Is My Husband an Alcoholic?
Alcohol use is part of many of our social lives and having a drink can easily pass as something we do to relax at the end of a long working day.
However, concern for a spouse’s drinking habits may come about when your partner consumes five or more drinks per day, or perhaps when your partner shows withdrawal symptoms if he or she goes without it.
Feeling troubled about your husband’s drinking ways can affect the whole family, can easily place strain on your relationship and can cause mental and health problems related to alcohol use disorder.
If you are worried that your husband has lost control over the amount of his drinking, this blog may help you find some answers.
What Is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is usually referred to as an addiction, causing many professional, social and internal problems.
Someone runs the risk of alcohol addiction when excessive drinking becomes a norm, with severe consequences. The obsessive need for alcohol and the use of it despite the damaging consequences is a form of alcohol use disorder.
Having been satisfied with one or two drinks in the past, a spouse suffering from alcohol addiction may now need many more to feel normal, meaning that they have built up a tolerance to alcohol. Someone may be binge drinking and find it hard to stop drinking. A drinking problem can cause them to experience withdrawal symptoms, such as insomnia or nausea when they do not consume alcohol.
Alcohol addiction is not only related to heavy drinking. It can also come in the form of a craving for a small amount of alcohol or showing signs of negligence to work, family, and personal duties.
Living with addiction can cause severe damage to family life, and also places one at risk for mental health disorders.
Alcohol abuse can increase aggressive behavior and can cause a lack of inhibition. Paired with a trigger or a relation to mental health, these behaviors often instigate or encourage domestic violence and abuse.
As with drug abuse, a substantial increase in alcohol abuse can lead to mortality. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol is the third-leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
While it may seem difficult to address, there are things you could do to help your husband challenge substance abuse issues and start his recovery from excessive drinking. By identifying signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse, you are one step closer to addiction treatment and better mental health.
Signs of Alcoholism/Alcohol Use Disorder
Remember that even though you might spend a significant amount of time with your partner, warning signs of addiction and alcoholism may not be so easy to pick up. Some spouses hide their signs of addiction or conceal the frequency of their drinking.
When in doubt about your husband’s well-being, there are several signs of alcohol abuse to pay attention to. The signs can take emotional, behavioral, and physical forms.
Alcohol abuse causes emotional unpredictability, which can cause great difficulty in family life.
You may experience anxiety or marital strife. Perhaps you experience sudden signs of jealousy from your partner. In an attempt to control someone’s drinking, family members of those suffering from alcoholism often endure an undeserved self-blame or guilt.
Consequences of the abuse of alcohol, such as the loss of self-control and increased verbal aggression from your partner, can also affect emotional intimacy and trust in your relationship. These emotional effects can place a significant amount of strain on one’s mental health.
Just as there are emotional effects on you as a partner, there are emotional symptoms to watch out for in alcoholism. These include:
- Mood swings
- Lack of judgment or inhibition
- Emotional abuse
- Diminished self-esteem
Other warning signs of an alcohol use disorder may show in someone’s actions. Cellular and neural processes are disrupted by alcohol consumption, which can cause problems in thinking and movement. As alcohol abuse clouds perception, it tends to result in behavioral changes.
Observing a pattern of behavior where your partner puts himself in risky situations while drinking or getting drunk is one reason for concern.
Here are some other behavioral signs to look out for:
- Neglecting personal, work, or family obligations
- Drinking alone and secretly
- Financial problems
- Physical aggression
- Impeded social functioning
- Denying treatment or refusing to quit drinking, despite the consequences
A lack of judgment can easily cause physical self-injury to a person who has consumed too much alcohol. Fatalities caused by driving under the influence of alcohol is but one well-known example of how fatal addiction can be for ourselves and those around us, physically.
Alcoholism causes many problems to someone’s physical health. Studies show that millions of people suffering from an addiction to alcohol develop cognitive conditions that are permanent. This is why starting a treatment process for someone dealing with substance abuse as soon as possible is valuable.
Physical symptoms include:
- Excessive tiredness
- Decreased immunity
- High blood pressure
- Digestive problems
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Several types of cancer
- Alcohol poisoning
- Cognitive issues such as memory loss and difficulty in learning
Tell Me the Best Way to Help?
Alcoholism can take over the functionality of your partner’s life, and also affect your life. It can be very hurtful to see your partner abuse alcohol. If you or your husband are dealing with substance abuse issues you may be looking for immediate help.
