Drinking alcohol is normal in many circles, but not everyone can drink in moderation. If you find yourself dating someone with a drinking problem, your willingness to address the problem might save their life. End-stage alcoholics evoke pity and disgust from others, but early-stage alcoholics are often charismatic, entertaining, and quick-witted. When a person struggles with alcoholism, their best qualities will get them into the most trouble. Reach out to Greater Boston Addiction Centers to learn about alcohol rehab in Massachusetts for your loved one.
What Makes Someone an Alcoholic?
Many people drink more alcohol than they should; the harmful effects of heavy, long-term alcohol consumption aren’t noticeable right away. People drink alcohol for many reasons. When used in small doses, it can help people relax in nerve-wracking situations and cope with catastrophic events. However, certain combinations of genetic factors, disposition, unhealed trauma, and access to alcohol cause some people to lose control when they drink. A person whose uncontrollable drinking causes pain and loss is known as an alcoholic.
Alcoholism is an extremely complex condition that can stem from a variety of factors, including genetic predisposition, emotional triggers, and environmental influences. Some people start drinking alcohol to cope with stress or trauma in their lives; for others, the addiction begins when they have easy access to alcohol. Regardless of the cause, excessive drinking eventually changes the brain, making it difficult for people to control how much alcohol they consume.
The physical effects of drinking too much alcohol can include changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration. Long-term excessive drinking can lead to serious health conditions like liver disease, brain damage, weakened immune system, memory loss, pancreatitis, depression, and anxiety.
Is My Significant Other an Alcoholic?
Alcohol addiction shows itself in a number of different ways. Early-stage alcoholics are often skilled at convincing others and themselves that they are in control of their drinking. The following signs may indicate that your significant other is an alcoholic:
- They get aggressive or emotional when they drink
- They mix alcohol and other drugs recklessly
- People find them repulsive when they drink
- They use alcohol to handle emotions and past trauma
- Drinking has caused serious problems in their life, such as car accidents, DUIs, family problems, and employment issues
Encouraging your loved one to seek help is not easy until they are completely out of options. They may try to deflect your concerns by pointing out your own flaws or past mistakes. They may try to manipulate you by talking about past trauma they’ve suffered. They may try to distract you by talking about someone else’s heavy drinking or drug use. They may promise to cut back. It doesn’t matter how intelligent the person is; all alcoholics make excuses for their drinking.
Is my Relationship Codependent?
The best way to help your significant other is to stop making excuses for them. If your life revolves around your significant other’s addiction, you are in a codependent relationship. Communicate your love and concern in a way they’ll understand and recommend that they seek help. If they can afford it, a good first step is going to counseling. They probably won’t want to go, especially if they’re skeptical by nature or are used to being the smartest person in the room. Encourage them to get out of their comfort zone and give it a shot. If they don’t do it for themselves, ask them to do it for you.
If your significant other is struggling with alcoholism but is not ready, willing, or able to heal, ask yourself if this is the relationship you want. It may be a difficult decision to make; people who see themselves as loyal and compassionate sometimes feel compelled to stay in relationships that aren’t good for them in order to uphold their own self-image. It is your choice whether you want to stay in any relationship. Sometimes breaking up is your best option. If your significant other claims they can’t live without you, it might feel like an expression of love, but it isn’t. Being dependent on someone is not the same thing as loving them.
Treatment for Alcoholism
Treatment options range from a few weekly meetings with a group to more intensive care, such as a partial hospitalization program (PHP), which lasts all day. Ideally, you will want to find an alcohol addiction treatment facility that offers a range of options. The team there decides the best level of care for your loved one.
There are a number of different therapies used for alcohol addiction treatment, including:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Dual diagnosis
Some people may require medication to help reduce symptoms of withdrawal or to treat other mental health conditions that often accompany addiction.