Misinformation and miscommunication often cause concerned family members to misinterpret the signs of alcohol addiction. These tips provide a description of what alcoholism looks like in a loved one:
Clinical Definition: The Mayo Clinic defines alcoholism as a chronic disease characterized by the body’s physical dependence on alcohol. Alcoholics are biologically motivated to drink without concern for appropriate time, social impact, or negative consequences. They often keep up with the destructive behavior even after it begins to threaten their careers and personal relationships. This motivation comes from a chemical change that reprioritizes alcohol consumption over all other desires.
Dangerous Progression: Dependence on alcohol does not happen overnight, nor is it controlled exclusively by heredity. A long list of factors leads a drinker to rely on and eventually become dependent on alcohol. Emotional problems like depression are one of many issues patients use alcohol to deal with. With time, drinking becomes the automatic response to pain in a person’s life. Eventually, the biology of the brain is rewired to expect the chemical release that accompanies the ingestion of alcohol. At this point, the use of alcohol has become an extremely dangerous problem.
Visible Symptoms: Alcoholics develop a number of strategies to conceal their dependence from family and friends. The problem may exist for several years before the addict begins actively alienating loved ones. However, there is no hiding the physical symptoms of alcohol abuse. Random aggression and disinterest are two signs of a family member who has begun to prioritize booze over personal relationships. Likewise, physical clues like glazed eyes and the odor of alcohol are clear signs of a problem.
Don’t let your loved one face this struggle alone. The best way to address his or her pain is by getting the necessary professional help. The Roque Center can support your family with effective alcohol rehab services—dial (714) 839-0607 to learn more.