Is Your Loved One an Alcoholic? Knowing the Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism

Three cocktails in glasses lined up on the bar.

We’ve all had those moments that we look back on and realize we should’ve seen it coming. Whether it was a friend having a bad day or a coworker struggling with his performance, the signs probably clicked in your mind after the fact. Hindsight is 20/20, right?

Now what about something much more serious like addiction? Maybe you’ve noticed your son or husband going out more often or drinking a few too many beers every night after coming home from work.

The last thing you want is to look back on those moments and realize you missed the signs. Alcoholism can be difficult to detect, but there are things to look out for, especially if you’re already suspicious that something is wrong.

By educating yourself on exactly what to look for when it comes to alcohol addiction, you can be a better source of support, and encourage your loved one to get the help he needs to overcome any struggles with alcohol addiction.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

Below are some of the common signs you should look for as a signal that your loved one might be suffering. It’s important to know that drinking problems can sneak up on individuals, so identifying these warning signs early is key.

  • Neglecting responsibilities at home, work or school – While it’s normal to drop the ball sometimes, it isn’t okay for it to become a habit. If you’ve noticed your son or husband neglecting responsibilities because he’s drinking or hungover, it might be an indication that he’s struggling with addiction and needs treatment.
  • Drinking alone – If you notice a lot of empty alcohol bottles or smell alcohol frequently on your loved one’s breath when you come home, it’s probably a sign he is drinking alone much more often.
  • Using alcohol in an irresponsible way – There is nothing wrong with drinking socially, but when you start to notice it is causing your loved one to make poor decisions on a regular basis, it may be time to intervene. This can include getting behind the wheel of a car, mixing alcohol with prescriptions or drinking in situations that are typically considered inappropriate.
  • Continuing to drink despite concerns – It’s possible your loved one doesn’t notice how much he’s drinking and will stop after you share your concerns with him. But if you’ve had to repeatedly talk to him about his drinking and haven’t noticed any changes in behavior, he most likely is struggling with addiction.
  • Using alcohol as a way to manage stress – Happy hour is a great way to unwind after a hard week at work, but when alcohol is being used as a way to deal with everyday stressors on a regular basis, it can become a problem. Alcohol should never be used to mask bigger problems.

Recognizing Symptoms of a High-Functioning Alcoholic

Alcoholism impacts every person differently. Many people struggling with addiction manage to function effectively, excelling at their jobs, familial relationships and maintaining their household. But as a loved one, it is your job to dig deeper and try to uncover any potential issues you suspect are lying below the surface.

  • Denial – One of the biggest concerns for functioning alcoholics is how they are often in denial. By maintaining their responsibilities and appearing put-together, it’s easy to deny there is an issue.
  • Restricting drinking to certain guidelines – Many high-functioning alcoholics justify their drinking habits by setting rules and sticking to them. Some may only drink certain types of alcohol or only drink on weekends, making it seem as if they have their drinking under control, when they actually don’t.
  • They seek help from family and friends – As a loved one, it’s easy for you to fall into the trap of helping. You want to help hide your loved one’s addiction, so you offer to call in sick for them or loan them money. Enabling is a sign that there is a deeper problem.
  • Social isolation – Another common sign of a functioning alcoholic is that they spend a lot of their personal time alone. By discouraging people from being around them, they are able to better hide their addiction.

Get Answers at Spirit Mountain Recovery

Located in the beautiful Wasatch Mountains of Northern Utah, Spirit Mountain Recovery is focused on providing a remarkable treatment experience unlike any other you’ll find in the area. Our goal with our alcohol addiction treatment program is to help your son or husband get the adequate rest, nutrition and exercise they need to reorient their life goals and realize there is life outside of addiction. If you think your loved one might have an issue, contact us today to speak to an admissions counselor.