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Is My Loved One An Alcoholic

Alcohol use disorder is a serious condition that often starts as a casual, harmless habit. 

The occasional drink dates then progress into regular binge-drinking sessions before spiraling out of control and transforming into chronic addiction– a condition characterized by severe physical dependence

Before you know it, your loved one, who was once in control of their drinking habits, becomes incapable of going several days, let alone hours, without drinking. 

Without timely treatment, alcohol use dependence can morph into a serious, life-threatening condition. 

So how can you know if your loved one is an alcoholic (or gradually transforming into one)? To help you out, we’ll take a close look at some of the common signs of alcoholism and ways you can manage the condition before it gets out of hand. 

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What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism, also called alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a severe, potentially dangerous form of alcohol abuse where an individual is incapable of managing his or her drinking habits. 

Alcohol use disorder is often characterized by physical dependence on alcohol, insatiable cravings, and uncontrollable use. An alcoholic will continue to consume alcohol despite being fully aware of its negative consequences. 

The condition usually starts as mild when your loved one drinks for fun before transitioning into a serious condition with life-changing consequences. 

Signs That Your Loved One Is An Alcoholic

Excessive Consumption of Alcohol

The first (and obvious) sign of alcoholism is excessive alcohol consumption. Instead of drinking occasionally or socially with friends, your loved one will drink whenever the opportunity presents itself. 

You’ll notice that your loved one spends more time drinking either at home or outside than before. What started as occasional drinking now becomes an unbreakable habit. 

Eventually, alcohol use disorder will advance to a level where victims can hardly remain sober, meaning you’ll gradually become used to the drunk version of your beloved friend or family member.

And when alcoholism starts to get out of control, your loved one will be incapable of performing basic tasks without drinking. This is usually followed by loss of employment or suspension (or even expulsion) from school.

Insatiable Alcohol Cravings

Does your loved one have a well-hidden liquor stash? Or have you repeatedly come across empty liquor bottles at home or the workplace? Alcoholics have an insatiable craving for alcohol and will do whatever it takes to prevent their reserves from running out. 

As a result, you might find your loved one with several drinks either hidden or displayed at home. For underage drinkers, alcoholic drinks will be expertly hidden so that no one stumbles upon them. 

Strained Relationships

Problems at work or school mark the onset of a rapid fall from grace. While your loved one might be pardoned for showing up at work or school drunk once (or even twice), the situation will almost certainly attract irreversible consequences if it becomes a habit.

Once alcohol addiction gets to the point of interfering with social and professional relationships, then the next thing that follows is loss of employment, business failure or expulsion from school. 

It is also at this point that intimate relationships start crumbling, as alcoholism takes a toll on a victim’s life. 


Denial is another common alcoholism red flag. Your loved one will get confrontational and even ‘offended’ whenever you bring up the topic. 

No matter how gently you try to discuss the issue, your friend or family member will take it negatively and feel attacked. 

Some alcoholics resort to hiding drinks once confronted about their drinking problems. 

Therefore, in case you find a hidden alcohol stash days, weeks, or even months after having the dreaded ‘alcoholism’ discussion, just know your loved one needs professional assistance sooner rather than later!

Legal Problems 

Another worrying sign that your loved one is sinking deeper into the bottomless pit of alcohol addiction is increasing legal problems. 

Alcohol-related legal issues like DUI, drunkenness, and violence will become all too familiar.

Once your loved one starts getting into minor trouble with the law, it’s only a matter of time before jail time becomes a real possibility, more so if the condition isn’t treated early enough.

Change of Priorities  

Priorities tend to change when someone develops severe alcohol use disorder. While it is possible for alcoholics to function at the early stages of addiction, alcohol usually takes center stage as physical dependence increases. 

You’ll notice that important activities like school, work, and even family time are no longer important to your loved one. Instead, they will center their lives around alcohol. This usually leads to broken families, loss of jobs, and failed businesses. 

Withdrawal Symptoms 

If your loved one experiences severe withdrawal symptoms when taking a short break from alcohol, chances are he or she is an alcoholic. 

Mild withdrawal symptoms usually point out towards a developing addiction. 

However, if the withdrawal symptoms are severe to the extent of persistent headaches, insomnia, excessive shaking, confusion, and convulsion, then your loved one has a serious addiction and needs immediate treatment. 

As a good rule of thumb, you shouldn’t encourage your loved one to detox at home if they’re  struggling with long-term addiction. 

Alcohol addiction comes with serious withdrawal effects that can prove fatal if not well handled! 

What Should I Do If My Loved One Is An Alcoholic?

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Don't go through the process of recovery alone. There are people who can help you with the struggle you're facing. Get in touch with one today.

Make a Call

Quitting alcohol is not easy, and the potentially severe withdrawal symptoms make it even hard for determined alcoholics to overcome the condition. 

If your loved one exhibits several signs of alcoholism, then it’s best to seek professional treatment to help out with the condition. 

The first step of treatment is usually detox, which is done under 24/7 medical supervision to ensure your loved one doesn’t succumb to the often severe withdrawal symptoms. 

The next step in treatment is medication-assisted therapy, which can take between 30-90 days (or even more), depending on the severity of the addiction.

Enrolling your loved one in an addiction treatment center is crucial to preventing AUD from spiraling out of control. 

Take charge and contact a rehab center today to learn more about alcohol addiction treatment and the services offered. 

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