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How to tell if your spouse is an alcoholic

Is My Spouse an Alcoholic?

June 1, 2022

A spouse’s health and well-being affects the health of their partner and the of their relationship. Ignoring a growing substance use problem can have a ripple effect on the way everyone communicates and functions in the home. Learn the signs to look for to see if your spouse is an alcoholic and how to identify if your spouse needs detox for alcohol.

What is Alcoholism?

For alcoholism, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) provides the criteria to define a person as having an alcohol use disorder. DSM–5 integrates the two DSM–IV disorders, alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence, into a single disorder called alcohol use disorder (AUD) with mild, moderate, and severe sub-classifications.

AUD relates to the presence of two or more symptoms from the DSM-5. The language from the manual below has been updated to reflect a spouse’s drinking habits in the past year. If you have witnessed these symptoms your spouse may be an alcoholic and might need professional help.

  • Have you witnessed times when your spouse ended up drinking more, or longer than they intended.
  • Has your spouse has more than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but they couldn’t.
  • Has your spouse spent a lot of time drinking or being sick or getting over other aftereffects of drinking?
  • Has your spouse wanted a drink so badly they couldn’t think of anything else?
  • Has your spouse found that drinking—or being sick from drinking—often interfered with taking care of their home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
  • Has your spouse continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with their family or friends?
  • Your spouse has given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to them, or gave them pleasure, in order to drink?
  • More than once, have you witnessed your spouse get into situations while or after drinking that increased their chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
  • Has your spouse continued to drink even though it was making them feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
  • Has your spouse had to drink much more than they once did to get the effect they wanted, or found that their usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
  • When the effects of alcohol were wearing off, has your spouse had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, restlessness, nausea, sweating, a racing heart, or a seizure, or sensed things that were not there?

Mild AUD involves the presence of two to three symptoms. Moderate AUD covers the presence of four to five symptoms. Severe AUD means there a presence of six or more symptoms.

Physical Signs of Alcohol Abuse

Observation of a spouse who’s drinking daily or binge drinking can provide a lot of clues about the nature of their relationship with alcohol. Physical signs and symptoms become apparent. Be on the lookout for these signs to tell if your spouse is an alcoholic. If you recognize some of the following signs in your spouse they may need professional help.

  • Slowed reaction times
  • Blackouts after binge drinking
  • Trouble with motor coordination
  • Inability to walk properly
  • Spending time feeling sick
  • Slow recovery from the effects of drinking
  • Change in self-care and hygiene practices
  • Nausea, sweating, and tremors when not drinking

Psychological Signs of Alcohol Abuse

Signs related to your spouse’s mental and emotional health are another way to measure the impact of their drinking.

  • Memory impairment
  • Memory lapses
  • Mood swings
  • Aggressiveness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Slurred speech
  • Strong cravings
  • Drinking despite health/medical risks
  • Drinking despite legal consequences

Behavioral Signs of Alcohol Abuse

Behavior involves how your spouse acts and reacts to situations, including how much they drink or what they choose to do while intoxicated.

  • Impaired judgment
  • Risk-taking
  • Driving drunk
  • Change in sexual habits or unsafe sex
  • Sneaking drinks at home
  • Drinking during the workday or on the job

First Steps after Identifying a Spouse’s Alcohol Use Disorder

Once you have identified that your spouse is an alcoholic, recovery is a long process that begins with one critical step: detox. It’s important that you know the risk of medical detox at home. Even the most supportive family is not equipped to minimize the medical risks associated with alcohol withdrawal. It’s essential to find a facility that provides a medical detox so symptoms can be monitored and managed round-the-clock.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Mood changes
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Tremors or shakes
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances
  • Heart palpitations
  • Increased blood pressure or heart rate
  • Hyperthermia
  • Rapid abnormal breathing
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

Restored Path’s Solution

Restored Path Detox is the premier location for sophisticated alcohol detox in Dallas. We provide a safe sanctuary for healing that is also a state-of-the-art detoxification facility for a wide range of substances. Our compassionate physicians and therapists want you to get well and are committed to removing any existing barriers to your care. Restored Path’s team of board-certified physicians and highly qualified nursing team have extensive critical care experience and are available to monitor your detox program 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you or a loved one are struggling with drug or alcohol use, contact us today and take your first step towards recovery: 469-827-0000.

If you or a loved one are struggling with drug or alcohol use, call us today and take your first step towards recovery: (469) 827-0000.

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