Am I Dating An Alcoholic?
Have you recently asked the question: Am I dating an alcoholic? The outcomes of having an alcohol addiction can be severe, not just for the person drinking too much, but also for those in their life, such as family members, peers, colleagues, and neighbors. However, the individual who often suffers the most is someone who is dating an alcohol abuser. Although alcohol use disorders are not always easy to recognize, especially when it is in their initial stages, there are indicators that your partner may be struggling with alcohol addiction.
It is important to know what signs to look for if you believe your partner may have a problem with alcohol. It is also very important to know what you can do to help them in the situation. Continue reading to learn more about this disorder.
What is Alcohol Use Disorder? (AUD)
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition where an individual is unable to prevent or regulate their alcohol consumption, despite the damaging impacts on their daily life. It is also known as alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, alcohol addiction, and alcoholism. It is a brain disorder that can be mild, moderate, or severe. Prolonged misuse of alcohol can cause lasting changes to the brain, making it difficult for those affected to stay away from it.
A national survey in 2019 revealed that 14.1 million people aged 18 and above (which is 5.6 percent of the age group) had AUD. Similarly, an estimated 414,000 adolescents aged 12-17 (1.7 percent of the age group) had AUD during the same period.
Fortunately, regardless of the severity of the addiction, there are evidence-based treatments such as psychotherapy, mutual-support groups, and medications that can help those with an AUD disorder reach and sustain sobriety.
Signs That You’re Dating an Alcoholic
Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is a condition that worsens over time. Contrary to popular belief, it can be hard to spot initially; however, if someone who is at risk of developing AUD continues to drink, the signs will become more visible until it is clear that they have a problem. Here are some things to watch out for if you are unsure if your partner is suffering from AUD.
Alcohol is Their Top Priority
Individuals who are battling with alcohol addiction may become overly focused on drinking. They will commonly arrange times and activities that include alcohol consumption, for example, heading to a bar on a Friday evening. Also, if you are in a relationship with an alcoholic, they might demonstrate a comprehensive lack of enthusiasm in interests and activities that do not embrace drinking or places where drinking would not be accepted, such as going to an art gallery or attending a dancing class together. If you detect a repeating pattern and all the time you spend together involves alcohol, it could be an indication that you are in a relationship with an alcoholic.
Their Mood Changes When They Drink
If the person you are seeing is usually gentle and caring, but they become hostile, testy, enraged, or easily annoyed after drinking, this could be an indication that they are ingesting alcohol too much. Conversely, if a person is not showing any signs of being drunk after consuming a large amount of alcohol, this might be a signal of alcoholism. This is because, over time, drinking alcohol leads to a raised tolerance, which implies that more quantities of alcohol are needed for one to get inebriated.
They Often Drink Alone
The frequent craving for alcohol leads many alcoholics to drink in solitude. Therefore, if your partner regularly consumes alcohol alone, it could be an indication of alcoholism. Moreover, excessive drinking or binge drinking are considerable warnings of a drinking disorder. Excessive drinking is defined as having more than 3 drinks per day or 7 drinks per week for women and more than 4 drinks a day or 14 drinks a week for men.
Alcohol is Impacting Other Areas of Their Life
When you’re in a relationship with someone who struggles with alcohol abuse, you could become aware of further issues they may be facing in other areas of their life. This could include difficulties at work or in their connections with other people. For instance, they may talk about not managing to complete a job on time, not taking their mom out for lunch, or not making the expected payments for childcare to their ex. All of these could be indications that alcohol could be impacting vital aspects of their life.
They Are Genetically Predisposed to Alcohol Abuse
People who have a blood relation or a close family member who has struggled with heavy drinking are more prone to becoming alcohol-dependent themselves. Research has shown that children of alcoholics are four times as likely to become addicted to alcohol compared to those whose parents did not drink to excess. If you are in a relationship with someone who has a family background of alcohol abuse, you can deduce this from the stories they tell about their relatives or from witnessing their behavior at family activities.
