Have you been asking yourself “is my husband an alcoholic?” Have you noticed him drinking more than usual? Have you seen his drinking lead to dangerous outcomes? Has his drinking interfered with taking care of family and social responsibilities?
These are some of the questions that you need to ask yourself if you are wondering if your husband is an alcoholic.
Alcohol is dangerous and alcoholism is something that can lead to numerous health consequences and even death. If you are worried that your husband may be suffering from some type of alcohol use disorder, you need to evaluate his drinking habits to determine if you need to get help.
If you need to get help, there are, luckily, a number of resources that you can choose from to help your loved one overcome this problem.
Before we look at some of the common signs of alcoholism, we will first define the term to understand what it is we are actually talking about.
What Is Alcoholism?
For many, alcoholism is a somewhat abstract term and many may not know exactly what it means to be an alcoholic.
Alcoholism, also referred to as alcohol use disorder, essentially means that someone has a complete dependence on the substance. It can cause a number of social, behavioral, and professional problems, but the effects of the disease can cause cravings, loss of control, withdrawal symptoms, and a build-up of tolerance.
Dependence on alcohol is a dangerous thing as it will lead to withdrawal symptoms if substance use is stopped. Withdrawal symptoms for any substance can be problematic, but for alcohol specifically, the problems can become life-threatening.
Some of the common signs of alcohol withdrawal include tremors, hallucinations, withdrawal seizures, and delirium tremens. These withdrawal symptoms will last for a few days after the last drink was taken.
This is why it is so important to seek help if your loved one is dealing with an alcohol problem. Because of the danger associated with these withdrawal symptoms, it is important to be sure that they don’t go through these symptoms alone in a non-medical setting.
One of the signs that could point to alcoholism is binge drinking and binge drinking may be even more common than you think. According to the CDC, one in six U.S. adults binge drink about four times a month. Binge drinking is a pattern of drinking that causes a person’s blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 or above. This typically occurs when men drink five or more drinks in two hours, or four or more drinks in two hours for women. There are a number of problems that are associated with binge drinking, including unintentional injuries, chronic diseases, memory and learning problems, and alcohol dependence.
Now, if you are skeptical that your husband has some sort of problem with alcohol, there are a number of things that you can look for.
Is My Husband An Alcoholic?
Your husband is one of the most important people in your life and protecting them is likely a top priority. If you are worried that they have a problem with alcohol or that they are an alcoholic, there are a few things that you can look for to help verify or deny these suspicions.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, an estimated 16 million people in the United States have an alcohol use disorder.
To be diagnosed with alcohol use disorder, individuals have to meet certain criteria presented in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). You can evaluate these criteria for your significant other.
In the past year, has your significant other:
- Drank longer or more than they originally intended?
- Tried to cut back or stop drinking but couldn’t?
- Spent a lot of time drinking or spent a lot of time being sick from aftereffects of alcohol?
- Wanted to drink so badly that they couldn’t think of anything else?
- Drank so much that it interfered with taking care of the home or family, or caused professional problems?
- Drank even though it caused problems with family or friends?
- Cut back or stopped activities that were important to them in order to drink?
- Gotten into situations that increased the chances of getting hurt, such as drunk driving?
- Continued drinking even though it was contributing to depression or anxiety?
- Drank more than they once had to in order to get the desired effect?
- Experienced withdrawal symptoms when the effects of alcohol wore off?
Answering “yes” to two to three of these symptoms indicates a mild alcohol use disorder, four to five indicates a moderate disorder, and the presence of six or more symptoms indicates a severe alcohol use disorder.
While alcoholism is still dependent upon a person’s specific situation, looking at your loved one’s circumstances and answering these questions is a good starting point.
Overall, there is more that needs to be considered when discussing the effects of alcohol. For example, it is important to understand the physical and mental health effects that occur from alcoholism.
Physical Effects of Alcohol
Understand how alcohol impacts the body and what kind of health consequences it can lead to is important for identifying issues in your loved one and fully understanding what the outcomes of their dangerous habits could be.
The use of alcohol can affect and interfere with the way the brain communicates, such as neurotransmitters and pathways. These interferences can lead to mood and behavioral changes which can make it more difficult to think and move properly. One of the biggest effects that alcohol has on the brain is when it leads to blackouts and memory lapses.
