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Siblings share a unique bond. You may recognize the warning signs of behavioral or health issues before your sibling notices a problem. Family members, including siblings, often play an essential role in identifying and intervening on behalf of loved ones with alcohol use disorder (AUD). According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), “Families may play a key role in fostering the initiation of recovery.” West Coast Recovery Centers encourages siblings to participate in treatment, family therapy, or other support services. Your sibling has access to practical support services and effective care during treatment programs.

I Think My Sibling Has a Drinking Problem

Family members may find it emotionally distressing to acknowledge a loved one has developed AUD without them noticing. Drinking is a socially accepted activity. Often, individual symptoms and side effects of AUD seem harmless. However, when considered together, they point to a more significant issue. Your sibling may have a drinking problem if they exhibit signs of alcohol dependency and have a higher risk of AUD.

Risk factors for developing AUD include: 

  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Chronic stress 
  • Witnessing or experiencing a trauma
  • Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)
  • Peer pressure 
  • Social drinking
  • Binge drinking 
  • History of mental health disorders
  • Family history of substance abuse or mental health disorders 
  • Chronic pain or other health conditions
  • Severe illness or injury

Moreover, according to NIAAA, “A person’s risk for developing AUD depends in part on how much, how often, and how quickly they consume alcohol.” Individuals with multiple risk factors may benefit from abstinence to lower their risk of experiencing severe or even life-threatening side effects of AUD. 

Identifying Potential Warning Signs

You may have suspicions about your loved one’s drinking habits. Close siblings generally notice when something is off or if one of them abruptly changes routines. If your sibling drinks more than usual or begins to spend a lot of time around people who abuse alcohol, it may indicate they are struggling with addictive behaviors. 

Some of the most common warning signs and symptoms of AUD include: 

  • An inability to stop drinking despite adverse health, financial, or social consequences 
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms during periods of abstinence 
  • Difficulty limiting the number of drinks consumed 
  • Spending the majority of time drinking, thinking about drinking, or recovering from the effects of alcohol 
  • Withdrawing from friends and family 
  • Requiring more alcohol to achieve the same effects 
  • Drinking more alcohol to cope with the symptoms of AUD
  • Engaging in risk-taking behaviors, including unsafe sex or driving while intoxicated 

Siblings may believe, based on what they have observed, that their loved one is abusing alcohol. However, AUD requires a clinical assessment and diagnosis. Individuals who exhibit warning signs of AUD do not automatically meet the criteria for the diagnosis. Rather, a professional needs to make that determination. Some families may find it challenging to convince loved ones to undergo assessment for AUD. Siblings can support and offer treatment options to help facilitate a clinical diagnosis. 

My Sibling Has Trouble Controlling Their Drinking

If your sibling finds it challenging to control their drinking, it can have a ripple effect in the lives of everyone around them. Addiction often negatively influences behavior, financial stability, social interactions, personal relationships, and physical health. Watching a sibling experience those challenges is heartbreaking and may cause you to feel overwhelmed or uncertain about how to proceed. 

Older siblings who struggle to control their drinking may have a significant impact on younger siblings. According to Social Work in Public Health, “Each family and each family member is uniquely affected by the individual using substances including but not limited to having unmet developmental needs, impaired attachment, economic hardship, legal problems, emotional distress, and sometimes violence being perpetrated against him or her.” Recognizing a problem and identifying how it has impacted a loved one’s life is the first step in getting them the life-saving help they need to recover from addictive behaviors. 

Do I Need to Hold an Intervention?

Family plays a vital role in ensuring people with AUD participate in rehabilitation programs. Often, the person experiencing addiction does not recognize the dangers of their behavior until after they begin to heal. Family members provide motivation and encouragement for people to get the life-saving help they need to start making positive lifestyle changes. 

You may feel compelled to hold an intervention to show your concern and love. Interventions are powerful tools and may prompt people to seek professional treatment for their condition. Alcohol addiction should be treated by experts who can provide withdrawal support and detox services. An intervention provides people with resources and education, ensuring they understand the importance of participating in expert treatment. 

How Can West Coast Recovery Centers Help Ensure My Sibling Has the Resources to Heal?

West Coast Recovery Centers offers evidence-based and alternative holistic therapies to individuals with AUD and dual diagnosis. Your sibling will receive tailored treatment plans and a wide range of effective modalities. 

Some of the services and programs offered include: 

  • Individual and group therapy 
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Partial hospitalization programs (PHP)
  • Intensive outpatient programs (IOP)
  • Alumni services
  • Trauma treatment
  • Aftercare planning 

Treatment plans often incorporate family members into the treatment process. You can support your sibling through their recovery every step of the way.

How to Show Love and Support

Siblings show their love and support by actively participating in the recovery process. Family members support their loved ones by attending family therapy and support groups, making changes to accommodate a sober environment, and providing practical support. West Coast Recovery Centers collaborates with clients and their loved ones to ensure family members grow and heal together as they navigate recovery. 

Siblings are often in a unique position to notice behavioral changes caused by alcohol abuse. The deep bond siblings share makes it especially painful to watch the physical and emotional deterioration caused by untreated alcohol use disorder. Siblings can encourage one another to get assessed for AUD and seek treatment to address their condition. Alcohol abuse affects every family member. West Coast Recovery Centers encourages families to participate in treatment and prompt loved ones to get professional care. Clinicians use family therapy and other services to help siblings support one another through recovery. To learn more about the programs and services we offer, contact us today by calling (760) 492-6509.