How to Recognize Alcoholism in a Loved One

Table of Contents

What is Alcoholism?


Alcoholism is a chronic disease where an individual develops a dependency on alcohol. Typically, one fails to function correctly without alcohol consumption. Statistics reveal that this condition begins as a mild addiction, which becomes severe over time. Alcohol dependence can be a consequence of several influences: social, psychological, biological, and environmental factors. The popular triggers of alcoholism include; genetics, proximity to alcohol stores, impact by a social circle like family and friends, and mental issues such as depression and stress.

According to evidence-based statistics, 5.1% of the global population suffers diseases associated with alcohol misuse. The National Institutes of Health reports that the disorder affects roughly 8.5% of adults in the United States. In conjunction with that, males are the majority of alcohol abusers. The percentage of females having alcohol dependence is, however, also significant and on the rise. There is a thin line between casually drinking and having an alcohol disorder—drinking is a popular social connection activity. Therefore, it is significant to recognize the signs of alcoholism. What are the early signs of alcohol addiction?

Warning Signs of Alcoholism

  • Increased Alcohol Consumption

A popular sign of early alcohol addiction is an increase in the amount an individual consumes per sitting. Is a loved one taking three parts of alcohol instead of one? Are they engaging at unusual times? An example is drinking during the weekdays when one was previously an occasional weekend consumer. This is a sign a person may be developing dependence.

  • Increase in Alcohol Tolerance

Alcohol tolerance means that the body is adapting to the toxins released in the body by alcohol. In this case, a person must consume more alcoholic beverages to become drunk. They may also not currently exhibit the usual intoxication signs like passing out and vomiting. This, here, is one of the early signs of alcohol addiction.

  • Loss of Control

Among the warning signs of alcoholism is also loss of control. People cannot seize consumption even when they know they have had enough. They also fail to control their finances because of spending a lot in liquor stores, bars, and alcohol-consuming events.

Alcoholism Physical Signs

  • Weight Loss

Alcohol consumption interferes with metabolism, which directly affects your nutrition. This causes appetite loss, hence the weight loss. Moreover, alcoholism suppresses the liver’s functioning, leading to weight loss.

  • Dull Face

The chemicals in alcohol result in dehydration, thus making your skin dull and wrinkled.

  • Red Eyes

Alcohol consumption also causes the blood vessels in your eyes to expand. The immediate effect is increased blood flow, resulting in bloodshot eyes.

  • Weight Gain

Weight gain is also one of the physical signs because interference with metabolism stops your body from burning fat. Research reveals that alcohol consumption also increases the level of cortisol, which is a hormone linked to weight gain. Other alcoholism physical signs are jaundice and skin sores.

The Personality Traits of Alcoholism

Identifying alcoholic behavior will not always be obvious. Most individuals harbor personality traits similar to those of non-alcoholic persons. Nevertheless, there will be signs of increased impulsivity.

The Common Personality Traits

  1. Easy Aggression

Alcohol affects your brain signaling, interfering with how you process information. You become quick to anger, thus more aggressive.

  1. Defensiveness

Defensiveness is a typical alcohol behavior among dependent users, especially when someone else mentions their excessive drinking behavior. This is because addicted persons often feel bullied when others recognize and call out the problem.

  1. Emotional Instability

Most addicts have low self-esteem because of issues such as deteriorated appearance and shame, to mention a few. This causes a rollercoaster of negative mental state involving stress, depression, anxiety, and anger.

What is it like being in a Relationship with an Alcoholic?

Undeniably, alcoholism wreaks havoc on relationships. Since the victim cannot think straight, issues like intimacy, communication, and financial handling hit the rocks. In conjunction with that, alcohol disorder causes emotional turmoil in one’s partner.

The Consequences of Alcoholism in Romantic Relationships

  • Separation
  • Lack of intimacy
  • Violence
  • Emotional abuse
  • Mistrust
  • Feelings of regret
  • Infidelity
  • Financial Insecurity

Approaching a Loved One About Their Alcoholism

Many people with alcoholism disorder feel shame and have negative thoughts about their situation. Hence, you must be cautious and loving about approaching them concerning the drinking problem. However, it is best first to understand the issues associated with alcoholism, as this is the best way to know where to begin. After that, you can plan the first approach. The high chance is that it will take more than one conversation to get your loved one the help they need.

Helpful Tips

1. Only approach your loved one when they are sober.

2. Tell them you are worried about the visible signs and possibly disturbing episodes.

3. Choose your words carefully. Avoid using words like ‘addict,’ ‘drunkard,’ or ‘alcoholic.’

4. Use loving words and terms of affirmation.

5. Remember to ask about any underlying issue they may face. Often, many people with alcohol disorders are dealing with another problem they think nobody would understand.

6. Let them know you are ready to assist. While at it, remember to politely remind them that the future consequences may be devastating if the problem persists.

Alcoholism is a prevalent issue globally, and many underlying issues are the contributing factors. With the alarming rate at which people are losing life due to the effects of alcohol dependence, it is critical to take note of alcohol warning signs. Remember that alcoholism is a chronic condition that often leads to adverse health repercussions. Thus, there is a need for medical assistance. When approaching a loved one about their drinking problem, focus on the ultimate goal, which is improving their will to change their drinking patterns. Should you notice moderate to severe alcohol warning signs and physical indications of alcoholic behavior, do your best to refer your loved one to a specialty treatment facility.