Steps for Intervention: Dealing with an Alcoholic Sibling

Steps for Intervention: Dealing with an Alcoholic Sibling

If you think your sister is drinking too much or might have a drinking problem, it’s important to act early.

This can help prevent bad things from happening because of her drinking, like health problems, fights with family and friends, accidents, money issues, and other problems.

Learn about the differences between regular drinking and alcoholism, understand why it’s good to talk to her about her drinking sooner rather than later, figure out how to start that conversation, find out what kind of help might work for her, and look into support options for both her and your family.


An image of how to deal with an alcoholic sibling

What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a disease that affects how someone thinks and acts. Certain types of drinking habits can increase the chances of developing an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).

These habits may cause lasting changes in the brain, which can make it harder to stop drinking. Alcoholism involves losing control over drinking, strong urges to drink, and not being able to stop even when there are negative consequences.

Problem drinking and alcoholism are similar, but not the same. Problem drinking covers any unhealthy drinking patterns, like heavy or binge drinking, which can raise the risk of alcoholism.

Surprisingly, most people who binge drink don’t have severe alcohol use disorder.

When Is Alcohol a Problem?

Because alcohol is so common and accepted in American society, it can be hard to tell if someone’s drinking is causing problems or could lead to addiction.

Not everyone who drinks will become addicted, but it’s important to know how drinking can become a problem.

This understanding can help you or someone you care about avoid developing an alcohol use disorder.

Drinking becomes a problem when it starts to cause issues in your life, like problems with relationships, health, or work.

What are the 9 causes of alcoholism?

Causes Of Alcoholism

Does My Sister Have an Alcohol Problem?

Only a qualified medical professional, such as a doctor or licensed addiction specialist, can diagnose alcohol use disorder.

However, if your sister is exhibiting certain behaviors, it could indicate that she needs assistance.

These signs include:

  1. Engaging in risky behaviors like drinking and driving.
  2. Needing to drink more to feel intoxicated or having a high tolerance.
  3. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, nausea, or sweating when alcohol use is suddenly stopped.
  4. Being unable to stop drinking despite negative consequences to physical or mental health and relationships.
  5. Making promises to stop drinking but not following through.
  6. Missing appointments or activities due to alcohol use or sneaking alcohol into places where it’s not permitted.
  7. Struggling to control the amount of alcohol consumed.

How to Help a Sibling Struggling with Alcoholism

If you suspect that your sister may have a drinking problem and you’re unsure about how to help her seek treatment, there are steps you can take to initiate the conversation.

Firstly, educating yourself about addiction, particularly alcoholism can provide insight into your sister’s experiences and challenges.

Understanding that alcoholism is a disease, not merely a lack of willpower, can foster empathy and support.

Recognizing that professional treatment and ongoing recovery efforts are often necessary for long-term management is essential.

Secondly, research treatment facilities that your sister could attend. Exploring local and out-of-state options and considering factors such as insurance coverage and amenities can facilitate discussions about her treatment options.

Additionally, addressing any co-occurring physical or mental health issues alongside her alcohol use is crucial.

Thirdly, consult with a medical doctor or addiction specialist.

They can offer guidance on problem drinking, alcoholism, and treatment options, as well as assist you in initiating the conversation with your sister and making referrals as needed.

Lastly, prioritize self-care. While supporting your sister, it’s important to care for your well-being by seeking assistance and support from family and friends and dedicating time to relax and address your physical and mental health needs.

Remember, you can’t effectively help others if you neglect your well-being.

How to Find Alcohol Treatment for Your Sister

When your sister is ready to explore treatment options, American Addiction Centers (AAC) is here to assist in arranging addiction rehabilitation programs., a subsidiary of AAC, is a nationwide provider of addiction treatment centers.

We understand that alcoholism is a disease that can be effectively managed with treatment and ongoing care.

Admitting a problem with alcohol abuse can be challenging, but your sister is not alone in this journey.

Our admissions navigators have extensive experience assisting individuals seeking freedom from addiction and will support her every step of the way.

They understand the fears associated with seeking treatment and will ensure she feels comfortable and safe throughout the process.

Our hotline is available 24/7 to discuss treatment options, and our admissions navigators are ready to address any inquiries regarding our facilities, our approach to addiction treatment, and payment options.

You can reach us at 866-800-1350 for a confidential conversation; there’s no pressure to make immediate decisions.

Additionally, you can use the form below to check if your health insurance provider may cover expenses related to rehab and therapies for alcohol addiction.

Support is available, and we’re here to help your sister start her journey to recovery.

Support for Family Members of Alcoholics

Coping with an alcoholic sibling can be incredibly tough, as alcoholism impacts the entire family dynamic.

Living with a family member who struggles with alcoholism can evoke a range of emotions and increase stress levels significantly.

Finding healthy ways to manage your emotions is essential for providing effective support to your sister.

Fortunately, there are several resources available to assist you, including:


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