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How can I help my brother to get rid of his alcohol dependency?

Q: My brother is an alcoholic. He serves in the Indian army and has been drinking excessively for the last 5 years, though he started drinking around 10 years back. He is married now and this habit is creating problems in his married life too. After drinking he becomes abusive, talks irrationally and has even beaten his wife at times. He always creates a scene and its very embarrassing for us. Most importantly, we are worried about his health. The worst thing is that he doesn't realise or admit that he is doing anything wrong. Its very difficult to get him some help in anyway. How should we get him ready for accepting any kind of help when he doesn't listen to anybody? What are the various treatment options available?

A:I understand and appreciate how difficult this situation must be for the entire family. The biggest hurdle with alcohol is to get a person to acknowledge that it is a problem and to seek treatment. Most people are in denial and as a result the problems worsen. The treatment options are many. Firstly, meeting a psychiatrist would be essential for a complete evaluation and considering the possibility of a de-toxification programme. Following that a psychologist needs to be involved in helping your brother improve and sustain motivation to stay off alcohol. Usually this condition is linked to other emotional stresses that can be taken care of through effective counselling. There is also the possibility of a group counselling setting. You may contact the Alcoholics Anonymous to get further information on this. Even if your brother refuses treatment initially it might be a good idea for the family to consult a mental health professional who can get a history and suggest some ways in which co-operation from him can be sought.


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