Mental health is a journey for everyone, and each person has their own struggles and traumas that they have to deal with, and that includes both you and your partner. While some people struggle with addiction, others don’t tend to have as many issues or don’t experience addictive personality traits. Having a drinking problem is about so much more than enjoying alcohol or even just drinking a bit more heavily than usual. Addiction is more common than most people realize, though, with more than 23 million adults in the United States having struggled with problematic drug use at some point.
Not everyone who drinks has a drinking problem, but it also stands to reason that you know your spouse better than most people. You see their habits and behaviors up close, so if something is off, you’re bound to notice. If you think that there might be something up with your spouse and that it might have something to do with drinking, substances or alcohol, there are a few ways to recognize it. While addiction can manifest differently in every person, here are some of the most common signs that your partner may be struggling with alcohol abuse.
They Drink Every Day
Some people do enjoy drinking every day, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone has a problem. However, if it becomes a staple of the day and your partner feels like they can’t live without it, that could point to a problem. Technically, moderate alcohol use can include up to one drink per day for women or two for men, but any more than that could be cause for concern.
Their Tolerance is Lowering
Each person has a different tolerance for alcohol and substances, but if your partner’s tolerance is consistently lowering and they need to drink more and more to feel it, that could point to excessive drinking.
Constant Social Drinking
While social drinking is a common way for people to relax and celebrate with others, excessive social drinking can also be cause for concern, especially if it’s constant and impacts other parts of your life. Socializing and taking every excuse to drink are different things.
Alcohol abuse isn’t always about the drinking itself. It can also be about the moods, feelings and emotions surrounding those habits. If you notice an increase in alcohol consumption along with a dip in mood and general sadness, there may be something to worry about. While this isn’t always the case, many people struggling with alcohol problems also have mental health struggles at the root of those issues.
This one may be tough to notice, especially if they consistently drink all the time. However, if you notice your spouse experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they don’t have access to alcohol, there’s a good chance they could have a problem. Withdrawal symptoms can include sweating, shaking, irritability, tremors, nausea and even vomiting.
Similarly, if being away from alcohol induces cravings, urges and other feelings of necessity, that could be a sign of alcohol addiction. Nobody’s body naturally requires alcohol, so craving it can indicate a reliance on it.
Sometimes, communicating about issues surrounding addiction can be tricky. And those who are struggling often don’t want to admit it. If you try to bring up the issue and are met with hostility, defensiveness or avoidance, that could indicate that a problem is arising, even if they aren’t willing to admit it.
Sudden Changes in Diet
Another physical manifestation of alcohol problems that you may notice is a change in diet. Some people eat much less when struggling with addiction, while others rely on food much more. It can vary from person to person, but if you notice your spouse constantly skipping meals or eating more than usual, it could have something to do with addiction.
Trouble Cutting Back
If your spouse does recognize a pattern of drinking too much and tries to cut back, there may be some struggles. This could possibly be the sign of a bigger issue. Some people have trouble helping themselves get away from drinking based on a physical dependence or even an emotional one. If your spouse has tried to cut back but can’t, that can point to a drinking problem.
Recognizing Your Spouse Has a Drinking Problem
Mental health is different for everyone, and struggling with addiction is no different. While drinking problems can mean different things for different people, keeping your eyes out for the signs can help you understand the nature of addiction and your spouse’s experience. If your spouse is struggling with alcoholism, the most important thing you can do is support them, seek professional help and move forward together. Find a trusted therapist or treatment program, set the boundaries you need and start off your healing journey together.