What Are Common Behaviors of an Alcoholic?

What is an Alcoholic?

Alcoholics are unable to control the amount of alcohol they consume, even if the amount of alcohol that they drink is causing negative impacts in their lives. Individuals that suffer from alcohol use disorders are dependent on alcohol. They feel as though they cannot function normally without it. The bodies of alcoholics forget how to maintain homeostasis and thus adapt to the large quantity of alcohol that they consume. When people’s bodies adapt to a certain level of alcohol, they’ve developed a certain level of tolerance to the substance. Thus, such people will need to drink more to experience alcohol’s euphoric effects. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol could lead to the development of common behaviors of an alcoholic. 

Alcoholism Risk Factors

Anyone can be diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder (AUD). There are risk factors that can be linked to excessive drinking though. Some of these risk factors include:

  • Genes: A family history of AUD could make some individuals more likely to develop an alcohol addiction.
  • The age of the first alcoholic drink: Individuals who start drinking at an earlier age are more likely to develop an alcohol addiction. 
  • Stress: Individuals who deal with a lot of stress are more likely to drink excessively to relieve their stress. 
  • Depression: Individuals with depression may use alcohol as a form of self-treatment. But due to alcohol’s short-term effects, doing so can increase the risk of developing alcoholism while ultimately increasing depression symptoms. 
  • Low self-esteem: Individuals with low self-esteem may use alcohol to mask their insecurities. 
  • How the body metabolizes alcohol: If an individual metabolizes alcohol very slowly, he or she will need to drink more to achieve the effects from the alcohol that he or she desires. Such behavior could develop into excessive drinking which could then cause the development of alcoholism. 
  • Peer drinking: Individuals who hang around friends who drink regularly or excessively are more likely to develop an alcohol use problem. 

Long-Term Health Problems Caused by Chronic Alcohol Abuse

An AUD can cause short and long-term health problems if left untreated. Some long-term health conditions that may be caused by an alcohol use disorder are:

  • A neurobiological disease called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome
  • Brain defects
  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Diabetes complications 
  • Heart problems 
  • Bone loss
  • Liver disease

Different stages of alcoholism can affect people in different ways. Due to the effects alcohol abuse causes on the brain, individuals with alcohol use disorders can sometimes develop certain personality characteristics. If you know someone who is struggling with alcohol abuse, such as a family member, close friend, or partner, it’s important to know the early signs of alcoholism to get that person the best treatment possible. 

What Are Some Common Behaviors of an Alcoholic?

There are certain common behaviors of an alcoholic. Below are descriptions of some of those common behaviors.

Personality Changes

If you are close to someone who has an alcohol problem, you may notice that person’s personality change when drinking alcohol or when that person hasn’t had alcohol yet that day. This is because excessive alcohol use causes changes to a person’s brain which then affects that person’s behaviors.

Knowing the personality characteristics of alcoholics can help you plan an intervention. This is because knowing the personality traits of a possible alcoholic can help you recognize when that person’s behaviors are off due to excessive alcohol abuse. Thus, knowing the personality characteristics of alcoholics can help you decipher when you do need to stage an intervention. 

Knowing an alcoholic’s personality characteristics and how an alcoholic’s personality has changed due to his or her drinking can also help you cater the conversation and tactics during an intervention to fit the alcoholic’s needs. This is the best bet if you want to change your loved one’s drinking habits and have him or her seek treatment. 

Excessive Drinking

The habits and traits of alcoholics vary with different people. However, there are a few common behaviors of an alcoholic. For example, all alcoholics experience excessive drinking. 

Irritability, Anxiousness, and Aggressiveness

Some people that suffer from alcohol use disorders can become irritable, anxious, and aggressive while they are drinking and when they are going through alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol dependence can also make a person impatient and easily aggravated. Thus, irritability, anxiousness, and aggressiveness are three of the common behaviors of an alcoholic. 

Drinking More Alcohol

Some individuals may even turn to alcohol to mask and self treat their low self-esteem and depression. Doing this may turn such people into alcoholics. 

When people suffer from alcohol use disorders, their depression and/or self-esteem worsens. This is especially true if other aspects of their lives are not going in the way that they would like. Going through alcohol withdrawal is a very uncomfortable experience though, so people continue the same drinking habits to avoid withdrawal.   