They Experience Legal Trouble
If you find yourself having to rescue the individual you are in a relationship with from jail on multiple occasions due to driving under the influence, that may be an indication that the person you are dating has an issue with alcohol. Although a single DUI charge could be a blunder, if it reoccurs, it could be an indication of a hazardous alcohol misuse issue.
They Become Defensive if Confronted About Drinking Habit
Certain individuals are not willing to accept that they have an issue with drinking. If you think your significant other has an alcohol problem and you mention it to them, the person could get really mad. This could be particularly true in the case of a functional or closet alcoholic. These people are capable of maintaining a high level of output at work and handling their life and relationships well although they are addicted to alcohol. Furthermore, some high-functioning alcoholics even use alcohol to increase their confidence and do better. If the individual is inclined to be violent, it would be difficult, and even hazardous, to confront them without help. Therefore, it is advisable to involve professional interventionists in such a situation.
How You Can Help
While it is important to be aware of the signs of alcoholism, it is equally important to know how to help them and yourself if you find yourself in this situation. The following are some ways you can approach your partner’s alcohol use disorder:
Stop Blaming Yourself
People who are struggling with AUD often try to assign the blame for their drinking to external factors or to those closest to them. It is not uncommon for them to state, “I only drink because of you…” It is important not to accept this line of reasoning. If your loved one is dependent upon alcohol, they will drink regardless of anything you do or say. You did not cause this problem.
Know When to Step Back
When a loved one is grappling with an addiction to alcohol, their loved ones will often go to great lengths to try and make them quit drinking. Nevertheless, this typically results in them feeling isolated and exasperated. It is common to think that there must be something that can be done, yet the truth is that even the person suffering from addiction cannot regulate their own alcohol consumption, no matter how hard they try.
Do Not Try to “Rescue” Them
When a person you care about is going through a tough situation, you may desperately want to help. But, this is usually the time when it is best to do nothing. In certain cases, a person in crisis may finally realize that they need help and try to seek it. If loved ones rush in to “save” them, it can prevent them from taking the steps to get the assistance they need. When the person has a DUI, loses their job, or goes to jail, it can be hard to accept that the best thing to do is nothing. You don’t need to manufacture a crisis, but learning how to remain detached will help you accept that a crisis may be necessary in order to create change.
Do Not Accept Bad Behavior
Ignoring bad conduct can begin with a minor episode that you excuse with, “They just had too much alcohol.” However, the next time, the behavior might become more serious and then even worse. You may start to forgive more and more unacceptable behavior. Without you noticing, you could be in a totally abusive relationship. Abuse is never acceptable. You don’t need to put up with unacceptable behavior in your life. You have options. If you have kids, it is crucial to protect them from poor behavior too. Don’t endure any injurious or negative comments directed at them. These remarks could cause long-term harm to a child’s mental health.
Make Sure to Help Yourself
If you have been keeping the addiction of a loved one a secret for a long while, it can be intimidating to look for assistance. It is essential to make sure you are also getting the aid you need. Rely on the people close to you, and, if needed, contact a mental health expert to discuss your worries and your experience. Al-Anon Family Groups may be a beneficial resource of assistance when a person in your life has an alcohol issue. The group can provide you with a place to get emotional support and encouragement from other people dealing with the same circumstances.
Understand That Professional Help is Needed
Addiction to substances is a serious and progressive illness that can sometimes be deadly. Whether you are experienced in this field or not, your partner will likely require external aid. Keep in mind that those who have an alcohol habit often go through some phases before they are willing to make a change. Until they consider giving up, any attempts you make to “help” them quit drinking will frequently be met with opposition. Bear in mind, it is not your job to “heal” their AUD. You only happen to be fond of someone who will likely need expert care to recover. That is the responsibility of the individual, not yours. Treatment for AUD can involve counseling, support groups, and medication.
Treatment for Alcohol Addiction in Los Angeles, CA
If you are dating an alcoholic and they are ready to get started on detox and recovery, MD Home Detox in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles, CA, can provide them with medically supervised detox at their own home. Our concierge-level detox and recovery programs are tailored to every person’s individual needs and will assist them in formulating achievable objectives and outlooks. Reach out to us today to start your detox process at home or to find out more about our services.