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  • 10 Signs You’re Dating An Alcoholic

    It can be difficult to tell whether someone you’re dating has a drinking problem or not. Some people are very good at hiding their alcohol consumption. But some signs are harder to hide than others. 

    Here are ten warning signs that may suggest you’re dating an alcoholic:

    1. Their Social Life Revolves Around Drinking

    If the person you’re dating has a social life that always involves alcohol, they might have an issue with alcohol abuse. If alcohol must be involved in the things they do, they may have an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

    At the start of a relationship, their drinking habits may seem normal but as the relationship progresses, spotting the signs can get easier. Eventually, you’ll see they’re much more than just a social drinker.

    2. They Start Drinking Before You Arrive

    If your date is already drinking when you arrive, that can be another sign there’s a substance use problem at play. 

    It’s totally normal for someone to get a drink while waiting for a date, but if they seem to be several drinks in when you get there, take that as a red flag. 

    3. They Use Alcohol As A Stress Reliever

    While having a drink after a stressful day once in a while is usually not a problem, if your loved one always uses alcohol as a stress reliever, that can be a big warning sign. 

    Someone who isn’t dependent on alcohol likely uses other things to deal with stress. Someone with an alcohol use disorder may only use alcohol for stress relief.

    There may also be other mental health conditions, like depression or anxiety, that they’re dealing with too.

    4. They Have Mood Swings

    Those dealing with an alcohol use disorder can swing from one mood to another. It can be hard to detect at first, especially if you’re dating a high-functioning alcoholic who’s skilled at hiding their drinking and moods.

    People with an alcohol disorder can go from nice to combative very quickly. This can even lead to domestic violence which can affect your mental well-being, self-esteem, and your overall health. 

    Mood swings or personality changes can also be a sign of withdrawal symptoms if they haven’t had a drink in a while or are dealing with an underlying mental illness.

    5. They Only Have Money For Alcohol

    If the person you’re dating doesn’t seem to have any money except when it comes to alcohol, that can also be a warning sign.

    When you suggest a place that doesn’t serve alcohol, they may say they don’t have enough money, but when you suggest one that does serve alcohol, they all of a sudden have the money. 

    You may even see bills begin to pile up but they still seem to have money for alcohol. The disease makes alcohol their top priority.

    6. They Finish Other People’s Drinks

    If you go out with friends and your significant other seems to finish everyone else’s drinks at the end of the night, you should consider that a red flag. 

    If they can’t leave any alcohol on the table, even if the drink isn’t theirs, there may be a bigger issue going on.

    7. They Aren’t Picky About What They Drink

    If your significant other isn’t picky about what they drink, that can also be a sign of an alcohol problem. 

    Most people tend to stick to a few favorite drinks or a favorite brand of alcohol, but those with a drinking problem may take whatever is available.

    8. They Have A High Tolerance For Alcohol

    A high alcohol tolerance can be a big sign the person you’re dating has a substance use disorder. Most people have 2-3 drinks before they feel any effects. Someone with an alcohol problem can have 4-6 drinks and feel very few side effects. 

    You might try to keep up with them, but you’ll feel the effects much sooner than they will.

    9. They Have Difficulty Cutting Back

    If the person you’re dating has tried to cut back or says they’re going to cut back, but seems to struggle to do so, that can be a big red flag. 

    Trying to stop drinking when you have an alcohol addiction is very difficult. This is especially the case if they feel like they’re doing it alone or don’t have a strong support system.

    10. They Have A Family History Of Alcoholism

    Anyone with a history of alcohol abuse in their family has a higher risk of also having a problem with alcohol. If your loved one has a family member with addiction issues, you may want to look out for the signs we’ve covered here. 

    They may never develop an alcohol use disorder, but it’s good to keep an eye out so you can catch it early and help them find the support they need.

    If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous are a great place to start. 

    To learn about the professional addiction treatments that are available, including behavioral therapy and medication-assisted treatment, please contact our helpline today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2022 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Sources

    National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - What are symptoms of alcohol use disorder?
    National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder
    National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

    Medically Reviewed by
    Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS
    on June 24, 2022
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