Six Ways to Identify an Alcoholic

Sometimes people that struggle with alcoholism are easy to spot because of their obvious frequent intoxication. Some people can’t hide the fact that alcohol is ruining their lives.

But for others, spotting the alcoholism isn’t quite so easy. Some people are really good at hiding their drinking and even those close to them might not know they have a problem. Take a good look at friends and relatives this holiday season, and watch for the signs of alcoholism, as the stress of the holidays sometimes brings out the worst in people. It may be difficult to identify an alcohol problem, but the following list of signs may help those that suspect alcoholism in a loved one.

Isolation or absence from work. As alcohol slowly takes over a person’s life, they begin to have difficulty keeping everything in order. They will miss work or commitments because they are drunk or hung over. They will also start to be afraid that people will know of their disease and look down on them, so they will begin to isolate themselves from loved ones.

Emotional ups and downs. Managing an alcohol problem can be very stressful, and thinking of the good old days or how bad things are now can be very emotional. An alcoholic can often turn from happy-go-lucky to depressed or angry in a short amount of time.

Avoiding situations that don’t include alcohol. An alcoholic cannot physically go very long without a drink, or they will begin to suffer withdrawal symptoms including nausea, sweating, and anxiety. If a person has an alcohol problem, they may begin to avoid going places where it is not acceptable to drink, because of the withdrawal symptoms.

Hiding alcohol. A person that sneaks alcohol into places where they shouldn’t is either an alcoholic, or on the verge of being one. Anytime someone feels the need to hide something from loved ones, it probably means that they know they are doing something wrong and are ashamed of it.

Dangerous behavior. Before too long the drinking will catch up with a person and they will not be able to control themselves. Driving drunk or putting themselves in dangerous situations will be more and more common as their judgment gets distorted. They will begin to take more risks, as their drinking begins to take priority over everything in their life.

High tolerance for alcohol. Alcoholics slowly build up a tolerance for alcohol and as a result are able to drink more and more without it affecting them. An alcoholic can usually consume large amounts of alcohol.

There are varying degrees of alcoholism and alcohol abuse, but even those that are just beginning to get caught up with alcoholism may need treatment to stay sober. Loving family members and friends should be willing to step up and encourage them to seek help. There are too many loving family members that stand by and don’t do anything to help people they know that have a problem. We, as concerned individuals, should always be ready to direct a loved one to a help line or treatment facility.

Unsure where to start? Take Our Substance Abuse Self-Assessment

Take our free, 5-minute substance abuse self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with substance abuse. This evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are designed to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result. Please be aware that this evaluation is not a substitute for advice from a medical doctor.