Reasons Why Alcohol Addicted Need Family Support

 Alcoholism as a Family Disease

Alcoholism will always have a physical and emotional effect on family relationships. In fact, it is considered a family disease not because it tends to run in families, but because its impact affects the entire family.

 Furthermore, the family members of those who are alcoholics may also experience depression, anxiety, and even shame in regard to their loved one’s addiction. Alcohol abuse has the ability to affect the emotional bonding of everyone in the family, from marital satisfaction to child rearing.

The good news is that alcoholics are able to seek help from professionals. It is a treatable disease and there are a number of programs that are available for those who are addicted to alcohol.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

According to research, about 95% of alcoholics experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms that are treatable by medical professionals on an outpatient basis. However, the remaining 5% should be treated in a facility that specializes in detoxification.

Nevertheless, chronic alcohol drinkers will always experience a certain level of withdrawal symptoms as soon as they stop consuming alcohol. These symptoms range from discomfort to mild shakes. If you have a family member who is going through the same thing, the best you can do is to provide support and to equip yourself with the necessary knowledge on their condition.

Here are some of the dangers involved when going through alcoholism withdrawal as well as the necessary actions family members should take and support that you should provide. 

Delirium tremens

About 3% to 5% of those who are going through alcoholism withdrawal will experience life-threatening delirium tremens. When it comes to delirium tremens, sometimes referred to as DTs, these start 24 to 72 hours after their last drink. Moreover, their symptoms are much more vivid and severe than hallucinations

Whether your family member is going through withdrawal from an outpatient clinic or an inpatient medical treatment center, it is best to always be patient about it. Keep in mind that part of these DTs is high blood pressure, fever, and confusion. Ensure that they are always under careful medical monitoring. 


Hallucinations can be experienced 12 to 24 hours after their last drink. As compared to DTs, these are much milder. Hallucinations can be caused by a number of things, but one of its common causes is alcoholism withdrawal insomnia. Similar to DTs, you should look after your family members and ensure that they are under careful medical monitoring.


Hypophosphatemia pertains to having low levels of phosphate. This condition can pretty much lead to muscle weakness, a halt to the body’s normal breathing functions, and even coma. Most of the time, individuals are not aware that their blood phosphate levels are very low. If they are already considered as life-threatening low, the tissues in the body may experience trouble connecting oxygen and hemoglobin, which can pose problems for breathing.

As a family member, it is always important to be wary of these symptoms. By speaking with a medical professional, you’ll be able to explore treatments options that are possible via intravenous and oral routes. 

Metabolic abnormalities 

It is common for most people who are going through alcoholism withdrawal to experience metabolic abnormalities. The good news is that this can easily be treated through an adequate intake of fluids, sugar, and healthy vitamins. There are also over-the-counter medications that can help with these abnormalities. 

Alcoholic ketoacidosis

This condition is common among individuals who have type 1 diabetes mellitus. The intake of alcohol poses certain risks on the ability of the pancreas’ to produce insulin. If your family member has type 1 diabetes mellitus, it is best to inform the person who is in charge of their treatment as alcoholic ketoacidosis is a fatal condition.

Chairman Dr. Richard Saitz of the Department of Community Health Sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health shared with Healthline that the goal here is to achieve an awake and calm state in the patient. 

Delayed reflexes

This is one of the symptoms that is experienced a week after the alcoholic's last drink. By this time, most of the withdrawal symptoms may have already tapered off. Nevertheless, there are still some that may persist for a few weeks, including delayed reflexes. These can last from a few months up to one year.

In this case, it would be best for your family member to take cold showers. As simple as this may be, cold showers provide an individual with a number of health benefits. It jolts the immune system of the body triggering a flood of mood-boosting endorphins. Also, be sure that you are familiar with the alcoholism withdrawal symptom timeline as this can be proven useful for you and for your loved one. 


Alcoholism withdrawal insomnia, which is characterized by certain struggles in falling asleep, poor sleep quality, and prolonged wakefulness, may be part of one’s delirium tremens symptoms. Drug Rehab states that about 58% of alcoholics developed insomnia in the first week of their alcoholism withdrawal.

Thus, it is important for every family member to supervise those who attempt to quit drinking. Insomnia may lead to hallucinations and alcohol relapse. What one can do is to constantly seek the assistance of a medical professional regarding treatment options, such as drug therapy and other non-pharmacological treatments.

Final Thoughts

There will always be some form of danger when quitting alcoholism. A surefire way to ensure that an alcoholic will survive this heavy transition is to keep in mind that they are never alone. Furthermore, it is important to focus on the little steps. 

Remember that the pain is only temporary and it is best to remind your family member this fact. Be there to support them and make them feel that they are not fighting this battle alone.
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