threaten to leave or get a divorce if the other person won’t clean up their act.

This may sound reasonable enough to you. But to the other person, it can feel like they’re put in a corner – and they’ll do anything to get out. Offering an ultimatum is pretty much a sure-fire way to experience even more abuse.

If you do feel like leaving or a divorce is the right answer, make the proper preparations before bringing it up. You should be ready to walk out the door and not look back. Maybe even make arrangements to have other people present when telling your partner about your decision.

4. Protect Your Children and Pets

Speaking of other people, consider the safety of your children and pets. As heartbreaking as abusive alcoholic behavior can be within a marriage, it’s just as scarring on little kids or household animals.

Separate them from the situation as much as possible. Put your kids in after-school activities and send them to grandma’s house on the weekends. Also, consider giving away your pets or at least having them watched by someone else for a little while.

5. Throw Out All the Alcohol in the House

It’s a good idea to get yourself and the other people you care about out of the house. But, the first thing you should actually get rid of is all the alcohol.

Clean out the adult cabinet and do a search for any hiding spots. Remember, alcoholics will do anything for a drink so they tend to have more than one stash lying around. Find them and get rid of them.

Keep in mind this may result in a violent verbal or physical outbreak. If you think this is the case, get the alcohol out then get yourself out ASAP.

6. Ask Your Spouse to Spend a Few Days Away

While you’re weighing your options of where to go to get out of the house, consider the alternative. Why should you be the one to leave if your spouse is the one causing problems in the home?

If you can, kick them out. The thing about this is that it can end up in a serious outbreak if you aren’t careful. You may have to trick your spouse into going away.

Take a drive with them and drop them off at their friend’s place. Invite his/her friends over for an outing and have them help you check this person into rehab instead. These measures may sound extreme, but they’re best for the safety of everyone involved.

Attempting to kick your spouse out alone could backfire. Still, continuing to coexist with them – along with their alcoholism and their abusive tendencies – is not good for anyone, either.

7. Stop Ignoring the Issue

You may feel stuck between a rock and a hard place when figuring out how to live with an alcoholic husband or wife. But, this is no reason to let the problem continue to grow.

The more you keep yourself from taking action, the worse the problem will get. Even if you’re afraid, unsure, or just plain tired, you have to do something.

Begin with baby steps if you have to. Seek treatment for yourself, then figure out how to help the person you married. You may need medical attention for the physical abuse you’ve undergone, and definitely some sort of emotional support for verbal abuse.

There are support groups available for victims of abuse. You can also look for a therapist to talk to or reach out to a friend or family member who’s dealt with something like this before.

Little by little, you will start to heal, which sets the foundation for you to help your spouse recover as well. Who knows, your marriage may even turn around completely.

8. Seek Professional Help

Just as you need support to confront the pain alcoholism and abuse have caused you, you should look into professional help for your spouse as well. The two of you can’t come out of this situation alone. You need the right professionals to guide you through such a dark time.

So, who do you call first? The cops for abuse and domestic violence? A withdrawal and recovery center for alcoholism?

That’s a decision only you can make, but you do have to decide. If you feel like you’re stuck with your spouse out of fear, legal authorities may be your safest way out. If you still want to mend your marriage and get back to a better place, rehab is your best bet.

There are a few other things to think about. You could try hosting an intervention for your spouse before sending them off to rehab. There’s also a non-emergency police line you can call to have an officer come to your home and escort your spouse out.

Whatever you decide, though, do it with your safety in mind. As much as you may care about your husband or wife, you have to watch out for yourself, too.

When Enough Is Enough: Changing Abusive Alcoholic Behavior for Good

Maybe you’ve tried some of the methods of dealing with abusive alcoholic behavior already. Maybe this problem has only started to happen recently and you want to stop it as soon as possible.

Either way, there is hope for better days to come. Alcoholism recovery is possible for your spouse, and finding the spark in your marriage again is possible for the two of you.

It will take much effort on both ends. Recovery isn’t easy and it takes a lot out of the alcoholic as well as the people they care about. But, it’s worth the work.

Click here to put your spouse – and your marriage – on a better path.

What Not to Say to an Alcoholic (And Some Better Alternatives)

what not to say to an alcoholic

You know that someone in your life has a serious problem with alcohol.

You want them to get help.

However, you just don’t know how you should talk to them about it — and you’re terrified of saying the wrong thing.

In this post, we’ll cover what not to say to an alcoholic.

From accusing them of destroying your own happiness to telling them that you don’t think they have a problem, we’ll help you to better understand how to deal with an alcoholic.

