Alcohol… A word we all know, a drink most of us have tried (and enjoy) but also a drug with spiraling effects. No matter how old you are, your gender, your job or your social status, we are all vulnerable to alcohol addiction and its harmful health impacts. This may involve our own drinking habits impacting us directly or ourselves being impacted by others.
Much of the US population believe they don’t come anything close to having an alcohol issue or addiction, yet many are shocked when they are approached by national statistics. They realize that even the most casual of drinking habits places them amongst the highest percentage of drinkers in the country. For example:
- Only 30% of adult Americans don’t drink at all.
- In 2015, it was reported that 56% of people aged 18 and over had drunk an alcoholic beverage in the last month throughout the US.
- 7% of the American population (13.8 million) aged 18+ have a drinking problem and over half are diagnosed alcoholics.
- Top 10% of American drinkers (24 million aged 18+) consumer 74 drinks on average per week.
What Happens Next?
If you have previously acknowledged that either yourself or someone you know may have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, or those statistics feel closer to home than you thought they would, an alcohol intervention is likely necessary. Interventions don’t tend to focus on the amount of alcohol an individual consumes.
Instead, they focus on the urgent need for help and possible danger of alcohol imposes. It’s the reason for drinking the alcoholic drink in the first place that is of interest and concern. For example, people drink to numb depression, for confidence or because the individual is simply hooked on the high they receive. The underlying reasons are just as important to fix, and this is why an intervention is vital!
Help comes in various forms to work with everyone’s individual needs and lifestyle characteristics. For example, varying methods are used depending on whether the patient is young, middle-aged or old, have a family, have a career or are in education.
It also depends on the extent of alcohol addiction. Help is out there for all walks of life, but before help is received, the individual needs to confront their issues or be confronted, identify their issues and then seek medical attention.
So, What Is an Alcohol Intervention?
Confrontation. Acknowledging that yourself or a loved one needs help and plucking up the courage to approach the situation and attempt to seek professional help. The aim of the intervention is to combat the addiction and issues arising from alcohol consumption, through educating those it concerns about the impacts it can have, physically and mentally.
Battling addiction is most successful when professional help is requested. This is why intervention is the important link between acknowledging the issue and being treated.
Interventions are often staged privately with friends and/or family. A common setting may be the home, a place that feels safe and comfortable. It’s the process and opportunity to openly discuss the issues that have arisen, and why they have, and then form a plan on what to do next.
Many cases have found that alcoholics have experienced trauma in their childhood and therefore the type of treatment they need would incorporate a focus on the trauma also.
Issues You May Face with Alcohol Intervention
This all sounds marvelous, but it’s important to note that interventions ARE NOT easy for many people. In fact, they can be emotionally draining and can cause distress, tension and upset. Accepting that yourself or a loved one has got a problem is never a pleasant moment and it can take people a while to come to terms with it.
Many people feel nervous approaching an individual they believe are suffering or admitting that they themselves need help. More often than not people wait until the addiction has advanced to worrying and noticeable stages. This makes intervention even more vital and often means help has a smaller chance of being successful.
Some individuals and groups find it liberating to stage an intervention and report a great sense of relief wash over them when everything is out in the open. Recent reports and evidence on mental health suggests that talking always helps.
The thought of being helped and ending the dark period that is alcohol addiction brings about positivity and many people for the first time in a long time see a future worth living.
Since alcohol is legal in most places around the world, it’s often harder for the alcohol abuser to view it as a problem. This can make an alcohol intervention very difficult without professional assistance.
Many alcoholics don’t view alcohol to be as serious as other drugs such as cocaine and crystal meth. However, alcohol is the third leading preventable death in the US, totaling to 88,000 people dying from alcohol-related deaths every year.
Many alcoholics reveal similar traits and characteristics. This often comes in the form of denial and believe the cause of the problem is anything but their own. Normally due to the effects of the alcohol itself, they tend to be stubborn, selfish and self-absorbed people who take no accountability for their own actions.
They often blame their problems on everyone else. This all makes interventions hard for those staging it for others. This is why having professional alcohol interventionist by your side is highly encouraged, to help control and calm the situation.
So Just Do It!
Don’t wait to intervene if you feel yourself or someone close to you is spiraling out of control because of alcohol, or any drug for that matter. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes to quit. Alcohol can kill you. So be brave, stare it in the face and your future will look a lot more promising.