Attending Bars and Parties

As stated above, alcoholics have become dependent on alcohol due to their bodies forgetting their normal homeostasis. This dependency on alcohol causes alcoholics to have a constant focus on alcohol. So much so that alcoholics often want to meet up with friends at bars instead of at alcohol-free locations. 

People that suffer from alcohol use disorders will even make sure that if they are attending an event or party, alcohol will be there as well. If an event does not contain alcohol and alcoholics are aware beforehand, they will likely not go because they feel that events aren’t worth attending without alcohol. Thus, alcohol seems to be the only thing alcoholics can talk or think about. 

Blaming Others

Other common behaviors of an alcoholic include blaming others. For example, alcoholics often blame their excessive drinking on their jobs, partners, or their parent(s). This habit of blaming others is not just common with people suffering from AUDs, but all forms of substance use disorders. 

Making Frequent Excuses

Alcoholics tend to place accountability on anything but themselves. Similarly to blaming others, alcoholics may make frequent excuses. For example, to excuse excessive drinking, an alcoholic might say that he or she has had a rough week at work or a long day. Alcoholics may even go as far to say that eating dinner is better with a couple of glasses of wine or beer. No matter the occasion, whether it’s to celebrate or commiserate, someone with an AUD can always come up with an excuse to drink.

When living with an alcoholic, whether it is a family member or your partner, you may notice that your loved one’s personality changes when drinking. Because your loved one drinks large quantities of alcohol regularly he or she is now in a state of alcohol dependency. As a result, your loved one with a drinking problem may drink alcohol uncontrollably. 

It’s difficult for people that suffer from alcohol use disorders to stop drinking once they start. They may say “tonight I will only have one glass of wine with dinner” but then end up having several. It’s the responsibility of the loved one of the person with a drinking problem to notice this reckless, addictive behavior and do something about it before it worsens.  i

Alcoholics even tend to struggle financially. Many people have periods during their life where money is tight, but if it is a chronic issue, it may be related to substance use issues. For example, a person with a drinking problem may spend an excessive amount of money on alcohol. As a result, that person’s drinking habits may interfere with his or her professional life to the point where he or she misses hours of work or loses a job altogether on top of losing money.  

How Does Alcoholic Behavior Affect Others?

People dependent on alcohol have a constant urge to drink to feel normal. As a result, drinking alcohol becomes a basic need that alcoholics prioritize over anything else. 

Suffering from alcoholism may even cause people to feel that drinking alcohol is more important than eating proper meals, engaging in physical activity, staying hydrated, and keeping up with hygiene. Thus, a person who used to be dedicated to work or school might suddenly prioritize drinking. If that’s the case, the individual’s job performance or grades will decline. Suffering from alcoholism can even cause people to neglect their responsibilities and not tend to the needs of others. 

Alcoholism can definitely have a negative effect on individual relationships. This is because alcoholics will shift their priorities from their responsibilities and personal relationships to finding more alcohol to drink. This can cause individuals that suffer from alcohol use disorders to neglect their romantic partners, children, or other family members. 

Alcoholism can even cause family drama, break up romantic relationships, and drive away close friends. Furthermore, the changes that alcoholics go through can cause personal changes in those closest to them. 

Treatment for Alcohol Addiction at Grace Land Recovery

Alcoholism is a chronic issue that is treatable. If you notice personality changes in your loved one who excessively abuses alcohol, please don’t hesitate to get that person the help that he or she needs. Grace Land Recovery Center is an addiction treatment center located in Memphis, Tennessee. 

Our facility is here to help individuals that suffer from alcohol addictions and other substance use disorders. We also specialize in treating co-occurring disorders, such as if you are struggling with both depression and alcohol addiction. 

Our staff is fully trained and specializes in a large range of treatment modalities. We offer various types of therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and experiential therapy.

We here at Grace Land Recovery understand that treatments vary per individual. It is not one size fits all. That’s why there are group and individual therapies. We here at Grace Land also put focus on different areas such as mental health, anger management, trauma, and relapse prevention. 

Individuals will most likely need to detox before attending addiction treatment here at Grace Land. Detox is the process of ridding the body of all substances. 

The best alcohol detox method is tapering one’s alcohol use. By tapering your alcohol use during detox, you will gradually decrease the number of drinks you consume until you achieve sobriety. Tapering will also help your body avoid going into shock while detoxing because your body is slowly no longer becoming accustomed to the large quantities of alcohol you were drinking in the past. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction and you’ve been putting off getting treatment, please contact Gace Land Recovery today.