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Alcohol and Drug Problems (cont.)

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Interactive Tool: Do You Have a Drinking Problem?

Check Your Symptoms

Home Treatment

If you are concerned about your own alcohol or drug use:

  • Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the problem.
  • Attend a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), self-help groups devoted to helping members get sober and stay that way. Call Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous for the times of scheduled meetings.

If you are concerned about another person's alcohol or drug use:

  • Never ignore the problem. Discuss it as a medical problem.
  • Let the other person know you will support his or her efforts to change.
  • Ask whether he or she would accept help. Don't give up after the first "no"—keep asking. If he or she agrees, act that very day to arrange for help. Call a doctor for an immediate appointment, or call Alcoholics Anonymous for the times of scheduled meetings.
  • Participate in confrontation if it is needed.
  • Attend a few meetings of Al-Anon, a support group for family members and friends of alcoholics. Read some 12-step program information.

If you are concerned about an older family member's alcohol or drug use:

  • Make an appointment for a medical evaluation if you notice a decline in the person's mental alertness or ability to perform self-care functions.
  • Go to the appointment with the person and discuss recent and long-term drinking or drug use problems with the doctor.
  • Participate in confrontation if it is needed.
  • Provide support for the person during detoxification or other treatment.
  • Help set up community services in the home, if needed. Older adults may benefit from such community services as home care, nutritional programs, transportation programs, and other services.
  • Help with decision-making. Many older people with substance abuse problems are unable to process information or effectively communicate their decisions.

If you are concerned about a teenager's alcohol or drug use problem:

  • Make an appointment for a medical evaluation for your teen if he or she shows signs of substance abuse.
  • Go to the appointment with your teen, and discuss recent and long-term drinking or drug use with the doctor.
  • Participate in confrontation if it is needed.
  • Provide support for your teen during detoxification or other treatment.
  • Check out what services are available in your area.
    • Discuss the need for a referral to your employee assistance program with your human resources department, if you have the service available.
    • Speak with your teen's school counselor or resource officer.
    • Go to the website http://drugstrategies.org/teens/programs for information about teen drug treatment programs across the United States.
    • Contact the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI) at 1-800-729-6686 or online at www.health.org for information about treatment programs in your area.
  • Help with decision-making. Many teenagers who have alcohol or substance abuse problems are unable to process information or effectively communicate their decisions.

Symptoms to watch for during home treatment

Call your doctor to evaluate your symptoms if your alcohol or drug problem becomes more frequent or severe.

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