Why Is My Loved One Hiding Alcohol? Signs & Causes

Sometimes, the signs someone is struggling with alcohol are not as evident as you think, especially if they are going to great lengths to hide their drinking. People who abuse alcohol can be very good at concealing the amount of alcohol they are consuming. So, it can be challenging to know if someone has a problem.

Covering up alcohol use doesn’t automatically mean someone is abusing alcohol. Some people hide alcohol use because there is a social stigma associated with drinking — especially for women. In most cases, hiding alcohol is a good indicator that someone needs addiction treatment.

This article explains key indicators that your loved one is hiding alcohol, common signs of alcoholism, and the most effective alcohol addiction treatment methods.

8 Signs Your Loved One Is Hiding Alcohol

Typically, people who hide their drinking habits have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Hiding alcohol consumption can fall under two alcohol use disorder criteria: “continued use of the substance despite it causing significant social or interpersonal problems” and “consuming the substance in larger amounts and for a longer period than intended.”

Some of the most common signs of secret drinking include:

  1. Mood swings and irritability
  2. Making excuses to drink
  3. Choosing drinking over other obligations
  4. Drinking alone
  5. Attempting to mask the scent of alcohol
  6. Suddenly losing or gaining weight
  7. Covering up alcohol use
  8. Increased isolation from family and friends
alcoholic hiding his alcohol drinking from his family

Alcoholism is an isolating disease. Friends, family members, and coworkers might not notice something has changed, and the drinker could be in denial, embarrassed, or scared to lose their career. If you suspect your loved one has a problem, it’s important to remain non-judgemental to help them overcome their issues. Hiding alcohol may be a significant sign of addiction, or your loved one’s drinking patterns are becoming problematic. If you’re noticing several signs of secretive drinking, look into professional alcohol addiction treatment centers and ask your loved one if they would consider treatment.

What Are Some Of The Most Common Signs of Alcoholism?

Alcohol use disorder affects millions of people and their families across the US. While you might be familiar with some of the signs of alcohol abuse, others are more difficult to identify. The severity of abuse may also affect which warning signs are present. Less severe cases of alcohol abuse often go unnoticed. However, alcoholism is a progressive disease and gets worse over time. Some signs you or your loved one may be drinking too much include:

  1. Lying about the amount they drink
  2. Drinking heavily alone
  3. Drinking to the point of blacking out
  4. Staying away from gatherings where alcohol will be present
  5. Frequent absence from work due to hangovers
  6. Increased spending and problems with finances
  7. Heightened stress and anxiety
  8. Having a drink first thing in the morning
  9. Experiencing legal problems because of drinking

Not every problematic drinker exhibits all of these signs. However, becoming more aware of potential signs of trouble can help you identify when to get help.

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Who’s More At Risk For Hiding Alcohol

There is no definitive way to determine who will develop a problem with alcohol. However, several factors increase the likelihood of substance abuse problems:

  • History of trauma
  • Chronic stress
  • Mental illness
  • Early experimentation with alcohol
stress can lead to alcohol abuse

Why Do People Use Alcohol As A Coping Mechanism?

Some people use alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with the stress of daily life. People use it to celebrate or to escape from reality and become less present during times of difficulty. People may also drink alcohol to deal with boredom or help them fall asleep. Those who have experienced a traumatic event and are diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder also have higher rates of alcohol or substance use disorders.

Because alcohol slows down the nervous system, it creates feelings of relaxation and reduces inhibition and memory. These qualities make alcohol an effective way to help some people forget about the stress or challenges they may be facing. However, avoiding life’s challenges by reaching for the bottle is an unhealthy coping mechanism and can signify the beginning of problematic drinking.

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What Are Some Forms of Treatment for Alcoholism?

People from all walks of life use alcohol to cope. Those who have a family history of alcohol abuse may also be more likely to drink. If someone does not have healthy coping skills, they may turn to problematic drinking to help them deal with challenging times. Unfortunately, a lack of appropriate coping mechanisms and an increase in drinking can lead to mental illness, including anxiety and depression. There are several treatment services available for those considering rehabilitation for alcoholism.

