a woman holds a bottle of wine

Are You a Secret Alcoholic?

When people think of alcoholism, they typically think of the physical signs of drinking: unsteady gait, loss of coordination, loss of consciousness, and vomiting. They may also picture someone who misses work due to drinking, becomes violent, or lies about how much alcohol they consume. 

All of these may indeed be signs of alcoholism, but in reality, the addiction is much more complex. Many people who abuse alcohol do not exhibit these classic signs but hide their addiction very well. They have successful careers. They seem fit and healthy. They’re considered good spouses, children, or parents. Yet, they are still addicts, with all the physical and mental risks associated with excessive drinking. Promises Ranch PA offers alcohol addiction rehab programs that can help to give your loved one a real chance at healing and recovery. Reach out to our team today at 717.969.9126 to learn more. 

What Is a Closet Alcoholic?

Secret alcoholics often hide their addictions very well. Even those closest to them don’t recognize how much they drink. They function adequately–even successfully–in society, lowering the possibility that they’ll receive help while increasing the risk of developing an alcohol-related disease. 

Here are a few signs that indicate you or your loved one may be a closet alcoholic:

  • You drink alone or in secret
  • You hide your drinking from others
  • You make excuses to drink
  • You feel guilty or ashamed about your drinking
  • Your alcohol use causes problems in your relationships or work life
  • You’ve tried to stop drinking but can’t
  • You experience withdrawal symptoms when you don’t drink

One of the most dangerous aspects of secret alcoholism is that often, there is no consideration that there is a problem. “Successfully” being a closet drinker often becomes a delicate balancing act. They drink enough to function and stave off withdrawal symptoms, reserving heavy drinking for times when you’re alone. Their tolerance for alcohol gives the illusion that they’re sober when they’re actually intoxicated. They will often resist any type of recommendation to enter an alcohol addiction program.

The Bitter Truth About Closet Drinkers

In truth, closet drinkers are not in control. They’re constantly pulled between intoxication and withdrawal symptoms. Their morning coffee contains a splash of alcohol. They may have secret alcohol stashes at home or even at work. And if someone notices any signs of excessive drinking, they’re quick to lie or misdirect concerns away from themselves. Consistent alcohol abuse causes a variety of symptoms that include:

  • Feeling the need to drink alone or in secret
  • Feeling guilty about drinking
  • Drinking to relieve boredom or stress
  • Experiencing blackouts or memory lapses as a result of drinking
  • Having problems at work, school, or home as a result of drinking
  • Continuing to drink even though it’s causing physical, social, or emotional problems

Secret drinkers may not meet the diagnostic criteria for alcoholism, which assumes alcoholism has a negative impact on relationships or careers. Fortunately, changes to diagnostic criteria are underway. Under the new criteria, problem drinking is seen as a spectrum rather than an all-or-nothing diagnosis. 

Are you a secret alcoholic? Now is the time to be honest and seek the help you need.

Face Secret Alcoholism and Experience Healing With Promises Ranch PA

If you are a closet alcoholic, it is crucial to seek help through substance abuse treatment programs. This is because you may be at risk of developing more serious health problems if you do not get help. Additionally, substance abuse treatment programs can provide the tools and support you need to stay sober. Promises Ranch can offer the professionally-guided treatment and support you need to recover. Reach out to our team of experts today at 717.969.9126

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