8 Tell-Tale Signs of Hidden Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol dependence is an illness that affects many. In the European Union alone, of the 490 million people living there, 23 million have been classified as alcohol dependent. Unfortunately, knowing if you or someone you love has a problem isn’t as straightforward as you might think.
The stereotype of a drunken person staggering out of the bar is the last thing a person with alcohol addiction might do. Doing so could alert their loved ones to their behavior, which would mean an end to the double life these addicts often live. Shame and fear of public scrutiny are also some of the reasons why most addicts have become adept at hiding their addiction. So adept in fact, that they will seem normal to most people. They may look like they party a little too hard but that’s about it.
People who have found a way to function normally despite being heavily dependent on alcohol are what we refer to as highly functional alcoholics. They go to work, socialize and may even disguise themselves as simply the life of the party.
Read on below to find out if you or a loved one might be suffering from a hidden case of alcohol addiction.
1. Increased Quantities
Most people will develop a tolerance for alcohol the longer they have been drinking. Just ask any frat boy or any college kid for that matter. It is the same for alcoholics. The more they drink the more alcohol they will need to feel “normal”. It’s not even about having a good time anymore; they have to consume alcohol to even be able to go to work. Things to watch out for are flasks or bottles of vodka masquerading as bottled water.
2. Hidden Stash Of Alcohol
The deeper into their addictions they get, the more things addicts keep secret. In order to maintain the illusion of normalcy, addicts will go to great lengths to hide their alcohol stashes. Look under the sink, medicine cabinets or underwear drawers to find their stash. This is part of the reason why so many alcoholics prefer vodka. It’s clear, resembles water and It’s easy to hide. So that’s another thing you might look out for: bottles of water that aren’t exactly water.
3. Drinking Alone Before Going Out With Friends
A lot of alcoholics will down a drink or two (or more) before going out with friends so that they don’t have to drink so much out in public. Again, addicts require so much more alcohol to function and going out for a good time will require an even larger dose.
Unreliability and secretiveness are trademarks of any addiction, not just of alcoholism. Most of us will shrug this behavior off as flakiness but be careful if the behavior is coming from a person who is normally punctual and reliable. You should worry if they start missing important events such as family weddings and gatherings on short notice.
5. Rapid Weight Loss
Weight loss is something that is practically worshipped in our society, which is why so many people don’t notice an alcohol problem developing under the surface. Any unexplained rapid weight loss should be cause for concern, not just for those who might be addicted to alcohol, because it could also be a sign of illness or an eating disorder.
6. Subtle Slips In Normal Behavior
As mentioned above, alcoholism can alter a person in different ways. A person who is normally a ravenous eater suddenly loses appetite, a person who is pathologically punctual becomes constantly late or a person with a gentle demeanor is suddenly crabby and irritable. Some of these behaviors could be easily chalked up to stress but if it comes along with the other symptoms on this list, it might be time for an intervention.
7. Lost Or Pawned Belongings
Alcoholism, like a lot of other addictions, can get expensive. This is why addicts of all types are known to steal from others or pawn their belongings. Another reason for a disruption in a functional alcoholic’s cash flow is that the person has simply lost their job from coming in late too many times or not being able to submit their deliverables at work at the end of the day.
Lastly, and it is important to pay special attention to this, a functional addict will deny his problems despite being presented with evidence. Anybody who is not an addict but has found himself consuming unholy amounts of alcohol will become concerned with his behavior. Addicts, because they know that they have a problem deep inside, will not even allow a doctor to verify their mental health.