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Is My Husband Alcoholic?

If your husband’s behavior has changed for no reason or he is unable to go for sustained periods without alcohol and frequently engages in heavy drinking, he might be suffering from an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

It’s not always easy to identify when someone is a problem drinker, as many people are high functioning. This means that they can continue their lives as usual. Your husband may also disguise his drinking habits and go to great lengths to deny and hide his substance abuse issues.

There are various warning signs to look out for when it comes to your spouse’s drinking habits and behavior. If your partner goes without alcohol, he may also exhibit withdrawal symptoms. Among many other things, withdrawal symptoms can indicate an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and an addiction.

Substance abuse treatment will help your husband improve his mental health, well-being, and life. Therapy and counseling will also help you talk things through in a safe and non-judgmental space.

Remember that self-care is essential. You shouldn’t neglect your mental health or needs, as having a spouse who has an AUD can take a toll on your health as well. You do not need to go through this time alone.

What Is Alcohol Use Disorder?

AUD is a term that describes mild to severe conditions related to unsafe alcohol use. Those with a mild AUD typically drink alcohol in an unsafe manner. For example, they may binge drink or use alcohol as a form of self-medication to cope with mental health disorders. People with mild alcohol use disorder may abuse alcohol but can quit drinking when they want to.

In contrast, a severe AUD involves an uncontrollable urge to continue drinking alcohol despite any consequences. Alcohol is an addictive substance, and those who have a severe AUD find themselves unable to function properly without it. Alcohol dependence becomes clear when someone tries to quit alcohol and experiences alcohol withdrawal.

The more alcohol your husband drinks, the more his body builds up a tolerance. This means that his body needs more of the substance to get the same effect. However, drinking heavily and binge drinking can put your husband in danger and increase his risk of developing an AUD.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of shame and stigma around alcohol addiction. Addiction is a disease and has a complex mixture of causes, such as genetics and environmental factors. It’s not your husband’s fault if he has an alcohol addiction. It’s important to work towards eradicating the misjudgments surrounding addiction, as shame often acts as a barrier to people reaching out for support.

What Are Some Signs That My Partner Has a Drinking Problem?

Spotting if your husband has a drinking problem isn’t always easy. Due to the shame and stigma surrounding addictions, many people go to great lengths to disguise their addiction. For example, your husband may hide alcohol bottles, make excuses, and engage in secretive behavior.

The first signs that determine if someone has a drinking problem often include drinking frequently and heavily. In some instances, your husband may drink when he feels stressed or low. You may also notice that your husband’s tolerance for alcohol increases.

Some other warning signs of alcohol abuse to look out for in your partner’s drinking habits include:

  • Withdrawing from responsibilities
  • Instability and mood swings
  • Neglecting personal hygiene and appearance
  • Overreacting and seeming overly defensive
  • Paranoia
  • Tiredness
  • Secretive behavior and lies
  • Seeming distracted
  • Making lots of little mistakes
  • Reduced self-control

How Can Substance Abuse Affect Intimate Relationships?

If your husband is struggling with substance abuse, it may sadly take a toll on your intimate relationship. Healthy relationships rely on trust, openness, and respect. Alcohol abuse often damages the fundamentals of a secure, functioning relationship and puts considerable pressure on the couple and their marital satisfaction.

Some of the ways substance abuse can affect your relationship include:

  • Breaking trust. The secrecy and deceit that are often involved in hiding an AUD can fracture the trust between two people. When trust is missing in a relationship, you may feel hurt, confused, and resentful toward your partner.
  • Financial issues. Substance abuse can lead to financial difficulties. Your husband may not be going to work, or he may be spending family income on their drinking problem. This can cause a lot of stress and worry.
  • Lack of intimacy. Intimacy, both sexual and emotional, are important for romantic relationships to thrive. Affection, physical intimacy, and care can all be affected by a spouse’s drinking problem.
  • Domestic violence. Intimate partner violence can be fuelled by a partner’s drinking problem, creating an environment of fear and control and having an enormous impact on the victim’s mental health.

If your partner has become dependent on alcohol, he will likely experience withdrawal symptoms when he doesn’t drink for a while. Being aware of these withdrawal symptoms will help you better understand whether your husband has substance abuse problems.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe. As it can be incredibly dangerous to quit cold turkey, professional treatment should be sought to help your husband recover.

Some of the withdrawal symptoms to look out for include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Digestive problems
  • Excessive sweating, especially at night
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Shaking
  • Insomnia

What Treatment Options Are Available for Alcohol Abuse?

Fortunately, treatment centers, such as our own, provide a safe medical detox for anyone hoping to quit alcohol. Treatment options include both inpatient and outpatient detox. Irrespective of the treatment option chosen, it’s vital to detox with a doctor’s support.

Addiction treatment involves tapering off alcohol slowly, as it can be life-threatening to stop drinking suddenly if the body and brain have become alcohol dependent. Treatment facilities allow your husband to break his physical addiction in a safe and comfortable environment, minimizing the risk of harm and relapse.

After detox, the following stage of recovery includes breaking the psychological dependence and understanding the causes of addiction. During this stage, your husband will attend therapy and support groups and create a sober support network to stay on track for a successful long-term recovery.

How Can Family Therapy Sessions Help?

Family therapy can be a great way to talk honestly and openly with your loved ones and begin to rebuild broken bonds. Alongside individual therapy, family therapy can help unpick the reasons behind an AUD and create a space to begin to fix the problems related to heavy drinking.

Though you may just want to attend family therapy with your husband, you can also involve other family members, such as children, so that everyone has a chance to explain how they feel.


To conclude, your husband will need medical and emotional support to stop drinking if he is dependent on alcohol. Although it can be confusing and difficult to tell if he has an alcohol use disorder, there are various signs to be aware of.

It’s never too early or late for your husband to start treatment. The many different treatment options available will ensure that he transitions into sobriety safely and effectively.

Seeking support for your own mental health and attending family therapy or couples therapy can help build up self-confidence you may have lost during this time and rebuild your relationship that may have become damaged due to your husband’s drinking addiction.

If you’d like to find out more about addiction treatment, please contact us today. We can offer you support and help you determine if your husband requires treatment for an alcohol use disorder.

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    3651 Canton Road,
    Marietta, GA 30066

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