Whether you are in doubt or you see signs of addiction and understand its health risks, having a conversation with your partner is important. It may not be easy to address your husband’s addiction or convince him to start treatment without seeming critical, which may in turn boost his defense mechanism or denial of the addiction. Thankfully, support groups offer help on how to approach such conversations.
Talking with your husband may cause him to stop drinking or lessen his addiction. However, in the case that it does not, it is important to remember that it is not easy for someone to quit drinking without help.
Active support is vital as your partner starts his road to recovery, whether he is ready to start addiction treatment or not.
Seek Professional Treatment
Treatment at an alcohol detox center or alcohol rehab may be required when alcohol abuse causes high risks to the health and safety of an individual. Detox can be an incredibly important and safe way for a person to break the hold that alcohol has on them.
As withdrawal symptoms from alcohol addiction can be severe and tempt someone to fall into a relapse when substance use is stopped, a safe medical detox or a medically supervised treatment process is important when your partner does decide to stop drinking. Before undergoing an at-home program, it is better to have your partner checked by health professionals.
Luckily, addiction treatment can be effective at any stage of a person’s willingness to become sober.
This means that even if your partner does not want help when you address your concern, help will still be available if he is motivated or perhaps forced by other circumstances to undergo alcohol treatment.
It is very important to understand the mental health risks that excessive alcohol use carries. It may be advisable to help your partner choose an alcohol rehab program in a facility that offers dual diagnosis treatment, so that possible co-occurring mental health disorders are treated at the same time as the addiction.
Some treatment programs involve your spouse living at the facility for a specific amount of time. Rehabilitation programs characterized as ‘inpatient’ usually offer more intensive care than a residential program. Other programs described as ‘outpatient’ step down from a higher level of care and are designed to assist while a client is actively taking care of their responsibilities.
Understanding alcoholism as a disease with its core in the mind, a treatment facility like ours works to change someone’s way of thought. Apart from fighting the addiction to alcohol, undergoing substance abuse treatment would mean uncovering triggers and underlying causes of addiction.
In this way, addiction treatment with us can help someone develop tools and abilities for long-term recovery and a healthy lifestyle.
Treatment options include:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Medication-assisted treatment or medical detox
- Physical exercise
Set Healthy Boundaries
Healthy boundaries are vital for the well-being of both you and your spouse. This may mean saying no to substance use or perhaps saying no to the consequences of drinking.
In some cases, a partner’s drinking habits can put the entire family at risk. When the effect of alcohol use disorder is domestic abuse, it may be best to leave the relationship, especially if your partner’s drinking habits do not change. Picking up and leaving isn’t always so easy, though.
Many people stay in abusive relationships because of logistical barriers, such as concerns about the custody of children or having a place to live. Economic barriers like financial dependency also play a role.
Emotionally, you may constantly believe that the situation is changing. It is also common to avoid addressing a substance abuse problem because of the fear of your spouse’s reaction.
Talking to a professional mental health provider can help you in coping with your choices and their consequences, and can guide you to help your husband through his treatment.
It is crucial to continue care after a residential program has ended. Very often, the whole family is affected by alcoholism and immediate help is necessary even for those surrounding someone struggling with addiction.
Drinking problems can also carry through to children, as studies show a link between increased alcohol consumption and a history of family addiction. Family therapy is often an effective treatment method, as it allows each member to share how they are affected by an alcohol-related problem.
Other benefits include:
- Better communication
- Better support
- Setting limits in relationships
- Stability in the family unit
Contact Us Today
Professional help could save your partner’s life, your marriage, and your health.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help. If you have doubts about a drinking problem, it is better to seek treatment soon as possible.
Recovery from alcoholism is difficult and it may differ from person to person, but we think it does not have to be a long and painful road. Treatment processes for substance abuse problems are individually designed so that clients and their family members will be able to learn about recovery and how to sustain their health. Our experienced, compassionate staff provides evidence-based treatment with great care.
A waterfront location provides the opportunity for clients to enjoy sunrise and sunset meetings, as well as kayaking and yoga. Other activities include gym workouts or volleyball.
We also believe it is important to emphasize the link between treatment and recovery. That means that at Ebb Tide, addiction treatment includes assistance in aspects of daily life on your road to happiness and health.