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How to Know Your Loved One Needs Treatment for Alcoholism

You suspect someone you love has a problem with alcohol, but how do you really know? What types of actions and behaviors show you that their alcohol use is out of control? How do you know when a friend or family member needs treatment for alcoholism? A person’s behavior changes with alcohol use. Look for changes in personal habits in your loved one. For example, someone who previously had great attendance at work or school is now missing frequently. He or she asks to borrow money without explanation, or steals money. A person who is normally an early riser may begin staying out late and sleeping into the day. Mood and sleep changes are common. Depression and anger often occur in individuals with an alcohol problem. A person addicted to alcohol may have difficulty getting to sleep or may not be able to sleep without a few drinks first. In addition to the mood and sleep changes, a lack of focus is apparent. An alcoholic may leave household tasks, such as cleaning or bill paying, undone. Focusing on their job or schoolwork may be extremely difficult, which leads to poor performance. Alcohol negatively affects an addict’s health. Health changes may be obvious, such as extreme intoxication or horrible hangovers with headaches and nausea. Less obvious signs include weight loss, bruises from falls, or a weak immune system (leading to frequent colds or bouts of flu). Often, increased alcohol use will lead to a change in friends and activities. The person abusing alcohol begins to associate with others who use alcohol and distances themselves from former friends. Things that were once important, such as hobbies or sports, now are insignificant. If you see these signs in a loved one, they may indicate a problem with alcohol. However, treatment for alcoholism is available and can be successful. The Ranch PA offers individualized programs and effective treatment for alcoholism. (photo via)

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