By the end, we’re confident that you’ll have the tools you need to convince the person you care about to get help.

Don’t Say “You’re Ruining My Life”

If you’re living with an alcoholic, it’s easy to feel like the poor choices they make are destroying your own sanity.

In some cases, their alcoholism may even be causing you professional, personal, or financial problems. Sometimes, you can’t help but want to let them know that they’re responsible for your unhappiness.

However, saying this phrase comes in at number one on our list of what not to say to an alcoholic.

First of all, if you do decide to say this, be aware that it’s probably not going to get the reaction you were hoping for.

The alcoholic isn’t going to suddenly turn around, tell you that you’re right, apologize, pay you back all the money they owe you, and jump right into rehab without a fight.

It just doesn’t work as neatly as that.

You need to remember that denial is a huge part of someone’s personal battle with alcoholism. They’re likely to react incredibly defensively. They may even attack you, cutting you down and bringing up your personal insecurities and the way they think you’ve failed them.

In order to avoid that kind of emotional pain — and the very real possibility of a physical fight, especially if they’re drunk — it’s best tnot to use this phrase.

So, what can you say instead?

Try “I Miss the Ways We Used to Spend Time Together”

This takes the blame away from the alcoholic. Regardless of what you feel, it’s what will take to get them to actually listen to what you’re saying.

Plus, it makes your conversation less of an attack on their character and a serious guilt trip, and more of a longing for the “better times.”

Trust us when we tell you that the alcoholic is very likely missing the way things used to be as well. They just might worry that they’ve already completely destroyed their relationship with you.

This phrase is an excellent tool to use in learning how to deal with alcoholism when it comes to a friend or family member because it reminds them just how much they mean to you.

If they do decide to seek treatment in the future, they’ll remember that you said this. They may even come to you to ask for your assistance in getting help.

Write out a letter about your favorite old activities, an inside joke, or even just highlight a favorite personality trait of theirs. This is an amazing reminder that you care and that you’re still here for them.

Don’t Say “You Don’t Actually Have a Drinking Problem”

When you love someone who struggles with drinking, it can be difficult for you to accept what they’re going through.

You might even feel like their out of control drinking is all your fault. As much as alcoholics want to live in the land of denial, sometimes, the people close to them do that too.

But denying that they actually have a problem — or just telling them to “cut back a little bit” — is exactly what not to say to an alcoholic.

First of all, the alcohol addict has probably already tried and failed to control their drinking several times over. The goal, especially if you want them to accept help, is to get them to admit that not only do they have a real problem but also that they no longer have the power to control it.

So, this kind of denial isn’t doing anyone any favors. It’s also rooted in selfishness.

When you’re honest with yourself, phrases like this point to your concern that the person is going to change too much, or that you’ll lose out on a fun buddy to go out with.

Will you still want to hang out with your friend once they’ve gotten sober?

You need to stop making their addiction about your wants and insecurities.

Instead, you need to help them to celebrate the next phase in their life. We suggest that you sign up for local Al-Anon meetings to connect with other people who are in a situation like your own.

Try “How Can I Help You Find the Help You Need?”

This phrase is a perfect example of how to reason with an alcoholic.

First of all, it doesn’t offer any judgment, but it’s still a subtle confirmation that, yes, you’ve noticed that they seem to have lost control of their drinking lately.

It also establishes you as a reliable and immediate support system. The indication that they’ve opened up to you already about their struggle with drinking shows that they place a high amount of trust in you.

After you say this, you’ll need to have both the time and emotional bandwidth to stand behind your words.

Make sure that you’re truly ready to offer help. This means researching local rehab centers, helping them to tell other people in their life, or even being the person to drive them to a center.

Above all, if an alcoholic opens up to you about their addiction, be respectful and discreet.

This isn’t a subject for gossip. You should only tell others if you feel the addict’s life is in danger, if you know someone has been through something similar, or if the addict has asked you to.

Don’t Say “Rehab Is Going to Turn You into a Completely Different Person”

We’ll keep this one short and sweet.

The goal of rehab is to help the alcoholic to get back to who they were before they started boozing.

It’s not to make them someone they’re not and never have been.

Instead, it’s designed to help them beat these addiction demons and get their lives back on track. They won’t become a “new” person. Instead, they’ll become the best version of themselves.

While in rehab, the addict in your life will learn about several coping mechanisms. They’ll have to confront very real — and very difficult — past issues and even traumas in their lives.

They may even have to start using medication like antidepressants. Most of all, they’ll need to commit to a completely sober lifestyle.

