Alcohol dependence is a debilitating condition which not only affects the alcoholic, but has far-reaching effects on their whole family too. Partners of alcoholics may feel the weight of the world on their shoulders, while children of alcoholics may become withdrawn. Alcohol affects everybody differently, so a tailored approach is often necessary to tackle the problem and help family members to access vital support.
Alcohol abuse and its effects on the family suffering from alcohol abuse may exhibit many characteristics which can be damaging not only to the individual but also the extended family unit. An alcoholic may have a number of physiological symptoms including weight gain or loss, blackouts or tremors and psychological difficulties like insomnia and obsessive or abusive behaviour.
These changes can be very hard on the family, who often feel they are walking on eggshells, or are powerless to help. When a person is reliant on alcohol their moods are very changeable and they often become selfish and focussed only on their next drink, regardless of the people they are hurting in the process.
Family members may feel an intense sense of responsibility for the person who drinks, or may feel stressed, afraid or anxious. Other common emotions are loneliness, guilt, isolation, low self-esteem or helplessness. These feelings can then become further intensified leading to depression.
If things have gone beyond repair and a relationship has broken down it may be necessary to seek advice from the best divorce solicitor Liverpool has to offer. If you feel your relationships are in danger, counselling can be beneficial, either individually, as a couple or in a group.
How to pull together
If you are related to an alcoholic, seek support from other family members in tackling the problem. It can help to know there is a support network in place and other people around to share the load, when the pressure becomes too much. Of course professional services are also available and these can be useful for both the alcoholic and their family, helping everybody react appropriately in tacking dependency.
If the alcoholic is ready to accept their addiction and seek help, honesty is key to getting better, as is seeking appropriate support from people who understand and can offer coping strategies. No matter how much you may wish a family member to get better, they need to be ready to face up to the problem themselves and take control when it comes to trying to fix things.
Specialist support is also helpful to those coping with a family member who drinks heavily and such groups can help teach strategies for managing alcohol dependency and its side-effects. It can be a huge relief to speak to other people in a similar situation or people who have the ability to listen, understand and offer advice.
There are many ways an alcoholic can improve their situation and some possible avenues to explore are Alcoholics Anonymous, counselling, rehabilitation and medical support, all of which can help turn the problem around, giving the alcoholic and their family a sense of hope and the chance to once again lead a full life.
Written on behalf of Hughes Carlisle – they are specialists in a range of legal areas and in particular family law and divorce were they look to gain a successful resolution for parties involved.