Are You Dating an Alcoholic?

Early signs of alcohol use disorder 

Early detection of alcoholism can be challenging. If you’re wondering, “Is my boyfriend or girlfriend an alcoholic?” it’s likely because you’ve observed one or more concerning behaviours or have sensed a subtle hint. 

Alcoholism or alcohol use disorder (AUD) is defined as “A problematic pattern of alcohol use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress” according to DSM -5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition). 

Early Symptoms of AUD is a progressive illness that takes time to manifest. The symptoms are not always obvious, despite popular belief. If a person who is at risk of developing an alcohol use disorder keeps drinking, more and more signs will eventually point to the issue.

If you’re wondering if your significant other is becoming addicted to alcohol, here are some signs to watch out for:

Their Social Life Is Centred Around Drinking

Spending time exclusively with alcohol-consuming people or only going to events where alcohol is served may be early indicators of an alcohol use disorder. They might occasionally accompany you to the movies, but they suggest heading to a pub afterwards.

They Drink to Destress

An individual suffering from an alcohol use disorder depends on alcohol to get through daily life. Alcohol turns into their primary coping mechanism and a disproportionately significant aspect of their lives.

They Don’t Appear Drunk

The person may not appear intoxicated until they’ve had several drinks because they’ve developed a tolerance to alcohol. To feel the same as they did after one or two drinks, they require progressively more alcohol.

Their Personality Changes

After a few drinks, they may not look drunk, but their mood may change. For instance, a calm, reserved individual may become gregarious, combative or verbally abusive. After drinking, someone who doesn’t usually express their emotions could become highly sentimental.

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They are Irritable When They Don’t Drink

If their drink is not available or they are unable to drink when they want to, they become irritable and angry. This is an indication of craving and early onset of withdrawal symptoms.

They Drink Even When They Don’t Plan To

They may tell you they will only have one or two drinks but have more. They may not plan to drink, but they find it impossible to resist when around others who do.

They Don’t Stick to Just One Brand

The majority of social drinkers only use a few preferred types of alcohol. An individual with an alcohol use disorder will consume any alcohol they can get their hands on. The brands and varieties might shift, but drinking won’t go away.

Drinking Has Caused Problems

Because of their actions, they may miss work, run afoul of the law, damage their relationships with family and friends, lose their driver’s licence, and encounter other difficulties. Given the harmful effects, AUD sufferers will often swear off alcohol, but they will ultimately be unable to quit.

Image by Sander Sammy from Unsplash

They are Resourceful

Alcohol causes one’s priorities to shift. For instance, they might be able to purchase alcohol even though they don’t have enough cash for a dinner date. They might choose to buy alcohol instead of paying for necessary purchases or other financial obligations, which could have a series of challenging repercussions.

There Is Alcoholism in Their Family History

An individual is more susceptible to alcohol use disorder than the general population if they have a family history of the condition. As you get to know their family, you may see indications of AUD in them.

Your significant other may be at risk for AUD if they are displaying a few of these symptoms. Find out everything you can about AUD, including what not to do and how to assist someone with the illness. Remember that addiction is an illness rather than a moral shortcoming.

You have power over your attitude and actions, even though you cannot directly influence another person’s behaviour. For instance, maintaining a healthy mental distance can be challenging but beneficial.

Knowing about self-help organisations like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and treatment services may enable you to guide your loved one to the right resources when they’re ready to accept them. These organisations occasionally provide friend and family support groups as well. You’ll find people there who are experiencing similar things. You are not alone!

If you or your loved one is struggling with alcohol-related issues, call Freephone at 0800 140 4044 

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