The first step is to speak calmly and rationally to this family member who I will call the "identified patient". Explain what you are seeing and why you are worried.
My experience is that it is always difficult to get through to the patient. One reason for this is that the patient knows she is "wrong" and becomes defensive. Also, she may feel helpless to change and, when you point out her "bad behaviour", (which is how she hears it), she feels worse about herself.
I am very positive about 12 twelve step programs. Al-Anon was started by family members of alcoholics who felt powerless to stop their patient from drinking excessively. I recommend that you attend a few meetings of Al-Anon to get some ideas and some support. I am not diagnosing your family member as an alcoholic, but I know that the strategies Al-Anon use will benefit you.
Another strategy is a family conference, also called an intervention. This was done with Barbara Bush and a movie has been made about it. The whole family gets together and confronts the person who is behaving in a self -destructive manner. The family insists that the patient gets suitable treatment. If you want to take this route, I suggest you speak to a health care professional who has done this before and get clear guidelines.
I hope that you find a strategy that works. Sometimes the only thing you can do is to get support from a psychologist to help you manage your frustration and concern.
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