Because our societal relationship with alcohol is so open and friendly, alcoholism is able to do its damage right out in the open. People, your friends or family, can hide drinking problems behind the general acceptance that others tend to have and thus those problems easily grow. Metastasizing into full-fledged alcohol abuse and dependency before your very eyes.
It’s hard to watch, no doubt. Harder yet to know exactly what you can do to help.
Being a bystander eventually wears thin though and your ability to take proper action is rooted in knowing what to look for in terms of what constitutes alcohol abuse and what resources are available to help.
The Difference Between Binge Drinking and Alcohol Abuse
Like a drinker’s vision, the line between various types of drinking behavior tends to blur and the difference between alcohol abuse and binging becomes hard to see.
Binge drinking is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to .08 percent – or .08 grams of alcohol per deciliter – or higher. It’s roughly 5+ drinks for a man or 4+ for a woman within ~2 hours.
Binging is widespread with a 2018 study showing that roughly 25% of people in the US aged 12 and up have done so within the last month.
Alcohol abuse or as it’s officially known, alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a chronic relapsing brain disorder characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.
It’s diagnosed along a spectrum running from mild to moderate to severe with 15 million or so Americans having AUD.
The abuse and binging take a catastrophically heavy toll with nearly 95,000 people dying from alcohol-related causes per year. In addition to that, the financial toll on the U.S. economy is stark as well with the cost of excessive alcohol use coming in at just about a quarter of a trillion dollars back in 2010.
Importantly, binge and excessive drinking by themselves wouldn’t necessarily constitute an alcohol use disorder but they very much can lead to it.
How to Stage an Intervention for Alcohol Abuse
If someone you love is plagued by an inability to control their drinking and it’s causing ever-growing problems in their life, it just may be time to step in and stage an intervention for alcohol abuse. However, it isn’t something you should try to do or plan on your own. There are a lot of moving parts to take care of and expertise is required to lead a person into an intervention and out to proper addiction treatment, which is the ultimate goal.
The whole point is to shine a light on how their behavior is destroying themselves and the people and things they hold most dear. Holding a mirror to it in a sense.
Staging that necessitates careful planning and coordination as well as a trained interventionist to lead and a treatment center lined up that they can go to.
How Footprints of Serenity Can Help
The decision to move forward with an intervention is certainly a tough one. It represents a distinct crossroads both for yourself and the one you’re trying to help and there are real consequences that potentially will be faced. At Footprints of Serenity, we understand the gravity of that because it’s what we’ve done for a combined 2 decades.
Reach out to us and let’s have a talk and see if now is the time to step in.