Substance Abuse

How to Tell If Loved One Is an Alcoholic

If a loved one has been acting out of character lately, you are likely concerned and want to find out why. Chances are that your family member has been exhibiting behaviors that lead you to believe that he/she could be abusing alcohol.

Warning Signs Of Alcohol Abuse

Strange changes in behavior? If a fun-loving family member has lately become short-tempered and reclusive, or if a loved one who is usually reserved suddenly becomes more outgoing, this could be a sign of alcoholism. Many alcoholics know that their excessive drinking is already causing problems in the family, but the addiction will prompt them to continue abusing alcohol because of the feeling the substance gives. This alone causes a person to behave irrationally. When you notice this change often and fairly consistently with a loved one, it’s time to seek counseling. Contacting someone who can help could very well save your loved one’s life.

Re-occurring legal issues? If a member of your family is constantly appearing in court for reasons other than jury duty, or has several DUI or vehicle accident charges, this usually means that he/she is an alcoholic. As a caring family member, you should speak to your loved one, calmly and with concern, about the problem, and ask him/her to get help. If you’re met with refusal, it may be time to consider an intervention.

Experiencing financial troubles? A person who never has the money to fulfill their obligations, or is always asking for money to “hold them over” may be abusing alcohol. This is often the case when the alcoholic was previously able to manage money successfully before taking up a drinking habit. When you notice a family member is struggling to keep the bills paid, even if he/she has a good paying job, the problem may be more than just mismanaging the budget. Alcoholism is a very expensive habit to maintain, and extreme changes in your loved ones financial status could be a sign that you need to contact a professional who can treat alcoholism.

Making excuses to drink? Do you have a family member who is always looking for a reason to “go out and party?” Have you noticed a loved one who always has to have an alcoholic beverage at family dinners or picnics? Holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving are times when alcohol is traditionally served at family gatherings; but a relative who brings alcohol to every event may be struggling with alcoholism. A weekend of fun is one thing—not being able to have dinner without wine is entirely another issue.

Displaying erratic behavior when sober? Some alcoholics are irritable, anxious and angry when there is no alcohol in their system. You may know a family member who is much more amicable, alert and fun to be around when the drinks are flowing. However, being sober shouldn’t cause a person to exhibit erratic behavior. Many times an alcoholic will display troubling behavior at work, by suddenly failing to meet deadlines and/or make it to work on time. If a loved one has been recently fired or demoted due to behavior or failing to do their job properly, they may be hiding an addiction to alcohol or abusing drugs.   Talk to a drug and alcohol counselor about the best ways for your relative to safely detox in order to change these behaviors and help the one you love.

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