Drinking a lot of alcohol, especially over a long period of time can lead to a number of different problems that can damage the heart. Some of the common heart problems that are caused by alcohol use include:
Cardiomyopathy — Cardiomyopathy is a disease that affects the muscles in the heart and makes it harder for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body.
Arrhythmia — Arrhythmia is essentially an irregular heartbeat. It causes the improper beating of the heart, this could mean too fast, too slow, or irregular.
Stroke — A stroke occurs when the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen or nutrients due to a clot or burst.
High blood pressure — High blood pressure is a condition in which the force of blood against artery walls are too high. It can lead to many other problems including a heart attack.
The liver is one of the most affected organs when it comes to alcohol. And the problems with the liver can lead to major health problems and even life-threatening issues. Such as alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, and cirrhosis. Essentially, cirrhosis is the late stage scarring of the liver that is caused by chronic alcoholism. It can lead to a number of different problems including bone disease, liver cancer, buildup of toxins in the brain, and death.
Alcohol is a known carcinogen, a cancer-causing substance. When alcohol breaks down in the body, it turns into acetaldehyde, a chemical that damages the DNA and prevents your body from repairing the damage. Because of this, it can cause cells to grow out of control and create a cancer tumor. Alcohol increases the chances of a number of different types of cancer including breast cancer, oral cancer, liver cancer, and more.
These are not all the health risks associated with alcohol, there are a number of other problems that can occur. Obviously, there are many problems that can occur from excessive alcohol use, but how do you continue?
What can you do to help your husband or significant other if they are dealing with alcohol use disorder?
How Can I Help?
If you realize that your husband or loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse, or maybe some other type of substance abuse problem, you are probably looking for answers.
Can I help me?
What can I do for him?
Will he be okay?
And the short answer to all of these questions is that you can help him get better and alcohol rehabilitation facilities can help you.
Alcohol treatment facilities can help patients achieve long-term sobriety. While it may be difficult or might seem out of your comfort zone, your husband’s health is the most important thing at this moment and you need to get the help that he needs.
If you are looking for an alcohol treatment facility, there are a few things that you need to take into consideration. To start, you need to ensure that the recovery center that you are looking into is reliable and providing quality service.
When you are looking into a recovery facility, you should ensure that they have licensed professionals and that they are using evidence-based treatment methods for their patients.
Moreover, you should ensure that the facility that you are looking into offers the services and care treatment that your loved one needs.
One of the most important things to ensure for your loved one in terms of treatment is that they offer a medically supervised detoxification program. Medical detox is incredibly important for anyone newly sober, especially those with problems related to alcohol as they can prove to be life-threatening if not handled properly. This is why it is so important for patients to go through a medically supervised program rather than an at-home detox program.
There are a number of effective therapies that patients will be exposed to during the treatment process. These therapies can be one-on-one or group programs, both can be helpful. One of the best therapies for patients is cognitive behavioral therapy. During CBT, patients will work with a clinician to identify triggers and things that they believe is contributing to their substance abuse problems and may cause urges or cravings to use. During this form of therapy, clinicians will work with patients to alter thoughts to no longer be triggered to use by this stimuli. There are several other effective forms of therapy that can be used to help patients learn to overcome their alcohol or drug issues, including family therapy and group counseling.
Intensive Outpatient Programs are one of the most important parts of the recovery process. These types of programs allow patients to continue on their recovery path while re-adjusting back into independent living. During IOP treatment, patients will continue to be exposed to certain therapeutic programs and therapy sessions to continue the learning process and help them stay on track and avoid relapse.
These are what you and your loved can expect from a quality treatment center that has an individualized and comprehensive treatment plan to help your loved one overcome their substance abuse issues.
Overall, treatment facilities are here to help and can provide your loved one with the care that they need to conquer addiction and achieve long-term sobriety.
If you are looking at all of this information and maybe feeling a bit overwhelmed, that is okay. Landmark Recovery is here to help. Landmark Recovery is staffed with knowledgeable clinicians to help patients overcome addiction. At Landmark, we offer patients individualized recovery plans and evidence-based treatment to give them the tools and knowledge that they need to overcome addiction and stay committed to recovery.
If you have been asking yourself "Is my husband an alcoholic?" and wondering what you can do to help him, alcohol treatment centers can Landmark is a state-of-the-art alcohol rehab in Indiana and is here to help. If you would like to learn more about Landmark and how we can help you and your loved one, please visit our website and reach out to our admissions staff to understand what we can do for you.