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More than 17 million Americans actively abuse alcohol, and millions more practice risky drinking behaviors that typically evolve into a dependence of this highly addictive substance.Government statistics show that more than half of this nation’s adult population has a family history of alcoholism, and some 7 million children reside in a home with at least one parent who is dependent upon alcohol.

These numbers are nothing short of staggering, and alcoholism is a serious condition that ruins careers, destroys families and carries significant health risks. In fact, nearly 90,000 people die each year from alcohol-related causes, and those who abuse alcohol are much more likely to develop such serious illnesses as liver disease and cancers of the mouth, the liver, the esophagus, the breasts and the larynx.

If someone you love is suffering from an addiction to alcohol, then there are a few things that you can do to help them beat this problem before it becomes a tragedy. These important tips could make the difference between life and death to a person trapped by an addiction to alcohol.

alcohol1. Be Open About the Problem

Too many friends and family members tend to tread lightly on the issue of alcoholism so that they won’t upset or offend their loved one, but it’s important that the problem be brought out into the open. It can’t be addressed until it’s revealed, and you shouldn’t hesitate to go to the affected person with your concerns. Since an addicted individual won’t always recognize their addiction or wish to admit it, you might like to show him or her this useful list of symptoms to help open their eyes to this serious issue.

2. Include Everyone Who is Affected

If your addicted loved one is still hesitant to accept that he or she has a very real medical problem, then you should encourage all of the individual’s closest friends and family members to participate in a loving intervention. This can be organized by a therapist who specializes in addiction, or you can plan a time for everyone to gather with the addicted individual to explain how the addiction has negatively affected each of their lives. Such an outpouring of love and honesty often works to help the addicted individual understand how real the problem actually is and how many people are being hurt.

3. Make Yourself Available to Assist in the Recovery Process

detoxOnce a person realizes that they have a problem with alcohol addiction, it’s normal for the individual to want to try and quit on his or her own. This can sometimes work, but it’s never easy. Your loved one will need someone that they can count on, and it’s important that reliable help is always available. A visit to the doctor is a good place to start because the process of withdrawal can be dangerous, and your loved one should be medically evaluated. Once that is done, you should help the addicted individual arrange regular appointments on an outpatient basis with a treatment program that is designed for those who abuse alcohol, and make sure he or she has transportation to regular meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous.

4. Encourage Your Addicted Loved One to Seek Professional Help

Because alcoholism is a disease, it’s necessary for most alcohol-dependent persons to seek treatment from an in-patient program at an alcohol rehabilitation center for the best chances of beating this powerful addiction. Help your loved one seek out a rehabilitation center that will work best for his or her specific needs. For instance, you may choose a rehab that treats dual-diagnosis disorders, which may include treating the alcohol dependency along with such issues as depression or anxiety. Other choices include centers for men or women only, those that offer a spiritual-based program or centers that arrange for housing and work opportunities following a successful course of treatment.

Recovery is Possible

Dealing with the alcoholism of a loved one can be very difficult, but real help is available. Get started with these few tips today, and your friend or family member may enjoy a full recovery and be able to get their life back to normal before the disease does any further damage.