The 9 signs your loved one has dangerous booze dependency – and 7 ways to help | The Sun

MOST people like a drink now and again and can stop at a glass or two of red or a couple of beers.

But for others, alcohol can become problematic, with some becoming dependent on it.

More than half a million Brits are dependent on booze and it's estimated that two thirds of people with an alcohol problem also suffer with depression, studies show.

Alcohol dependence affects different people in different ways, and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that if your loved one is dependent then they might have started to drink every day.

They might also reach for booze first thing in the morning, or in the evening, guidance states.

But what are the main signs you should be looking out for if you're worried your partner, friend or family member is struggling?

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According to the HSE, signs of alcohol dependence may include:

  1. not being able to function without alcohol – for example, not being able to do your job or carry out daily tasks
  2. drinking has become an important, or the most important, thing in life
  3. continuing to drink despite negative consequences for you or your loved ones
  4. finding it difficult to control the amount or the times when you drink
  5. finding it difficult to stop drinking when you want to
  6. not always being able to plan with certainty how much you are going to drink on an occasion
  7. drinking increasing amounts of alcohol
  8. craving alcohol or having withdrawal symptoms
  9. not seeming to be drunk after drinking large amounts.

The experts state that some people might not be completely dependent on alcohol, but may indulge in harmful patterns of alcohol use.

This could include periods of binge drinking followed by restrictions.

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If you're worried about someone else's behaviour then it can be hard to know what to say or what to do.

Experts at Drinkaware state that before approaching them, you should try and think about how you would feel if a friend or a loved one started a conversation with you about your drinking.

Here's how to approach the situation:

  1. Choose a safe and comfortable place and use supportive language
  2. Show you are concerned and try the following phrase: "I've noticed that you aren't so positive since you've been drinking more. This isn't the kind of person I know you to be. I'm not bringing it up to upset you, but because I'm concerned."
  3. Express how it's making you feel: "I feel sad that we don’t do X, Y or Z anymore because it meant we had quality time together."
  4. Highlight that they have stopped doing things they enjoy: "I thought it was great when you were going to yoga/football/your night class etc."
  5. Ask what it is that makes them want to drink
  6. Avoid criticism and try and keep questions open such as 'don't you think you have a problem?
  7. Complete the Drinkaware unit calculator to start a conversation about consumption.

Sometimes, discussing the issue with your loved one is enough.

However, they might also need professional help, so it's key that you encourage them to speak to their GP about the feelings they are having.

They'll be able to discuss the services and treatments available after assessing drinking habits by using screening tests. 

Treatment usually involves counselling and medicine that helps you to slowly cut down on drinking and avoid withdrawal symptoms.

There are also a number of charities, support groups, and private clinics to help.

How to get help with alcohol

There are plenty of helpful resources and tools to help you with your drinking issues.

Drinkline – Call 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 4pm).

Alcoholics anonymous – free self-help group that offers a 12 week plan

Al-Anon – A group for family members or friends struggling to help a loved one

Adfam  – a national charity working with families affected by drugs and alcohol

 National Association for Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa – helpline for children who have parents who are alcohol dependent – call  0800 358 3456

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