Spotting Alcohol-Use Disorder in Family
Seeing a relative unsuccessfully grapple with an alcohol addiction is a difficult and often traumatic experience. Firstly, you’re forced to see their health deteriorating.
Secondly, there’s a risk that the problem may be indicative of a more pressing medical condition: alcohol-use disorder. Here’s what you need to know about the condition and how to spot it in the family.
Alcohol-use disorder is also known as alcoholism. It refers to a pattern of behavior where alcohol consumption begins to negatively influence other aspects of a person’s life. For instance, if a person’s alcohol consumption leads to domestic violence or them losing their job, they’re suffering from alcoholism.
There aren’t any objective indicators of alcoholism. For example, some people can tolerate much more alcohol than others, so they may drink more than someone suffering with alcohol-use disorder. Besides that, the above-mentioned signs may not necessarily indicate alcoholism. For instance, alcoholism isn’t the exclusive cause of domestic violence or losing a job.
What Are the Signs?
The most difficult part of recognizing alcohol-use disorder is that sometimes it smoothly transitions from social drinking. As mentioned above, a social drinker can drink more than an alcoholic because the former has a much higher tolerance. Still, the CDC suggests that over 15 and over 8 drinks for men and women, respectively, count as excessive drinking.
Another way to identify if a person is suffering from alcoholism is to see if their drinking is affecting their life in some substantive way. If you’re unsure about whether a person has an alcohol-use disorder, find out if the person:
- Has lost their job because their drinking gets in the way of their sleep or work
- Has a high tolerance for alcohol when they previously didn’t
- Consumes alcohol early in the day
- Hides their drinking from people around them, especially close family and friends
- Has stopped engaging in hobbies and other regular activities, like or exercising or playing sports
- Looks for reasons to drink without being judged by others
- Has withdrawal symptoms if they can’t drink
- Has financial issues because of their alcohol consumption