Alcohol Addiction: A Fixable Problem

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By Albert Moore, MPM, CEAP

Alcoholism – that is, when you are physically addicted to alcohol – can affect all aspects of your life, be it physical, cognitive, emotional, or spiritual. Unfortunately, the alcoholic is sometimes the last person to recognize that these things are going on.

Research shows that 15 to 17 percent of the population either abuses alcohol or is dependent on it. Research also shows that every abuser or alcoholic directly and profoundly affects an average of three to four other people with their drinking.

That is why it is important to have support systems in place such as employee assistance programs (EAPs). People need a place to turn if they or someone they know is in trouble. If you have an alcohol problem, there are some very specific things you can do to help fix it. An EAP health or alcohol addiction coach is a great place to start.

An EAP coach will often refer you to other experts who can help, depending on what you need. In this way, EAP coaches function much like brokers. They know the business and can help you get the best deal in terms of care and counseling. Depending on the particular EAP you use, you may only get a couple of sessions with the coach, but it is understood that they will help you find longer-term help if it’s needed.

Other good resources you can turn to include behavioral-health professionals covered by your health insurance plan, or community counseling programs administered by local or state governments. To find a community program, simply do an online search, or look in the Yellow Pages under “drug and alcohol treatment.”

For many reasons, people are often hesitant to ask for help. They’re embarrassed, or in denial, or worried they might not like what they hear. But, remember, even the best athletes in the world need a coach; someone who can take an objective view. This is exactly what alcohol abusers need.

Do you or does someone you know have an alcohol problem? Here are several questions supplied by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) that can help determine the answer:

  • Do you drink alone when you feel angry or sad?
  • Does your drinking ever make you late for work?
  • Does your drinking worry your family?
  • Do you ever drink after telling yourself you won’t?
  • Do you ever forget what you did while you were drinking?
  • Do you get headaches or a hangover after you have been drinking?

As the NIAAA states, if you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may need help. Check with your doctor, an EAP coach, or another professional to be sure.

Albert Moore, MPM, CEAP, is an Account Representative for LifeSolutions, an employee assistance program that is part of the UPMC Insurance Services Division. To learn more about LifeSolutions visit www.UPMCHealthPlan.com.