Spotting Symptoms of a Loved One’s Alcoholism

The warning signs of alcoholism appear in many aspects of a person’s life, even when they attempt to mask the problems. Providing the help and support they need begins with knowing how to identify the issues stemming from their addiction, including changes in their appearance, changes in how they behave socially, and continuous trouble managing their daily lives. Today, let’s talk about how to spot the symptoms of alcoholism in a loved one so they can get on the road to recovery.

identify issues of addiction

Spotting symptoms of a loved one’s alcoholism involves becoming aware of physical signs showing effect of abuse or addiction in each encounter with them. It’s essential to track changes in social behavior, too, and identify ways their addiction is harming their well-being and creating a risk for legal consequences. In doing so, you’re collecting anecdotal evidence of the problem with specific details you can discuss with professional resources when seeking treatment options for your loved one.

Physical Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Physical Signs of Alcoholism

Physical signs of alcohol addiction tend to become apparent first, and you can spot most of the common ones even in brief encounters with your loved one. They may look thinner and flushed now and their neglect of daily hygiene activities, from bathing to brushing their teeth, may be noticeable. The smell of alcohol may be apparent on both their breath and on their skin, too.

Alcoholism Warning Signs: Physical

Eyes: Yellowing

Hair: Unwashed and brittle Nails: Dry and brittle

Body: Thinner than usual, lack of bathing apparent

Skin: Flushed, dry, aging quicker than usual, broken capillaries on nose and face


Social Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Social signs of alcohol addiction

Unlike physical signs, which can be apparent in a single visit, social signs of alcohol addiction can be viewed as a pattern of behavior. You’re looking for clues about how your loved one’s behavior is changing and creating difficulties for them. Consider it an evaluation of their choices, the ones affecting everything from their relationships and their career to their focus and self-esteem.

Alcoholism Warning Signs: Social Behavior

  1. They may choose to take risks related to consuming alcohol, which can lead to consequences from missing work to an arrest for DUI.
  2. They may choose to make promises to quit drinking when someone points out a problem and then not follow through.
  3. They may choose to act on cravings to drink and explain the need for it to help them deal with pressures of the moment or as a response to low self-esteem.
  4. They may choose to spend an increasing amount of money on alcohol and neglect other responsibilities, including rent or mortgage, utility bills, and debts.
  5. They may choose to turn to abusing other substances, including prescription pills or illegal drugs, when they’re out of alcohol.

Changes in social behavior addiction

As spotting these visible symptoms requires spending time with your loved one, they become easy to hide in periods where you two have no contact. During those periods when you’re not seeing them and you have already spotted evidence of both social and physical changes, aim to keep communication open with them or with someone else close to them. It might reveal some additional warning signs you hadn’t noticed otherwise.


Taking Action after Warning Signs of Alcoholism

Learning the physical and behavioral symptoms of alcoholism is part of a two-step goal to ultimately help your loved one. You’re first empowering yourself by recognizing the addiction exists and equipping yourself with evidence of it for a conversation with a professional in the field of treatment and recovery. As the “bridge” between the warning signs and the next step, your awareness of the addiction becomes a helpful part of your loved one’s response to it and lead to opportunities for them to find treatment options aligned with their needs and goals.


Origins Recovery Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renown clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 844-234-3451.

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