Alcoholism Is Not Always Easy To Recognize

Alcohol is a legal and socially accepted substance, which can make it difficult to recognize when a person is struggling with addiction. Social events and gatherings often serve alcohol, making it easy to deny that there may be a problem. After all, everyone else is drinking, right? Alcoholics typically choose friends who are also heavy drinkers. By comparison their actions appear normal.

Another common hindrance to recognizing alcoholism occurs because an individual is high functioning; high-functioning alcoholics can go years or decades without anyone recognizing the problem. Research numbers vary but show anywhere from 3% to 23% of alcoholics are considered high-functioning. The individuals will drink to excess, but still seem to be functioning well in their careers and family lives while maintaining a very normal outward appearance. It may take years, but eventually their façade will crack when they receive a DUI, health problems emerge, or relationships begin to fail.

Five Indicators That Someone Is Struggling With Alcohol Addiction

Below are five signs that someone you know may be struggling with alcoholism. The individual may display all or some of the symptoms.

  1. Having A High Tolerance For Alcohol

People who drink and are not alcohol-dependent will only have a few drinks at a time, simply because their body is not equipped to handle more, and they do not wish to continue drinking. An alcoholic will have a high tolerance for alcohol and drink more than other people because their body has been acclimated to higher doses. For heavy drinkers, tolerance levels build over time and require higher consumption rates to receive the desired effect. Some alcoholics have experienced alcohol poisoning from this tolerance yet continue to drink.

  1. Continuing To Drink When It Causes Problems

Typically, problems first arise within the family unit for an alcoholic. Family members are often present for the alcoholic’s drinking and will see the immediate effects in their actions. They may become belligerent, pick fights, or argue when drinking. Naturally, this type of home atmosphere will cause problems. An alcoholic will choose to continue drinking, regardless of what problems it may cause. The lack of motivation to change the situation is a huge red flag.

Lying About Drinking Or Hiding Alcohol

Alcoholics often try to lie about their drinking habit or hide alcohol where others cannot find it. Instead of drinking within a social gathering, the individual will drink alone and lie about it when questioned. They may also claim they have only had two drinks, when in reality the number is five. Hiding alcohol will ensure they always have something to drink, and concealing it helps to keep others from questioning how quickly the bottle is disappearing.

  1. Creating Reasons To Drink

 “It’s been a rough day.”

“I don’t have to work tomorrow.”

“We’re meeting friends; I need to loosen up a little.”

 People with an alcohol addiction consistently find reasons to drink to justify why they are drinking again. Using alcohol to cope with stress or social awkwardness is not a healthy way to handle problems. If you are saying or hearing statements of this sort every time the alcohol comes out, there may be a problem. Healthy drinkers will only drink on occasion, when it suits their fancy. Offering reasons to drink is simply not necessary when there’s not a problem.

  1. Displaying Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcoholics will likely see withdrawal symptoms shortly after they stop drinking. These typically occur the morning after and can drive them to drink early in the day to rid themselves of the symptoms. Common withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, shaking, headaches, nausea, and depression. These symptoms are alleviated by drinking, which creates a vicious cycle of drinking earlier and earlier in the day as time goes on.


This is a famous indicator of a person who is struggling with addiction. If approached about the subject of possible addiction struggles, the person will become overly defensive and deny any problems. Often, they will divert attention by saying, “I’m not anything like Bob and his drinking.” They will be in denial that there is a problem and that the problem is negatively impacting those around them. Denial is so rampant among those struggling with alcohol addiction that the first recovery step in Alcoholics Anonymous is, “To admit we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.” Only when an individual accepts that they have a problem can the true healing begin.

Treatment Options

There are many choices when deciding on treatment options. Alcoholics Anonymous has been a reliable outpatient support network for decades. If a person struggling with addiction needs more structure in the form of an inpatient clinic, there are multiple alcohol treatment centers available. Choosing a treatment option will be one of the most important decisions in a person’s life, so it is important to weigh your options.

To find additional information on signs of alcoholism or choosing the right alcohol treatment  program, contact Reflections Recovery Center.

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