Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Alcohol and drug abuse affects many families. It is important to recognize the signs of abuse and addiction, address substance abuse, learn about effective treatments or access professional help. Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive, relapsing brain disease. Alcoholism and drug abuse are nothing to be ashamed of and are often times genetic. 

Can people quit drinking or using on their own?

Research shows only a small percent of substance abusers stay abstinent for the next year if they try to quit on their own. The vast majority of substance abusers who go through treatment and regularly attend 12-step meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, stay sober for the next year.

What kind of treatment is needed?

Rehabilitation treatment can vary from outpatient counseling to inpatient treatment in specialized programs. The appropriate setting for the individual depends on a variety of factors, such as the severity of his or her problem and risk of relapse. There is no "cure" for alcohol and drug abuse, however, if individuals stick with their treatment and attend meetings, they have a very good chance of remaining abstinent.

How do I get my loved one into treatment if they don't believe they have a problem?

This is a very common question. Individuals with substance abuse problems often minimize, rationalize and deny the problem. Treat yourself first. Go to Al-Anon meetings, which are support groups that help family members understand and deal with their loved one’s problem. You may also consider meeting with an addiction counselor for support and advice about how to get your loved one into treatment. If your loved one refuses to recognize the problem, sometimes an intervention is utilized, mobilizing other support. This should only be done with a professional counselor's help. 

Additional Resources and Services

Official website for substance abuse and mental health agency:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Variety of alcohol treatment resources:
Alcohol Treatment Resources

Help for families and friends of alcoholics:
Al-Anon