Living with an Alcoholic
Living with an alcoholic can be incredibly difficult, especially if the loved one has not yet realized that they have a problem or is not willing, for any reason, to take steps to help get help.
Many loved ones of alcoholics need support for themselves. There is little doubt that alcohol abuse can impact the family and friends of the alcoholic. Loved ones should know the signs of alcoholism in their home. If people can identify with some of the common symptoms of alcoholism, they may want to take action to support their loved ones in getting help.
Please note this tool is for self-evaluation purposes only. This test is not intended to replace a professional diagnosis. If you believe that you or a loved one has alcohol use disorder, please seek professional treatment.
Why Should I Take an Alcoholism Self Test?
Many people do not want to admit that they are struggling with alcoholism. Some may avoid pursuing treatment or any changes in their lifestyle because they insist that they “do not have a problem.” An intervention from friends and family members may help point out the addiction. However, having hard facts may make it easier to share precisely what friends and family see with your loved one and provide them with the support they need.
An alcoholism test can help in several key ways:
1. Offer data-backed insights.
2. Get a better idea of whether you might be living with an alcoholic.
3. Identify the problem behaviors.
Signs of Alcoholism
There can be several key signs of alcoholism, which may deepen as the alcoholic progresses through the stages of addiction. Living with an alcoholic, loved ones may notice these signs escalating over time.
The Effects of Alcoholism
Drinking too much or too often can have a serious impact on the body3 and on the person’s relationships, ability to work, and more. Alcoholics may suffer from a great deal of strain on the heart, disruptions in brain function, liver problems, and an increased risk of developing cancer. In addition, people may find their loved ones dealing with several negative symptoms.
Changes in Behavior and Mood
Often, alcohol disrupts the communication pathways in the brain, causing substantial changes in the person’s mood, behavior, and overall cognitive functioning. In some cases, alcohol-induced nutrition deficits can cause brain damage.
In other cases, people with alcohol addiction may suffer from:
- Mood swings
- Increased anger and agitation
- Memory problems
Friends and family may notice their loved one’s behaviors changing dramatically as their alcohol addiction increases. For example, the loved one may grow angry more easily.
Impact on Relationships
Due to the impact on behavior, alcohol addiction can cause substantial relationship challenges for many individuals. Some may feel that their loved one prefers drinking to interact with them, or they may find drinking takes precedence over anything and everything else. Over time, this can lead to a decline in relationships. Friends and family may notice the loved one being more argumentative or avoiding social interactions, which can add up over time.
Often, alcoholism leads to considerable struggles at work. Alcoholics may have trouble functioning while at work, which can lead to changes in their ability to complete job tasks and keep up with their responsibilities.
In addition, they often have a hard time remembering what they’re supposed to do. Alcoholics may also become more volatile at work. Those work struggles make it more difficult for alcoholics to keep their jobs.
How to Live with a Recovering Alcoholic
Living with an alcoholic can be incredibly difficult, especially as addiction deepens. As the loved one starts to seek treatment for alcohol addiction, things may not get easier immediately. Over time, however, friends and family may notice a much healthier relationship with their loved ones and a considerably improved home life. As a person lives with a recovering alcoholic, there are several things they can do to help improve the home environment and support their loved one.
By dealing with stress constructively, friends and family can help the loved one develop new coping mechanisms and avoid drinking.
Treatments for Alcoholism
There are multiple treatment options available for alcoholics. Detoxing alone can be incredibly dangerous—and may increase the odds that the alcoholic will relapse or fail. Treatment options may depend on the loved one’s symptoms and what support the loved one might need to maximize their odds of making a full recovery.
Behavioral treatment programs can help the loved one change the behaviors associated with drinking.
Often, decreasing alcohol addiction means changing the patterns that the loved one previously associated with drinking: finding a new place to spend their evening, for example, or spending time with people who are supportive of the decision to stop drinking. Counseling and therapy can help alcoholics identify those problem areas and take steps to change them.
Behavioral therapies can also help identify any underlying conditions contributing to alcoholism and allow the alcoholic to pursue treatment for them through a dual diagnosis. For example, people with untreated ADHD4 or depression5 may have greater odds of engaging in alcoholic behaviors.
Often, medication can help suppress some of the symptoms of withdrawal, making it easier for alcoholics to detox and reduce symptoms of addiction. In many cases, medication can help people get on top of alcohol addiction and help them move toward recovery.
Having the right support system can make a huge difference for many alcoholics. Regular meetings with support groups can help them talk through the challenges they might face as they deal with addiction and address them in a healthy, positive manner.
Do You Need Help with an Alcohol Addiction?
Dealing with a loved one suffering from alcohol addiction can be incredibly difficult. Not only do you want your loved one to get help, but you may also want to participate in a support group that will help you learn how to separate yourself from codependent behaviors and improve relational and home health while living with an alcoholic.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your loved one break free of addiction.
- LaHood AJ, Kok SJ. Ethanol Toxicity. [Updated 2022 Mar 18]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557381/
- Newman RK, Stobart Gallagher MA, Gomez AE. Alcohol Withdrawal. [Updated 2021 Nov 13]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441882/
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Alcohol’s Effects on the Body. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Retrieved August 12, 2022, from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-health/alcohols-effects-body
- Kuppa A, Maysun A. Risk of Alcohol Abuse in Humans with Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms. Cureus. 2019 Oct 25;11(10):e5996. doi: 10.7759/cureus.5996. PMID: 31807384; PMCID: PMC6876904.
- McHugh RK, Weiss RD. Alcohol Use Disorder and Depressive Disorders. Alcohol Res. 2019 Jan 1;40(1):arcr.v40.1.01. doi: 10.35946/arcr.v40.1.01. PMID: 31649834; PMCID: PMC6799954.