What should be the legal age for drinking?

Family with an alcohol problem?

Family members of persons with problem alcohol use may face a lot of challenges like

  • Feelings of helplessness, anger, shame, depression, anxiety, loneliness and guilt
  • Domestic violence – the person with problem alcohol use may abuse or beat up his children or spouse
  • Exhaustion
  • Need to protect the family’s name or hide the problem from society  to avoid social stigma
  • Financial problems


Family members may cope with problem alcohol use by either

  • Denying that the person has a problem (Denial)
  • Blaming the person for his/her alcohol use and for problems faced by the family (Blame)
  • Try to sacrifice their own needs to take care of the family member with problem alcohol use (Co-dependence)


Some useful tips to cope with a family member with problem alcohol use are

  • Talk to the person openly and honestly in a supportive manner
  • Do not accuse the person or use labeling words like “addict” or “alcoholic”
  • Try to understand how the person perceives his or her drinking – listen non-judgmentally
  • Offer support in terms of getting professional help or helping them stay motivated and focused in achieving the goal (reduce or stop drinking)
  • Do not feel guilty or responsible if the person is unwilling to change or seek help
  • Remember that changing drinking habits may not be easy 


To know more about where you can find help for a family member with problem alcohol use, visit our need help section



Babor, T.F., and Higgins-Biddle. Brief Intervention for Hazardous  and Harmful Drinking: Manual for use in primary care. World Health Organization

Sankaran. L., Murlidhar, D., and Benegal, V. (2006). Strengthening resilience within families in addiction treatment. Strength Based Strategies, 132-136.

Mental Health First Aid Training and Research Program. (2009). Helping someone with problem drinking: mental health first aid guidelines. Melbourne:  Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, University of Melbourne.