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Alcoholism shows up in a person in different ways. It doesn’t have to be a drunken stumble or throwing plates against the wall. While these can be extreme signs—signs of alcoholism in a loved one can be subtle and undetectable. If you’re worried that a loved one may be an alcoholic, look for help from your local rehab center for alcohol addiction. They’ll provide information and support.
Here, we’ve put together eight signs that help spot the signs of alcoholism in a loved one.
Signs of Alcoholism 1: Change in Mood
Whether the person had a chipper personality or a more serious disposition, you’ll notice the change. It may begin with sudden bursts of an unexpected mood.
While we all go through different moods, you’ll notice you may think to yourself, “something’s off” a little too many times.
Signs of Alcoholism 2: Change in Behavior
Often, the behavior of an alcoholic can be destructive and aggressive toward others when it wasn’t like them before. My mom used to throw books at me. Be especially watchful if your loved one begins to have this behavior on themselves.
Alcoholics tend to dislike who they are and their life choices.
Signs of Alcoholism 3: Isolation
Is your loved one always alone when they used to be social and friendly? We all need a little alone time. But, if this alone time turns into only alone time, you may want to check on your loved one.
If they used to be social, you may want to ask if the cause of no longer going out with friends is emotional bursts due to alcohol. They may be ashamed of something that happened with friends or prefer to be alone when drinking because of fear of judgment.
Signs of Alcoholism 4: Broken Habits
Another sign that your loved one may be an alcoholic is if their routine is broken or begins to change. Sure, we all need a break in our routines and want to spice things up once in a while. This isn’t likely a sign of alcoholism.
But, notice if your loved one used to get up at a certain time, but can’t be bothered to keep an alarm now. Alcoholics lose their desire to engage as they used to.
Signs of Alcoholism 5: Begin and End the Day with a Drink
Watch for this person to start and end their day with a drink. This was my mom. This can mean they have built an attachment to alcohol and can’t let it go.
Additionally, are they sneaking out during their work break to have a drink in their car or at the local bar? Are they unable to go one full day without a drink? Also my mom.
The relief that alcohol brings is addictive and alcoholics desire that relief. Functional alcoholics can still work and function well so long as they can “cut-up” their day with a drink.
Signs of Alcoholism 6: Habitual Drinking
If your loved one has noticed their change in mood and behavior, you’ve talked it over and they continue to drink, it’s likely because alcohol has become a habit. Alcoholics don’t have to be belligerently drunk to experience alcoholism.
A steady flow of alcohol to the body is a sign, sure. But, the inability to let go of the habit is the bigger issue.
Signs of Alcoholism 7: Health Problems
Continuous alcohol ingestion takes a toll on the body. It affects the heart, the liver, the brain, and other organs. If your loved one has health problems related to the above, it may be worth investigating to see if these are alcohol-related.
My mother ended up with liver cirrhosis and complications that ended her life early 🙁
Signs of Alcoholism 8: Trouble with the Law
Is your loved one is having constant run-ins with the law because of drinking? Is the excuse always that it was “just one drink?” Chances are, that one drink turned into a few, which spun your loved one’s behavior out of control, and someone had to call the law. This scenario could mean a sign of alcoholism if it’s happening more than you think is normal.
If you suspect alcoholism in your loved one, talk to them about it if you’re comfortable. If you’re not, you’re not alone. There is help. Reaching out is the first step. I’m happy to talk about my experiences growing up with an alcoholic mother.
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.