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There is a turning point, a pivotal moment when everything about your relationship with alcohol shifts. For the longest time, alcohol was something you had control over. And then, in what seems like an instant, alcohol somehow gained total control over you. As a result, hiding alcohol use became routine. You hid your drinking from your spouse, your colleagues, your kids, and your friends.
In the end, hiding your alcohol use is futile because the adverse effects of the drinking problem will become evident to everyone. When you reach that stage of alcoholism, it is very hard to hide it. Therefore, if you find yourself lying about your drinking or hiding your alcohol use, it’s time to seek treatment.
Know the Signs of Alcoholism
Here are some of the common warning signs that signal that your drinking has crossed over into alcohol use disorder (AUD):
- Drinking more alcohol or drinking for longer than intended.
- Failed attempts to cut down or control alcohol use.
- A great deal of focus is spent on obtaining, using, and recovering from the effects of alcohol.
- Alcohol cravings.
- Failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.
- Keep drinking alcohol, despite the adverse effects caused by drinking.
- Giving up or missing important social, occupational, or recreational activities due to alcohol use.
- Drinking in high-risk situations.
- Increased tolerance to alcohol has led to more consumption.
- Withdrawal symptoms emerge when alcohol is withheld.
Are you a Functional Alcoholic Hiding your Alcohol Use?
The term “functional alcoholic” refers to an alcoholic that manages to be highly productive at work and engaged at home. These people don’t exhibit the usual signs of heavy drinking. They may even be drinking alcohol throughout the day, but seem to be in total control.
Over time, the person will start to display the signs of a drinking problem. Traits of a functional alcoholic include:
- They start to miss meetings or appointments.
- They increasingly use alcohol to relieve job stress.
- They begin missing work due to hangovers.
- They deny they have a drinking problem.
- They hide alcohol and lie about how much they drink.
- They begin showing the physical signs of alcoholism, such as bloating and red, glassy eyes.
- They start to isolate themselves from others so they can drink without anyone judging them.
- They are often told they have a high tolerance for alcohol.
- They rely on others to cover for them or make excuses for work absences.
How the Disease of Alcoholism Progresses
AUD exists on a continuum that covers a wide range of disordered drinking habits. This includes binge drinking, alcohol abuse, alcohol dependency, and alcohol addiction.
The disease of alcoholism is not static. Daily drinking impacts the brain and alters neural pathways. The longer the person maintains the daily habit of heavy drinking, the more severe the alcohol use disorder becomes. Alcoholism can be seen as being in three distinct stages:
- Early Stage. During the early stage of alcoholism, the body begins to adapt to the increased alcohol consumption. In this stage, it is not noticeable that the person has a drinking problem. To all appearances, the person still functions well at work and in social settings. Over time, though, their tolerance to alcohol increases, leading to higher consumption.
- Chronic Stage. As drinking continues to escalate, the brain adapts, which leads to alcohol cravings. Over time, withdrawal symptoms emerge when the person is not drinking, which is a sign that dependency has taken hold. At this stage, others become aware of the drinking problem and may express their concern. The person becomes more secretive, hiding their alcohol use. They may have blackouts, mood swings, sleep problems, and neglect of their hygiene.
- End Stage. Late-stage alcoholism is characterized by an all-consuming compulsion to drink. The person drinks at all hours of the day to prevent withdrawal symptoms. By this point, they have suffered severe consequences and losses, such as divorce, job loss, and health problems. Some may even end up broke and homeless. Without getting the help they need, an end-stage alcoholic will have serious health problems that are likely to threaten their life.
Alcohol Detox and Withdrawal
Upon making the decision to get sober, the first step will be to complete a detox. The detox process should only be completed under the guidance of a trained medical detox team.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms vary in intensity depending on the severity of the alcohol use disorder. There are several factors that influence the detox. These include the length of time engaged in heavy drinking, average consumption, and the presence of a coexisting mood disorder.
Withdrawal symptoms begin within 6-12 hours of alcohol secession and might include:
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Hand tremors.
- Racing heart.
- Elevated blood pressure.
- Disorientation, mental confusion.
Treatment Solutions for Alcohol Use Disorder
Right after the detox is finished, you will begin treatment. You can receive treatment at either an outpatient or inpatient program. The outpatient rehab programs provide more flexibility and are less expensive, but are best for a mild AUD. The inpatient rehabs provide a much more intensive treatment approach as well as round-the-clock support.
Treatment for alcoholism includes:
- Individual therapy. During therapy sessions, you’ll examine any unhealthy behavior patterns that perpetuate the alcohol addiction. The therapist will guide you in changing those thoughts and behaviors.
- Group therapy. Group therapy offers peers in recovery a safe place to share their personal experiences and challenges.
- Family therapy. Family therapy utilizes helpful exercises that can help the family heal and move forward together to support their loved one.
- Psychosocial education. You’ll learn recovery skills to help you avoid relapse and to also improve relationships.
- Holistic. Rehabs integrate holistic activities that teach you how to reduce stress while engaging the spiritual aspects of the recovery process.
The Treatment Specialist Offers Free Guidance for Alcohol Recovery
The Treatment Specialist is an online resource for informative articles on mental health conditions and treatment options for adults, teens, and families. If you or a loved one is hiding alcohol use, they will benefit from talking with The Treatment Specialist team. Call us today at (866) 644-7911.