How to Deal with an Alcoholic
I am getting really scared that my best friend is developing a drinking problem. We have been roommates since the beginning of the semester and she goes out four or more times a week drinking. She is constantly blacking out and drinking absurd amounts of vodka. She is very small, but for some reason she can drink as much as a large male. I am writing for advice because last weekend she came home the morning after a night of partying and thinks she got really close to being sexually assaulted while out the night before. When I brought up how she might be using alcohol as a way to deal with stress she just told me to mind my own business. What do I do?
“A concerned friend”
Dear “A concerned Friend,”
I think that is really great that you care about your friend and roommate so much. It is very good that you noticed her habits early on, because from the way it sounds, she still has time to fix herself without having to be admitted to a rehabilitation center. As a close friend you should be able to bring up the topic lightly again and see what her reaction is. If you are met again with hostility do not just drop it. Reach out to her other friends and loved ones and see what their take on the situation is. You all may need to stage an alcohol intervention for them to show them that their behavior is concerning the people that care about them. There are many unique challenges you may encounter when staging an intervention, and you may need to hire professional help. Make sure you show your friend your support and that they can trust you.
Best of Luck,
Help for Spouse of an Addict
I am at my wits end. My husband is hiding something from me and I know it. He is never home and when he is he is irritated, anxious, and depressed. I called his work the other day to check in and they said he has not shown up for the past TWO WEEKS. Last weekend when he went out with friends he came home so drunk he couldn’t even talk. I asked how he got home and he told me he drove himself! I also have been suspecting he is taking my prescription anxiety medication. He keeps putting himself in dangerous situations and putting our relationship in jeopardy. What is going on and what can I do as his number one supporter and best friend?
“Out of options”
Dear “Out of options”,
I am so glad that you reached out to me for advice. It sounds to me like your husband is suffering with alcoholism and drug addiction. There are many ways that you can learn how to deal with an alcoholic and addict in a safe and healthy way. Alcoholics will often lash out at their loved ones, so it is important to be careful when approaching the topic. Addicts often deny their addiction because there is such a negative stigma attached to the idea of being an addict. Does your husband have a history of acting sporadically or getting angry? If so he may suffer from an underlying mental health disorder. Luckily there are many ways that you can help a loved one suffering from both a mental illness substance abuse issues. Rehab centers can provide addicts with all types of care. At rehab centers your husband would have his care be all about him. Rehab centers can create much needed structure in an addict’s life and get rid of the chance of a relapse. Your best bet is to look for someone who can give your husband the proper treatment he needs.
Best of Luck,
How to Get Help for a Loved One with a Mental Illness
My father has been exhibiting really concerning behavior lately. One minute he is happy and excited and the next he is angry and throwing things. There is nothing that happens to trigger these outbursts, and from what I know he has not had any history of mental illness. He is a much older man and he does not want to try anything new such as therapy or medication. I am scared that a mental illness is appearing in his old age and that I am not going to be able to do anything to help him. What can I do?
“A frustrated son”
Dear “A frustrated son,”
There is nothing more painful than watching our own parents suffer. Unfortunately as people get older, they may exhibit signs and symptoms of underlying mental health disorders they didn’t have when they were younger. Even though your father is not interested in dealing with traditional medication, it is still vital you seek him help before he begins to self-medicate. Often when people have no other option to help with the side effects of a mental illness, they reach to harmful substances to numb the pain. You do not want your father to end up like this, and express this to him. Hopefully he will know that you care about him and he will take what you mean to heart.
Best of Luck,