Who can diagnose an alcohol use disorder?
Alcohol use disorder or what is commonly known as alcoholism
can be diagnosed by a physician or a mental health professional. A primary care doctor or specialized physician may order internal tests, such as liver function tests, to assess the extent of chronic drinking. A mental health professional such as a psychologist, psychiatrist or substance use expert will ask questions to understand the nature and extent of an individual’s alcohol use.
How can a person be encouraged to get help? It can help to sit down with the person in a private, quiet, safe environment. Setting aside judgmental criticism and speaking with care and compassion is necessary. The individual should be given specific examples of their behaviour, such as driving into a tree while intoxicated. Devise a game plan with specific points including finding a support group, finding a therapist, making appointments, and looking into insurance coverage.
How do psychotherapist-mediated alcohol use interventions work?
Family and friends may gather together in the company of the person who is suffering. Family and friends may share a list of concerns, feelings, and consequences—such as a spouse and children leaving the individual if they do not agree to get help. A poorly planned intervention
may do more harm than good, but interventions supervised by a mental health professional may result in better outcomes. Most important is that the individual is willing to get the help they need.
Why are alcohol use treatment methods so varied? There is not one type of treatment method that will work on every individual who suffers from alcohol use. If a person cannot tolerate complete abstinence then harm reduction may be more effective. Likewise, living in an inpatient recovery facility may not be effective for one person, while it may be for another person. Recovery is always possible, in whatever form that may take.