IS MY FRIEND OR LOVED ONE AN ALCOHOLIC?
Do you have a friend or family member that you suspect might have a drinking problem? It be can hard to tell sometimes, especially if they’re being secretive, whether someone is drinking or doing drugs or just up to some other activity they don’t want anyone to know about. You might think that if they’re still managing to go to work and more or less cope with everyday life, they can’t have that much of a problem. The truth is, many people are high functioning alcoholics, and if they’re trying their best to hide it from you, you might have to work to figure out the truth.
First, if you know that the person does drink, try to get an idea of how much. They might have built up enough of a tolerance that they can drink large amounts without showing excessive signs of intoxication. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a woman is considered to have low risk drinking habits if they consume no more than three drinks on any single day and no more than seven drinks per week. For men, it no more than four drinks on any single day and no more than 14 drinks per week.
Another obvious sign that someone has a problem is if they get into trouble with the law for alcohol-related crimes. Driving under the influence, public intoxication, or getting into fights while drunk are all good indicators. If their drinking habits have gotten to the point where they are willing to risk not only arrest but harming themselves and others, it’s a safe bet that they have an alcohol use disorder.
Does your friend or loved one seem to suddenly have new priorities or not care about any of their responsibilities? If a man who used to attend every one of his kid’s sporting events and get home in time to read him a story at night is suddenly dragging in at all hours of the night and forgetting about events he promised to attend, you have to ask yourself what he’s doing in that time instead. If he’s out drinking or looking for a way to procure a drink to the detriment of everything else in his life, that’s a sign of addiction.
Are they constantly lying or making excuses? Maybe your spouse claimed to be playing basketball with his friends and you found out later that he was really drinking at a bar alone. People who are drinking responsibly generally don’t feel the need to hide that they’re doing it.
Someone’s emotions suddenly seeming all over the place is another indication of problem drinking. If they don’t have any mental illness that could explain it and they’re becoming irrationally angry, frustrated, anxious, or depressed, that could be an emotional imbalance as a result of alcohol addiction.
These are just a sampling of the signs. There are more comprehensive lists of things to look for online. If you do decide to talk to your friend or loved one about whether they have a problem, remember to stay calm and supportive. It’s not going to do any good if you become accusatory or the other person gets defensive. Educate yourself and come prepared to talk about the ways they’re hurting themselves and how they can get help.
If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.