Few words are as painful as these — “my child is addicted to alcohol.” This beautiful girl you raised is now struggling with a disease that’s changing her in ways that are unbearable to witness. While having a child with alcohol use disorder is extremely painful and emotional, it’s important to remember that your daughter’s situation is not hopeless.
If you have a daughter who is addicted to alcohol and you’re wondering what to do, don’t lose hope. Your actions and words could be what gets your child on the road to recovery.
How Can I Know if My Daughter Is Addicted to Alcohol?
Whether your daughter is a teenager or an adult, it’s important to figure out if she actually has an addiction to alcohol. Alcohol use disorder is a chronic disease. Its main characteristics are a preoccupation with alcohol and uncontrollable drinking.
If you suspect that your daughter struggles with this disorder, here are a few signs that could indicate an addiction to alcohol:
- Binge drinking several days in a row
- Drinking to the point of intoxication several times a week
- Frequently having hangovers
- Blacking out
- Having lapses in memory due to drinking
- Spending more and more money on her drinking
- Developing the ability to tolerate large amounts of alcohol
- Constantly thinking about when she can drink next
- Showcasing withdrawal symptoms like nausea or shaking when she stops drinking
- Avoiding social situations where alcohol won’t be present
- Missing school, plans or other obligations due to drinking
Advice on How to Deal With a Daughter Who Is Addicted to Alcohol
Because drinking is such a normal part of American culture, your daughter may not even realize that she has a drinking problem. However, this disorder puts her health, safety and future at serious risk. The best way to help your daughter is to approach her about this issue.
Many people struggling with alcohol misuse close up and cut off others when confronted about their drinking. Your daughter may misconstrue your concern as an attack. Denial, defensiveness and anger are common responses.
Before talking to your daughter about your concerns, here are a few suggestions which may help:
- Educate yourself. Alcohol is a substance that should not be underestimated. Addiction is a serious disease that hijacks a person’s brain and changes their motivations and behaviors. Once physical dependence sets in, alcohol withdrawal can kill if the symptoms are not addressed properly. Professional treatment offers your daughter her best chance at recovery.
- Choose empathy. Be supportive and non-judgmental with your words. Empathy and encouragement will communicate to your daughter that you want to help her. Be willing to listen to her concerns so that she knows she can come to you for help.
- Avoid enabling. Enabling allows self-destructive behaviors to continue. While these actions may come from a place of compassion, enabling can prevent your daughter from seeing the bigger picture and recognizing her need for help. Whether it’s giving her money or bailing her out of jail, there is no incentive for change if there is nothing for her to lose.
- Find support for yourself. Others have been where you are. A support group for parents of adult children with alcohol addiction
will help you feel more confident about how best to help your daughter.
- Begin looking for treatment. There are many treatment centers available. You may feel overwhelmed trying to find the right one. Consider your daughter’s circumstances and unique needs when searching for alcohol rehab facilities. Whether she struggles with her mental health or she has experienced a life-changing trauma, be sure to find a treatment center that will address the underlying issues that may have contributed to her alcohol misuse.
Learn How Gateway Foundation Can Help Your Daughter
Alcohol use disorder is an insidious disease. The sooner you can get your daughter the help she needs, the better her chances are for recovery. You can’t force your daughter to stop drinking and seek treatment, but you can encourage her to get help.
Gateway Foundation has been treating adults and young people with alcohol addiction for more than 50 years. We understand the importance of personalized care in a compassionate setting. From medical attention to evidence-based therapies and peer support, your daughter’s comprehensive treatment will address the issues that have impacted her addiction. She’ll also learn strategies to carry on in recovery once she returns to her everyday life.
If you would like to learn more, we invite you to contact Gateway today to learn about our life-changing addiction treatments.