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Signs of Alcoholism in a Loved One

Signs of Alcoholism in a Loved One

What Are The Signs Of Alcoholism?

Many people have that story about drinking too much, passing out, maybe forgetting about the events of the previous day or night. It becomes a funny or embarrassing anecdote, or a cautionary tale for younger drinkers. What if those stories, however, become regular occurrences, and symptomatic of a loved one’s drinking habits?  How do you know if it’s alcoholism?  Are you concerned about your loved one’s drinking?  We explain how to recognize the signs of alcoholism, and how you can talk to them about treatment.


What Alcoholism Looks Like

There’s no one tried and true depiction of alcoholism – a well-dressed, employed, and financially stable person can suffer from it as much as someone struggling with job, housing, and money troubles. It doesn’t matter what type of alcohol the person prefers, when he or she drinks it, or how much is consumed. If they perceive drinking as necessary for them to function, even when it’s detrimental to physical and psychological well-being, it’s alcoholism.


Common Signs of Alcoholism

  • Drinking to the point of passing out
  • Blackouts (memory loss)
  • Cognitive confusion or confabulation (false memories)
  • Hiding alcohol in a closet, off of a window ledge, or anywhere else it’s not easily detected
  • Disguising alcohol – vodka in a water bottle, i.e, or spiking non-alcoholic beverages
  • Consistent hangovers
  • Avoiding food to maintain a buzz
  • Risky, neglectful, or dangerous behavior resulting from drinking
  • Losing work or school opportunities because of drinking or hangovers
  • Finding excuses to drink for any occasion
  • Increasing tolerance before feeling intoxicated
  • Lying about drinking, even when impaired speech and movements are obvious
  • Fights, DUIs, and other harmful actions
  • Relationships ruined by drinking
  • Poor hygiene, smelling of alcohol, weak hair follicles and fingernails, and skin changes
  • Not limiting consumption, drinking leftover beverages
  • Always choosing certain crowds or venues for the availability of alcohol
  • Making alcohol a necessary purchase despite budget restraints
  • Stealing alcohol from friends and family
  • Irritable, moody, or depressed when alcohol isn’t available


Physical Effects and Damage from Alcoholism

In addition to damaging the liver and contributing to heart and respiratory distress, severe alcohol use creates a host of physical discomforts. Some are quite noticeable, such as shakes, tremors, profuse sweating, nausea, seizures, and insomnia (which ironically, is something that alcoholics try to temper by drinking). Alcoholic neuropathy, affecting the muscular and excretory systems, may also develop, as well as Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. Otherwise known as “wet brain,” this disease is caused by a lack of thiamine (vitamin B1) or excessive glucose from constant states of alcohol intoxication, and is treatable, but sadly irreversible.


Getting Help for Your Loved One

One of the most frustrating parts of knowing how to help an alcoholic is getting them to realize that they have the problem. A teenager may see drinking as a means to handle peer pressure, and an adult most likely will rationalize alcohol intake, blaming others as the cause for excessive drinking. Additional risk factors may also be at play, including a genetic/family history of alcoholism, or as coping mechanisms for loss or pain.


Choose a time when you’re loved one is sober, and do not sugar-coat your concerns. However they may deny or guilt-trip you, do not concede, join them in their drinking, or cover up their use. It can be difficult and frustrating trying to get an alcoholic to accept treatment, but unless they are court-ordered to rehab, it’s still up to them. Show them support, while also holding them accountable for responsibilities and whether or not they agree to getting help.  If you’re planning to stage an intervention, be sure that there is a professional interventionist present, or else you risk making the situation worse.


Treating Alcoholism

NEATC tailors intensive outpatient treatment plans for each patient that incorporates various individual and group therapies for alcoholism. We also specialize in treating co-occurring disorders, by simultaneously addressing each illness. If your loved one is exhibiting signs of alcoholism, contact us today for more information.  We care deeply about helping and supporting you in this recovery path for your loved one.

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Northeast Addictions Treatment Center is a Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center in Quincy, Massachusetts. Our team has been helping individuals with Drug or Alcohol Addiction live a life of Recovery since 2016.