Alcoholism is a terrible disease. It’s ugly in so many ways, as it has been destroying lives all around the world for as long as it has existed. The problem with identifying whether someone actually has a drinking problem is that the disease often hides behind a variety of addicts’ masks. The disease thrives in a secret world where the alcoholic will often binge drink despite the consequences that he or she knows comes from this behavior.
Once upon a time, social drinking was just a harmless activity that they participated in with friends, family, and maybe co-workers, unfortunately; their drinking has gone too far, yet nobody truly knows that since most of their binge drinking takes place when they’re alone. This makes it very difficult to catch and even more complicated to put a stop to.
There is hope however, as you don’t always need to be a detective in order to figure out that someone is hiding their drinking problem from the outside world. There are some very obvious signs that elude to the truth without having to second guess your concerns. Below are 4 signs that are crucial to be on the lookout for if your gut is telling you that something is not right, and that there might be a problem with your loved one.
First Sign of a Drinking Problem:
If you’ve got someone in your life that you’ve spent a lot of time with over the years hanging out, sharing some drinks with, partying, etc.., then you’ll know what we mean when we say that it’s not hard to pick up on something being a little “off” when their behavior changes. Your mental radar alerts you, as you become aware that they just don’t seem to be the same as always. Your subconscious tells you to be aware of something even though you might not be able to quite put your finger on what it is. Well, believing in your gut is important, and at the very least, it gets your curiosity juices flowing, which can inherently lead you to discovering a real problem and give you the opportunity to help them in the event they actually do have a drinking problem.
Tolerance, which can be defined as moment for which the body’s functions react to alcohol consumption, is something that will in fact increase over time as an individual consistently consumes higher, more frequent doses of alcohol; eventually getting them to a stage known as functional alcoholism. At this point, the drinker often needs to consume alcohol just to appear normal to everyone else. Tolerance in someone who is an alcoholic can be staggering in comparison to someone who rarely drinks, as there has been reports of blood-alcohol tests resulting in levels that could kill an average human, but were drawn from an alcoholic that was fully conscious and aware of their surroundings.
Although increased drinking over extended periods of time can be a definitive reasoning as to why someone may have a high tolerance to alcohol, there is a chance that genetics can be the culprit in this matter. There are known genetic predispositions that have been reported in which the children of alcoholic fathers compared to children of non-alcoholic fathers has indicated a notable difference in levels of tolerance. Studies show that there is actually a gene that has been identified as a “alcohol tolerant gene”, and although some may think this is a benefit, as they can partake in drinking activities with little concern that they won’t be able to hold their alcohol, it has been reported that individuals with this gene are much more likely to abuse alcohol versus those without it. Studies also show that there are other minor factors such as weight, age, race, and gender that can cause one’s tolerance to vary in comparison.
So how can you tell if someone has a high tolerance? Well, let’s use an average sized male of 160 pounds as an example… If this person has consumed more than three alcoholic beverages in under an hour and they are not showing signs of alcohol effect, than this is a good indicator that this individual has a higher tolerance than normal.
Second Sign of Alcoholism:
A functioning alcoholic, as described above, NEEDS alcohol to function and appear normal to the rest of the world. This can often be challenging as there are many places and times for which it would be awkward and sometimes even outright unacceptable to have alcohol on your person. The problem is, they need this to function properly, so what happens is they are forced to adapt to their surroundings and conditions that normally prohibit them from drinking by identifying ways to access alcohol with little risk of getting caught.
This often means that they’ll need to hide alcohol in the most outrageous places in order to ensure that someone else will not likely intercept it. If your gut tells you something is happening, now is the time to pretend you were trying to hide something so nobody could find it, and start looking in those places to see if you find a half drunken bottle.
Third Sign of a Drinking Problem
Socially drinking is fairly understood as a pastime that people engage in when they’re in the right place with their friends, etc.… It’s not like it’s strange to ask for a glass of wine while out for dinner, or maybe a beer when you’re meeting some friends for a night out at a concert, etc.… What’s not normal however; is when someone decides they need to get a head start on the evening by doing a few shots or pounding a few beers before they even leave their house. The person who thinks that getting a buzz before the party starts is a sure sign that there’s room or concern regarding this person abusing alcohol.
Often times, and in reference to those with higher tolerances, another trigger for concern is when the evening has come to an end and this person is still actively looking for more to drink. This is more than likely a result of their frequent alcohol abuse that has now lead to an almost untouchable tolerance for drinking. That stated, these behaviors become even more troublesome the moment they recognize that they do in fact have a drinking problem, and their attention reverts to hiding their alcohol so they can take this behavior behind the closet doors in their “judgment free” drinking zones.
Fourth Sign of Alcohol Abuse
Let’s face it, a drunk isn’t always exactly prepared to walk a tight rope due to the effect that alcohol has on your sense of balance and basic functionality. As a result, a pretty good indicator that someone may be having trouble with a drinking problem is the sudden appearance of injuries that never seem to have a rational explanation supporting the causes. It’s not unusual for an alcoholic to experience blackouts throughout their times of extreme alcohol consumption. Blackouts can happen in an unexpected fashion and often will occur when the person is in the middle of a physical action such as crossing the street, or walking down a flight of stairs.
Thousands of emergency reports show that these drunken blackout moments have lead to injuries of all kinds, including broken bones, burns, etc.. Often times when asked how these accidents happened, alcoholics will fabricate a story to try to justify how something so ridiculous could’ve happened to them. Watch for this kind of behavior, and be very concerned if this is happening because this is the point at which they are most vulnerable to something much worse than a broken bone. There are cases where drunks have fallen in front of subway trains and were killed, and then there’s always the fear that they won’t only hurt or kill themselves, but they are putting everyone else in danger as well.
What To Do If You Have Been Able To Identify The Signs That Your Loved One Has A Drinking Problem.
You’ve made it this far, don’t stop trying to help them now. This is the moment you need to make the smartest, yet hardest choice to save their life. All the signs have been checked off and you know they need to get help for their drinking problem from an addiction treatment professional. You can always procrastinate if you’d like, but while you’re doing that, you might as well get proactive and begin making the funeral arrangements for them because it’s just a matter of time until you get that call. If you’re not sure as to how the process works, you can always speak to someone at Clearbrook Treatment Centers to discuss the details and help you determine how to get your loved one the help they need so that you can have them in your life for many years to come.
For more than 40 years, Clearbrook has been providing effective alcohol treatment to suffering individuals, while offering educational services to the family. Please do not wait any longer. Contact our Admissions Specialists today and see how we can help.