Cirque Lodge > Blog > Alcohol Addiction > Is My Husband an Alcoholic?

It's normal to drink alcohol sometimes. After all, drinking is an important part of many cultures and consuming alcohol in moderation is often nothing to worry about.

However, excessive drinking is a problem. Alcohol abuse can cause severe damage to a person's health and strain their relationships with others.

If you're wondering whether your husband has an alcohol problem, you've probably noticed some unusual signs or concerning drinking habits. Perhaps you've found empty bottles around the house or your partner comes home drunk too many times a week. But you may still be unsure whether their drinking habits are normal or not.

Should this resonate with you, this blog may help make things more clear.

What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism, or alcohol addiction, is when someone compulsively seeks or drinks alcohol despite any negative consequences. Alcohol addiction is a severe form of alcohol use disorder characterized by the harmful use of alcohol. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, over 14.5 million people in the United States live with an alcohol use disorder.

While alcohol addiction is among the most serious drinking problems, all alcohol abuse is something to worry about. Alcohol dependence, heavy drinking, and binge drinking are all dangerous to someone's health, and they all increase the risk of developing an addiction.

The earlier you or your partner can recognize the problem, the better. Effective addiction treatment can support alcohol users to overcome their drinking problems and live a fulfilling sober life. No matter how severe the problem may seem, recovery is possible for everyone.

What Are Some Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder?

If you are worried about your partner's drinking, there are several signs to look out for. Signs and symptoms can be physical, emotional, and behavioral.

Physical Signs

Alcohol is a toxic substance. If we drink in moderation (one or two drinks a day), our bodies can generally process and excrete its toxins without it causing serious harm. However, if someone consistently drinks large amounts, it begins to take its toll on their health. Ultimately, alcohol abuse can lead to fatal conditions like liver disease and several types of cancer.

Some physical signs of a drinking problem include:

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Increased tolerance to alcohol
  • Clumsiness
  • Sexual disfunction
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Passing out
  • Withdrawal symptoms

Remember, someone may display these signs without having a drinking problem. Likewise, other people may have an alcohol use disorder without displaying any of these signs.

If you recognize a few of these signs, you may like to consider having a conversation with your partner or contacting a substance abuse professional for advice.

Emotional Signs

Alcohol is a mind-altering substance that affects the balance of chemicals and neurotransmitters in our brain. It changes the way brain cells communicate with each other and other cells in the body, affecting mood and behavior.

These changes can be short-term, reversing again when alcohol leaves our bodies. However, consistent drinking can cause long-term changes in how the brain works, affecting mental health and well-being.

Some emotional signs of alcohol use disorder may include:

  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Overconfidence
  • Lack of inhibition while under the influence of alcohol

Behavioral Signs

Consistently drinking alcohol affects the brain's reward system, creating strong urges to drink alcohol that can be difficult to resist. If your partner is addicted to alcohol, they may prioritize alcohol above anything else in their life, affecting their lifestyle and relationships with others.

Alcohol addiction may manifest in several behavioral signs, including:

  • Lying to or stealing from others to sustain their drinking problem
  • Neglecting home and work responsibilities
  • Unexplained financial difficulties
  • Losing interest in activities they usually enjoy
  • Changes in social circles
  • Secretive behavior
  • Continuing to drink alcohol despite adverse consequences

What Can You Do To Help?

Substance abuse problems can put a strain on any relationship. Addiction can begin to dominate your partner's life, affecting how they treat you and others around them. Research shows that alcohol and drug abuse is associated with relationship dissatisfaction, instability, and verbal and physical aggression.

If your partner has a drinking problem, you may be feeling worried, frustrated, and exhausted. Sometimes, the best way forward is to end the relationship with your husband. If you would like to stay with him, there are a few things you could do that may help support your husband's recovery and your well-being.

Seek Professional Treatment

Alcohol addiction causes physical changes in the brain, making it difficult to quit drinking. The good news is that there are many evidence-based treatment options available to help people overcome addiction and live a sober life.

The addiction treatment process usually begins with medical detox to help your partner safely withdraw from alcohol. After detox, they will enter long-term addiction treatment that supports them in identifying and overcoming the underlying causes of their addictive behavior. Substance abuse treatment may involve residential stays at a facility or part-time programs where they continue to live at home.

Treatment facilities, like our own, typically offer a variety of treatment approaches tailored to suit each client's needs. They may include:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy sessions
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Support groups
  • Aftercare

Addiction professionals recognize the impact alcoholism has on the family and the role family members can play in supporting recovery. Our family is often our closest support system with the potential to provide care, acceptance, and encouragement.

Family therapy can help spouses and other family members improve their relationships with each other while supporting those in addiction recovery. Family therapy may include educational sessions to help the family understand why the person may abuse alcohol, conflict resolution sessions, and advice on how to support their recovery journey.

Avoid Enabling

It's normal to want to help and support your partner. However, it's important not to enable your partner's drinking by helping them obtain alcohol or making excuses for them. By fulfilling their short-term needs, you may be enabling their substance abuse problem to continue or worsen, which helps neither of you in the long run.

Look After Yourself

No matter how serious your partner's substance abuse issues are, remember that you are also important. Make sure you look after yourself and do things that you enjoy.

Practicing good self-care can help improve your mental health and deal with the stresses of the relationship. Self-care practices include:

  • Eating balanced meals
  • Exercising
  • Relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation
  • Creative outlets
  • Spending time with friends
  • Engaging in hobbies
  • Seeking support from others

You may like to attend self-organized support groups like Al-Anon, where you can meet with other family members of substance users. Support groups can offer advice, care, and understanding from people who share your experience.

You may also like to seek professional help. Therapy can help you cope with challenges and stresses and make daily life more manageable.

Contact Us Today

At Cirque Lodge, we welcome you to contact us today if you are worried about your partner's drinking habits. In doing so, we can offer professional advice and support for substance abuse issues.

Providing compassionate and individualized support to help clients uncover their innate ability to recover from alcoholism and lead fulfilling lives, we are here to help your husband take the first step in his recovery journey.

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