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How To Get Help For My Brother’s Alcohol Or Drug Addiction

Brenda Munnerlyn, RN, BSN

Medically reviewed by

Brenda Munnerlyn, RN, BSN

February 18, 2019

Over two-thirds of all members of Alcoholics Anonymous are men and are two times more likely than women to develop an addiction. It may be difficult to talk to a sibling about addiction, but it is possible to help your brother regain sobriety by following these simple guidelines.

Pin-Pointing Your Brother’s Addiction Type

Addiction experts have broken down the disease of alcoholism into two separate types. The first type affects both men and women and is not considered to be an inherited condition. However, if your father or mother suffered from alcohol addiction, there’s a chance your brother may have inherited type two. This type is identified by traits, such as:

  • Finding it impossible to not drink
  • Occurs before reaching 25 (often beginning as early as high school)
  • Often spurs on criminal behaviors
  • Not being linked to your environment or social class

This type of alcohol addiction can be hard to fight because it may result from a genetic predisposition. However, if your family doesn’t have a history of drinking, your brother may be suffering from a more cognitive type of alcoholism. This type of addiction is learned and is somewhat easier to combat, as you won’t be fighting against someone’s genetic code. However, there’s also a chance that common personality disorders may actually contribute to your brother’s addiction.

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Common Male Personality Disorders That May Affect Your Brother’s Addiction

The concept of “addictive personality” has been highly scrutinized over the years and has led many addiction experts to declare that there is no evidence of a singular personality that is more prone to addiction. However, psychiatrists have long known that certain types of personality disorders increase the risk for addiction or even complicate it.

The following personality types are believed to contribute to addiction:

  • Immaturity – a self-centered personality that fails to take life seriously, has difficulty forming close bonds, and often behaves in inappropriate ways
  • Anti-social personality – people who struggle to fit in with society and whom behave in ways that are harmful or even dangerous simply because they are unaccepted
  • Self-punitive personality – someone who feels a high level of guilt and is “punishing” themselves by abusing drugs or alcohol
  • Passive-aggressive personality – a person who appears calm and rational, but who hides a high level of aggression, anger, or shame inside

These and many other personality disorders are more common in men than in women. As a result, there’s a chance your brother may be suffering from one of these problems and that it helps contribute to his problem with addiction.

Working On Getting His Problem Assessed

There’s a good chance your brother may be denying his problem or trying to minimize the way it is affecting your family. He is either in denial or trying to be a strong brother by keeping his problems away from the family. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have that luxury with addiction and you need to guide him toward the help he needs.

Interventions are often the best way to achieve this goal. Studies have shown a nearly 90 percent success rate with interventions, as long as they follow a few basic guidelines:

  • Remaining positive and loving
  • Avoiding blaming him for negative conditions
  • Honestly discussing concerns
  • Relating those concerns to the addiction
  • Expressing a willingness to help in any way possible

Any brother worth saving will be touched by your familial devotion to him and is likely going to be willing to do what he can to change. Once he’s accepted that he has a problem, you can help him find the treatment he needs.

Choosing The Best Treatment Method

Once your brother has decided to get help for his addiction, it’s important to take a two-fold approach to his treatment. Since personality disorders are so common with men that suffer from addiction, psychological counseling is suggested. This can help identify any underlying mental health concerns that need to be addressed.

Next, he needs to go through the process of rehabilitation. He can choose an outpatient rehab (if he needs to attend work or school) or inpatient rehab (where he’ll stay on-sight round-the-clock). Here, he’ll receive detoxification, physical health evaluation, treatments for any health concerns, dietary tips, personal counseling, group therapy, and even alternative therapies, such as acupuncture or massage therapy.

One option that often works well for family-oriented people is “family therapy.” Here, you and your family will meet with your brother and try to identify any familial problems that may have contributed to his addiction. A highly-trained counselor will guide you through the process of healing those wounds and building stronger family connections.

Need Help? Contact Us

With your sturdy guidance, your brother should be able to get the help he needs to recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. However, if he is still struggling and you feel helpless, please contact our helpful counselors at We can help him get back on track.

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