Just because someone drinks does not necessarily mean they have an alcohol use disorder. There are many people who can have a drink or two, know when to stop, and go about their day-to-day activities with little negative impact. However, there are also people who become unable to control their drinking – even if they want to – and it slowly takes control of their life. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell when someone may have a problem because they can be good at hiding it. Here are a few warning signs to be aware of that may indicate a substance use disorder.

  • Making excuses to drink: The person may always have a reason why they’re drinking. They need something to help them relax, it’s Friday, it’s the weekend, their friend got a promotion, they finished a project at work, they’re out with friends, the list goes on.
  • Drinking at unusual times: Many people drink with a meal or when out being social, but someone with an alcohol use disorder may drink regardless of the time of day. It could start first thing in the morning with a mimosa and carry on through the evening. They may also bring alcohol with them to different events where drinking isn’t common, such as their child’s soccer game.
  • Becoming isolated: Does the person seem to disappear a lot or spend more time alone? They may be isolating themselves to drink in secret or cover up how much they actually consume. Skipping out on activities they used to enjoy can be a red flag.
  • Developing a high tolerance for alcohol: With prolonged drinking, over time it can take more alcohol to experience the same effects as previously with less alcohol. Some people are proud of their high tolerance, but this can actually be a warning sign of excessive drinking. The body can only process a certain amount of alcohol at a time.
  • Getting defensive: Does the person seem on edge or angry if someone expresses concern over their drinking? Do they automatically have an excuse for their behavior or try to downplay it with a joke?
  • Experiencing mood swings: When someone with an alcohol use disorder hasn’t had a drink in a while, it can make them anxious or irritable. They may be distracted thinking about when they can have their next drink. Once they have been drinking, they may be very social and pleasant again.

These are just a few red flags that may indicate a family member or friend’s drinking has become problematic. If you notice these signs, share your concerns and offer to help them get into a treatment program. If they are resistant, holding an intervention can bring issues to light and guide them to the help they need. Seacliff Recovery Center works with families to get their loved ones into treatment, then supports clients along each step of their recovery journey. There is help available and recovery is possible at Seacliff. Learn more by contacting us today.


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