Part II – Taking Control of and Managing the Affected Individual’s Life
Apart from empathizing with the individual suffering from alcohol induced brain disorders and trying to deal with the various disease symptoms effectively, caring for the affected individual also requires the family members and caregivers to exercise some control over his or her life.
The most difficult and important job for family members and friends, both during treatment and after, is keeping these individuals off alcohol. Recovery cannot take place without abstinence. Thus, family and friends need to ensure that the affected individual abstains from alcohol. Not keeping alcohol in the house, avoiding serving alcohol at family/friend’s gatherings, avoiding places where the individual went for drinks and going to new places instead, as well as ensuring that the affected individual does not mingle with anyone with whom he/she had previously engaged in excessive drinking at all, or as little as possible ? these are just a few of the many, simple things that can be done to help them stay off alcohol and reduce the chances of a relapse.
Along with abstaining from alcohol, these individuals also need to stay on a balanced diet in order to recover. They usually lack important nutrients in their bodies because of excessive drinking, so this effect must be reversed. The caregiver/family members need to ensure that these individuals receive proper nourishment.
In addition to monitoring alcohol and food intake, family members and friends might need to supervise the lives of these individuals in general. Individuals who have suffered from these disorders rarely recover completely from cognitive impairments (memory, learning, intellectual abilities etc.) and need help managing their lives.
Additionally, these individuals have suffered from alcohol addiction and, even after they have been treated, have high chances of relapse. While treatment addresses this aspect, family members can play an important role in preventing relapse and making treatment more effective.
By being there for the individual and supporting them, keeping them off alcohol, making sure they eat healthily and helping them to better cope with their lives, family members and friends can be of great help to those individuals in the process of recovery, as well as in improving their quality of life.
However, in doing so, family members/caregivers should not forget to take care of themselves. Looking after themselves and paying attention to their own needs is equally important and, if required, family members and caregivers can and should get help. They could seek professional help to deal with their own stress and emotions and learn to effectively deal with the affected individual. They could get a capable assistant to help them look after the individual, or even admit them into an institution which could serve the individual better ? whatever works best for them and the person with alcohol induced brain disease.
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