Medical Detox For Alcohol Withdrawal

Some people are nervous about quitting drinking because they are worried about potential withdrawal symptoms. Medical detoxification is necessary for individuals with moderate to severe forms of alcohol abuse. While minor symptoms of alcohol detox include anxiety, sweating, and nausea, more severe forms can cause tremors, seizures, and delirium tremens. Because some symptoms of withdrawal are life-threatening, medical detox is often necessary, especially for those with a history of lung or heart disease. During medical detox, your treatment specialist will monitor your heart rate and blood pressure and administer medications if necessary. Alcohol detox usually lasts for several days until symptoms resolve.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

Partial hospitalization programs are structured programs featuring services in a hospital setting several days per week. Services include group counseling, individualized therapy, and skill-building programs. These programs help clients establish a daily routine and enhance their cognitive and behavioral skills. The goal is to facilitate a healthy transition for clients while building their self-esteem so they can prepare for the challenges they face when returning to their homes and jobs. Upon completing this program, the treatment team and the client design an aftercare plan to keep them on the right track as they progress.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)

Intensive outpatient programs are suitable for those who have finished the detox and withdrawal process and do not need the heightened level of supervision partial hospitalization programs provide. They are also an option for those who still must fulfill their family and work obligations and individuals with a strong support structure at home. These programs are suitable for mild to moderate cases of addiction. This treatment is tailored for each client and consists of therapy, groups, and courses designed to help you develop good social and coping skills.

Residential Treatment Facilities (Inpatient)

Residential treatment facilities are inpatient programs beneficial for those struggling with severe alcoholism, mental illness, or both. They provide clients with continuing care options once they leave to help them maintain long-term sobriety. Clients reside at these facilities, where they receive structured, scheduled counseling and therapy sessions and participate in other activities under the supervision of their care coordinators. Because these programs are structured and secure, clients can focus on learning how to live a sober lifestyle while addressing any underlying issues leading to their alcohol abuse.

mindfulness is a great counter to substance abuse

Holistic Healing Methods

Holistic approaches to treating addiction are very effective when paired with traditional forms of treatment. Holistic treatments can strengthen your ability to stay sober while reducing cravings and building your self-confidence. Some holistic approaches used in conjunction with traditional treatment include:

Holistic therapies work by restoring the balance between the mind and body. They help clients become more aware of their feelings, thoughts, and actions so they can create healthier ways to cope.

Behavioral Therapy

Several forms of behavioral therapy are helpful for substance abuse treatment, including alcoholism. Some of the most successful forms include cognitive behavioral therapy, contingency management therapy, couples, and family therapy, and motivational interviewing.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) aims to identify and replace negative thoughts and behaviors with positive ones. This solution-oriented approach focuses on constructive actions and creating strategies to stop drinking.
  • Contingency management therapy for substance abuse can include random breathalyzer tests, voucher-based reinforcement, and incentives to stay sober. Alcohol misuse may cause shifts within the family dynamic.
  • Couples and family therapy address not only the impact of alcohol abuse on the family unit but also other issues within the family.
  • Motivational interviewing is a popular technique for addressing alcoholism since many people feel powerless against their addiction. During motivational interviewing, a therapist encourages and strengthens the client’s determination to create positive life changes. This approach is often used in addition to other forms of therapy.

Aftercare and Long-Term Alcohol Recovery Support

Transitioning from a rehabilitation facility back to a home setting has many challenges. Recovery is a lifelong process, and rehabilitation is only the first step. A long-term aftercare plan can help you maintain focus recovery through support groups, private therapy practices, sober living homes, and local resources like Alcoholics Anonymous and community events. Life after completing a rehabilitation program can feel overwhelming. Sticking to an aftercare plan and tending to your emotional and physical well-being increases your chances of staying sober and prepares you for risky situations that could lead to relapse.

Are You Covered For Treatment?

Oasis Recovery Center partners with numerous private insurance providers. Our team is committed to assisting you in quickly and effortlessly verifying your insurance coverage for treatment.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment Near Boston, MA

If you or someone you know is hiding alcohol, contact East Coast Recovery Center in Cohasset, Massachusetts. Just outside Boston, our alcohol addiction treatment center is located next to Whitney and Thayer Woods, Sandy Beach, Minot Beach, Wompatuck State Park, and other serene locations. We’re far enough from Boston’s bars, clubs, and city life but close enough for clients to commute to the city for work and attend outpatient or PHP treatment. Call, email, or fill out an insurance verification form to get started on the path to wellness.

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