Spotting Alcoholism in Those You Love
It may seem hard to believe that someone could be an alcoholic without their family realizing it, but it happens all the time. The alcoholic themselves will often hide the problem while those around them simply are not looking for a problem like drinking inside of their own family. This can become a deadly combination. Once a person is consumed with a drinking problem, their lives can quickly spiral out of control. Their health is at risk, and unless they seek the type of help offered by long term alcohol rehab centers, they may never be able to fully recover.
Changes in Attitude
Hollywood has convinced people that alcoholics stumble around in a stupor while shouting vulgarities at others. In reality, alcoholics are the people you work with each day, close friends, and even family members. The term functioning alcoholic is often used to describe these soles. They appear perfectly fine at first glance, but if you look closely, you might notice changes in their attitude.
If your loved one has a change in their temperament and you already suspect there might be a problem, it is time to confront them. An alcoholic may seem overly happy or excited one time that you see them and then grouchy the next. They might say mean and hurtful things that catch you off guard. This is sometimes the alcohol talking, but it can also be a coping mechanism that they use to push people away. The fewer people you have that are close to you, the less chance of getting caught. If there is any possibility that this person could be suffering from alcoholism, don’t let there words drive you away.
Alcoholics that manage to hide their drinking problem from others are often quite crafty when it comes to covering up symptoms. This will be easy for them at first, but as the disease progresses, it becomes harder. Some of the dangerous effects of alcohol on the body include liver damage, memory loss, and a consistently upset stomach. Unexplained aches and pains can also be a warning sign. Unfortunately, family members that are not aware of the drinking can be easily mislead. The alcoholic may even be willing to see a doctor. If the physician is also unaware of the drinking, they may be stumped as to what is the root of the health problems.
Although there is no magical truth serum to give someone you suspect of having a drinking problem, there are ways to help. Gently bring up the idea of them consuming more alcohol then would be considered normal. Try to bring them around to asking the doctor on their own. If this doesn’t happen, they will eventually find themselves with health issues they can no longer hide.
Isolation From Others
It happens slowly over time. The one with the drinking problem will start making excuses as to why they cannot attend family functions or go out with friends. This can achieve two goals. They get to spend yet another day isolated from others while agrivating many to the point that they quit inviting them along altogether. Eventually, if those around them don’t back off, they can become mean and hurtful.
As the one that is close to the alcoholic, you have to put your personal feelings aside. Don’t allow yourself to be pushed away. As much as this isolation is a defense mechanism, it can also be a cry for help. Talk with their other friends and family and see if they have noticed similar behaviors. Interventions may sound corny, but they can be helpful. If the person with the drinking problem won’t seek help on their own, ask a professional therapist trained to handle alcoholism about what your next step should be.
Once you realize a loved one has a drinking problem, you can try to get them help. Keep in mind that discovering the issue is only the beginning. Convincing an alcoholic that they have a problem is not an easy task. They have often spent so much time convincing others that nothing is wrong that they believe it themselves. They may also have the idea that they are in control and could stop anytime. Don’t back off. Persistence in finding them the help they need just might save their life.