How to Tell If Someone is an Alcoholic: 7 Signs You Should Know
Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. But, this doesn't mean there's anything wrong with having the occasional drink. In moderation, alcohol can be a pleasant way to enhance an experience, especially in a social setting.
Excessive drinking, however, is when problems began to rise.
Alcoholism is a condition that can cause you to lose your job, strain your relationship with your friends and family, and, in extreme cases, claim your life. To make matters worse, it's not always easy how to recognize.
Not sure how to tell if someone is an alcoholic? Here are seven to keep an eye out for.
1. Excessive Tolerance
Have you noticed that a friend or family member is able to drink for more than they should? This is one of the hallmark signs of alcoholism.
Due to the frequency at which an alcoholic consumes alcohol, they build up a tolerance over time that puts them far above normal people. They may be completely coherent after numerous shots or glasses of wine.
If they appear to be fine while others are showing concern or without limiting the amount they consume, there may be an underlying issue at hand.
2. Skipping Work
It's understandable to miss work if you have an emergency or are sick enough to be contagious to other employees. But, missing work due to being hungover from the night before is never an excuse.
While most of us like to have a good time, someone who is frequently staying home from their job due to excessive drinking could mean that they are suffering from alcoholism and need someone else to intervene.
If left alone with this issue, that person could end up losing their job and find themselves in a rut that could take years and thousands of dollars to get out of. It's far easier to prevent this scenario than it is to recover from it.
3. Hiding Their Alcohol and Drinking Habits
Alcohol enthusiasts rarely hide their alcohol. In fact, they are often proud of the various types of alcohol that they own. They often store it in a liquor cabinet or in their home's kitchen.
Someone who suffers from alcoholism, on the other hand, will frequently hide their alcohol from other people. This is often due to the fact that they are ashamed of how much they drink, and also to prevent anyone else from consuming their drinks.
A red flag to watch out for is if the suspected individual keeps large amounts of alcohol in their bedroom hidden away in a location that isn't normally suitable for storing this substance (such as under their bed or in their closet).
4. Reckless Behavior
Alcohol is infamous for being able to impair our ability to make sound decisions.
However, nights of heavy drinking involve doing things you normally wouldn't do, saying things you normally wouldn't say, and spending money that you would normally save.
As a result, alcohol is often the cause of physical altercations, arguments, and traffic accidents. Since alcoholics chase the euphoric feeling of being drunk, they will be more inclined to act in a reckless manner that is out of character for them.
5. Using Alcohol as a Crutch and Not a Reward
If you have a stressful job, pouring a drink or having a couple of beers can be a great way to unwind from the day's events. It's not uncommon at all for people to use alcohol as a reward for getting through the day.
But, this can quickly spiral out of control when alcohol is used to get through the day rather than to celebrate the end of it. Alcoholics frequently exhibit symptoms of withdrawal if they go too long without consuming alcohol, so they quite literally need it to get through their day.
Common scenarios include drinking heavily during the week, drinking enough to fall asleep at night or prioritizing alcohol as soon as their responsibilities are completed (or even before they finish them).
6. Mood Swings When Sober
Remember the aforementioned withdrawal symptoms? Mood swings are one of the ones to look for.
As the name suggests, these frequently involve abrupt and unwarranted changes in mood. Things that never bother that individual may set them off. Issues they may have never cared about before could cause them to become visibly upset.
If you know someone who is irritable or anxious when sober but completely fine when consuming alcohol, it would be a good idea to sit down with them and help them recognize their situation.
7. Drinking During Inappropriate Situations
There is always a time and a place where drinking alcohol is appropriate. Similarly, there are plenty of times where it is not.
Meals, celebrations, and social gatherings are some of the most common settings where alcohol is commonplace. In fact, it may seem strange to some people if you don't drink at important occurrences like these.
Graduations, children's birthday parties, and trips to the park are not times where heavy drinking is appropriate. Consuming alcohol during situations like these is a sign that someone has a dependency on it and needs it to function properly.
How to Tell If Someone Is an Alcoholic
Alcoholism can lead to several unexpected and undesired outcomes, including divorce and domestic violence. When such happens, children are left to suffer the consequences of their parents' decisions and behavior. For that reason, it helps to keep an eye on your loved ones are friends to determine if they're alcoholic.
As long as you remain vigilant and watch for these seven signs, you'll know how to tell if someone is an alcoholic. Then, you'll be able to take the necessary steps to help them recover.
Want to learn more about addiction and what you can do to help? Check out our blog.