None of this means that the addict inside of them is dead. It can return at any time. As someone playing a supporting role in their recovery, it’s up to you to help them to keep the urge to use at bay.

This will require some serious love and sacrifice on your part. Make sure that you’re really ready for it.

Try “I’m Proud of You and I’ll Be Here for You When You Get Out”

You need to keep in mind that someone doesn’t magically stop becoming an alcoholic just because they’ve successfully completed treatment.

They’ll need lots of love and support once they get out of the insular environment of rehab.

The transition back into the real, sober world can sometimes be harrowing for addicts. Often, this is what ends up causing them to relapse.

Make it clear that you’ll be there to support them through every stage of their journey. You can offer them a place to stay when they get out, or even just invite them to hang out with you and your friends.

You have no idea what kind of a difference even a small gesture like this could make.

What Not to Say to an Alcoholic: Next Steps

We know that understanding how to deal with alcoholism can be a serious challenge.

Above all, we hope you take this list of what not to say to an alcoholic into consideration before you decide to begin a difficult and incredibly important conversation.

If you know that someone in your life needs help, you can rely on us.

Spend some time on our website and blog to learn more about how we can help to make that happen for the addict that you care about.

Reach out to us today to get started!

What happens when addiction rears its ugly head at work?

For individuals who are able to function at a very high level despite an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it is often co-workers who are the last to suspect or know of a problem. Earlier this spring, I heard the story of a sales person who was an alcoholic. She recorded the highest sales figures in her region and was given an award for this honor at a national company conference. In front of peers and superiors, she took the stage to accept her award, which was a weeklong tropical vacation. She left no doubt in anyone’s mind, as she stumbled to the stage, slurred her words and stumbled back to her seat, that she had far too much to drink.

While a situation like this is quite embarrassing, it can be chalked up to several things – for someone who does not drink often and has a low tolerance, this could be the effect of a glass of wine or Champagne. This event, after all, was a celebration.

As the story was told, the woman received her award and booked her vacation. Midway through the trip, the company officials received a call from the resort informing them of an issue. The woman was being asked to vacate the hotel due to drunk and disorderly conduct on property. Upon returning to work the following week, she was dismissed from her position.

When we see our co-workers day in and day out, we may detect there is a problem. However, in this woman’s case, she worked in outside sales. She did most of her work in other people’s offices, often having lunches or dinners with clients, many involved having a drink. Her clients loved her and never reported seeing her overindulge. However, the company did not feel they could take the risk of exposing business clients to an incident similar to the company conference or vacation.

While each work environment and culture is different, many corporations offer support through a substance abuse policy. If you think about major sports organizations such as the National Football League or Major League Baseball, players who are identified as having illegal substances in their system are often suspended and mandated to treatment before they can play again. Future violations may have stronger penalties, but the initial report often results in an attempt to help. Meanwhile, other corporations may have a zero-tolerance policy. Companies who mandate substance abuse treatment for employees can also make recommendations of residential (inpatient) treatment, or outpatient if the employee is expected to continue working during the treatment period. They may even designate a specific treatment center.

Related blog:  Addiction in the Workplace

Pathways can work with employers and provides 28-day and extended care treatment programs for adults with substance use disorders. In addition to engaging clients in the 12-Step process, the program also focuses on setting boundaries, developing coping skills and handling trauma. If you, or someone you know is in need of substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways for more information at 855-349-5988.

 

What to do when your parent turns to drugs or alcohol? Part 3 of 3

Last week, we began our three-part blog series on the increase of substance abuse in our senior population. To recap the first two blogs, we addressed reasons why we are seeing an increase of substance abuse in the senior population (stress, boredom, comfortable taking medications, etc.) and warning signs of substance abuse (falls, change in attitude, increasing the amount of medication taken, multiple doctors/pharmacies, etc.). Today, we’ll discuss the sensitive topic of speaking to your parent if you suspect a problem.

For most people, certain topics are hard to discuss with your parents. When you raised kids, you likely grappled with the dreaded talk about drugs with them. Now, it’s your turn to have “the talk” with the person who raised you. This could go easier than you may expect. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.

1 – Make sure they know you are not judging them, but concerned for their well-being.
2 – Don’t be confrontational, be supportive.
3 – Speak to the individual before they start drinking – maybe in the morning.
4 – Do not dig up problems from the past – your focus is on now and the future.
5 – Be direct, do not coddle them. Speak to them as a peer.
6 – Approaching the topic may need to be done in steps.

Here are a few examples of how to get things started.

