If you’re close to someone who has an addiction, whether it be food, caffeine, gambling, drugs or alcohol, you know how debilitating it can be, how hard it is to live a normal life. There are, of course, warning signs that someone we love could be an alcoholic, but sometimes we aren’t objective. Sometimes, it’s hard to accept that someone close to you has this problem. But, for their sake, and yours, take a step back and try to be objective. Read through this list of the ten warning signs of alcoholism, and see how many apply.
1. Drinking Alone or Secretively
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If your loved one often drinks alone, or hides their drinking, then they may have a drinking problem and it may be time for you to get them tocut down or stop altogether. Drinking alone can mean drinking at home by themselves, or even drinking at a pub without a friend going with them. If they hide their drinking, you may not know of it right away so look for signs…
2. Losing Time
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If someone you love drinks to the point where they black out or lose chunks of time, then they almost certainly have an alcohol abuse problem. However, some prescription drugs, in combination with even a small amount of alcohol, may have the same effect. Such drugs include sleep aids and painkillers. You may want to have a look at their medicine cabinet.
3. Drinking Regularly, Often
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Though there is no specific formula for determining whether or not someone is an alcoholic, this is the accepted standard for MODERATE use (anything MORE than this may indicate ABUSE): no more than two alcoholic beverages per day for men, and one alcoholic beverage per day for women. If you notice your friend drinking more than a glass ofwineevery night, it may be time for a rescue mission.
4. Building a Tolerance
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If you’ve noticed that it takes longer for your loved one to get buzzed up, or more drinks to get drunk, then they may be drinking so much that they’re building a tolerance. This is a good indicator that he or she is drinking more than they should, and regularly.
5. Seeing an Effect on Work
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There are people who are alcoholics but who are high-functioning, meaning that it doesn’t have an impact on their ability to perform their duties at work or at home. But if someone’s quality of work is slipping and they seem to be more stressed out, or if they’re taking more sick days, they may be developing an alcohol problem. You may need to be concerned.
6. Seeing an Effect on Loved Ones
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Many alcoholics take out their frustrations anddepression on their loved one when they’ve been drinking. If you’ve noticed this kind of behavior, it may indicate alcoholism, and other, deeper issues.
7. Losing Interest in Hobbies
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He used to go to the gym after work, now he goes to the pub. She used to love gourmet cooking, but now she orders take-out every night. This is another warning sign of alcoholism and of depression, which often go hand-in-hand.
8. Physical Withdrawal
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If you notice that someone you love suffers physically when they haven’t had a drink, then they may be going through withdrawal, which is a clear indication that they have an alcohol problem. This is different froma hang-over; this is a physical response to NOT having alcohol, not a response to having TOO MUCH alcohol the night before.
9. Not Being Able to Stop
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Everyone else can stop after two beers, but he can’t. He has to be piss-drunk every single time he drinks. He has to drink all of the beer. He has to finish the whole bottle of wine. If he can’t stop drinking once he starts, then he most certainly has a drinking problem. It’s time to step in.
10. Getting Irritable if They Can’t Drink
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It’s Saturday night and girl’s night out, but she can’t wait to get to the drinks. She’s cranky and irritable because she needs a drink, but she can’t have one yet. If she does this often, she may have a drinking problem. It’s time to schedule a girl’s night out that doesn’t includecocktails, and see what happens.
If you’ve read through this list and two or three of these, or more, describe your loved one, then you may need to do a little more probing to see if they might be an alcoholic. While there is a stigma to having such an issue, it’s not the end of the world. There is hope. There is treatment. Set aside time for a one-on-one, non-confrontational conversation, and be truthful. You may just save someone’s life.
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