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Identifying Alcohol Addiction in a Spouse

Knowing the signs of alcohol addiction and understanding the nature of the disease are the first steps toward helping your spouse get the help needed to recover. Alcoholism is a deadly physical and psychological disease, and it has serious effects on the loved ones of the addict. Recovery is possible with the right help and treatment.

What Is Alcohol Addiction?

Excessive alcohol consumption causes the release of dopamine in the brain which, depending on the levels, brings on a variety of perceived benefits for drinkers. These include the following:

  • Self-confidence in social situations
  • Comfort in otherwise uncomfortable social environments
  • Masking of negative emotions, fears or anxieties
  • Euphoria
  • Blocking physical pain

The body develops a tolerance to alcohol quickly. This means that the drinker will need larger amounts of alcohol to continue to feel these desired effects. The increased dopamine in the brain also replaces naturally occurring pain and anxiety managing chemicals that individual needs to function physically and emotionally. When this occurs, users become dependent. If and when a dependent user stops drinking, his or her body will react harshly.

Recognizing the Signs of Alcohol Addiction

The following symptoms are indicators that a person has developed an alcohol dependency:

  • A strong desire to drink regularly
  • Defensiveness when confronted about drinking habits
  • Inability to stop drinking once started
  • Difficulty managing emotions
  • Loss of interest in previously important activities and relationships
  • Dishonesty or denial about drinking

While binge drinking is the quickest route to dependency, people can develop dependency disorders by drinking far less than it takes to get inebriated.

How Can You Help Your Alcoholic Spouse

If you are concerned that your spouse may have developed an alcohol addiction, you need help and support of your own. Alcoholism affects everyone connected to the addict. Spouses and children are often the most affected and are at risk for a wide range of serious codependency symptoms including the following:

  • Becoming emotionally or physically abusive
  • Becoming the victim of emotional or physical abuse
  • Developing relationship challenges and difficulty connecting with others
  • Self-destructive tendencies
  • Self-harm
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Enabling your spouse’s continued alcohol abuse

Spouses often play a critical role in the recovery of alcoholics, but they need help, support and advice to be as effective as possible.

Find the Help You Need Today

Help is available right now through our toll-free helpline. We are here to answer any questions you have about alcoholism, treatment options, codependency prevention, interventions and more. You need advice, information and support for the important task of helping your spouse get well. Please call today.