1 –“I noticed that you have a lot of prescriptions you take daily. Can you tell me what each one is and how it helps you? This gives you an opportunity to assess their situation and its good information to know should they ever be hospitalized.” If you see multiple and/or high dosage painkillers, inquire if this is safe and healthy. We often hear, especially in the senior population, “the medication must be safe, the doctor prescribed it.” When a person has multiple doctors and specialists for varying ailments, communication between medical professionals does not always exist. Each will prescribe medications for specific concerns, but when combined, the medications can interact causing a negative effect. Suggest accompanying the individual to the next medical appointment to see if the doctor can evaluate the combination of medications being taken. Reluctance to this idea could signal a red flag, but maintain a firm stand. Raise your concern that many of these medications are addictive, see if the doctor can scale back prescriptions and find alternate non-opioid treatments such as over-the-counter medications, exercise, and physical therapy.

2 – If the person is drinking excessively, let them know you are concerned. If you suspect it is the result of boredom, try to engage them in social activities where alcohol is not present. Remind them that drinking and taking medications can be very dangerous. If the problem persists, encourage them to speak to their doctor and attend the appointment if possible.

A few factors will make this process easier for you. Most seniors respect their doctors and are willing to follow medical advice. Surprisingly, most seniors will be happy to have your support and won’t be resistant to seeking help. Often, tolerance to drugs and/or alcohol decreases with age leaving them feeling “fuzzy” and confused. Feeling “normal” again will be welcomed.

Related Blog:  Communicating with Someone Who Has an Addiction

Pathways provides 28-day and extended care treatment programs for adults with substance use disorders. In addition to engaging clients in the 12-Step process, the program also focuses on setting boundaries, developing coping skills and handling trauma. If you, or someone you know is in need of substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways for more information at 855-349-5988.

What to do when your parent turns to drugs or alcohol? Part 1 of 3

So often, when we speak about addiction and finding help, we speak in terms of helping parents find help for their young-adult children. Periodically, we talk about getting help for your spouse. However, we seldom discuss what happens when it is time to find help for your parents. This three-part series will explain why substance abuse is prevalent among our senior population, how to recognize when a parent is abusing drugs and finally, how to approach them about seeking help.

Very quietly, over the past several years, more and more, older adults are turning to drugs and alcohol for comfort and becoming dependent on these substances. Nearly 10,000 individuals are turning 65 on a daily basis and many are retiring, which compounds the issue. Here are a few reasons why our seniors and retirees are abusing drugs/alcohol.

1 – Many of us are “used” to taking medication for a variety of medical issues as well as aches and pains. As we age, the number of pills we take daily also tends to increase. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for seniors to increase the number of highly-addictive opioid painkillers they are taking, or turn to alcohol to numb their physical pain.

2 – Just like younger generations, substance abuse can be triggered by a stressor. In seniors, the most common stressors are financial or health concerns, the strain of being a caregiver to another ailing family member or the death of a spouse.

3 – Boredom is also a common thread among seniors who abuse alcohol. Empty nesters without the support of nearby family, limited financial means and limited or few hobbies can translate to boredom for many retirees. If someone is accustomed to having happy hour with friends after work, the happy hour may start at home much earlier in the day.

If you have a parent who will soon be retiring, ask them about their social and financial plans for retirement. If they don’t have a plan, encourage them to pick up hobbies or do volunteer work to help keep them active and engaged with other individuals.

Related Blog:  Addiction and Family

Pathways provides 28-day and extended care treatment programs for adults with substance use disorders. In addition to engaging clients in the 12-Step process, the program also focuses on setting boundaries, developing coping skills and handling trauma. If you, or someone you know is in need of substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways for more information at 855-349-5988.

Know the Warnings Signs for Alcohol Poisoning

A report released by the Center for Disease Control says that six people die daily as a result of alcohol poisoning. As we have a long weekend for the Independence Day holiday, it’s imperative to be aware of warning signs.

Related Blog: Why Investing in Addiction Treatment is Worth it- Part 1

1 – Hypothermia
2 – Vomiting
3 – Irregular heartbeat
4 – Seizures
5 – Slow or irregular breathing
6 – Unconsciousness

Facts & Stats on alcohol poisoning

  • Poisoning is often the result of binge drinking

    • ¾ of those who die of alcohol poisoning are men

    • ¾ of those who die of alcohol poisoning are between the ages of 35-64.

    • Most people who die from alcohol poisoning are not alcoholics; but have consumed at least four (women) or five (men) drinks in the course of 2-3 hours.

If you are with someone who is exhibiting these signs, call 911 right away.

Pathways Florida provides residential treatment programs for adults who have substance use disorders. For more information, contact us or call 855-349-5988.