7 Common Traits of an Alcoholic

7 Common Traits of an Alcoholic

Alcoholism is a chronic disease that has a severe negative impact on brain chemistry. Addiction, without help, can progress from a mild issue to uncontrollable abuse. Alcohol dependence can be both psychological and physical, leading to several financial, health, or relationship issues. Although an “alcoholic personality” is not a clinical term, many people who are suffering from alcoholism share personality traits that may be associated with addiction. 

If you or a loved one are suffering from alcoholism, Intrepid Detox offers the help you need. We provide addiction treatment to individuals from all walks of life. Learning about the following characteristics of an alcoholic may help you see early signs of addiction within your loved ones. 

Dealing with addiction is challenging. Catching it early can increase the chance of a positive outcome


Alcoholic Personality: Traits of An Alcoholic

Characteristics of an alcoholic can vary depending on the stage of alcoholism. Alcoholic personality traits can become apparent early and further develop as the person becomes a problematic drinker. Knowing the early signs of alcoholism can help you understand if you or your loved one needs mental health and substance abuse treatment

1. Persistent Focus on Alcohol 

Someone with a chemical dependence on alcohol will have a constant focus on alcohol or intoxication. One aspect of an alcoholic personality is the constant need to have plans based around alcohol. Someone displaying traits of an alcoholic may not attend an event if there is not any alcohol present. 

This individual may become anxious if their drink is not brought to them soon enough while out to dinner. Once addiction develops, it causes the individual to act in ways that may seem abnormal or unlike them. This is mainly because of addiction and how it can affect the brain and personality. 

2. Constantly Blaming Others

Out of all characteristics of an alcoholic personality, blaming others is one of the most prevalent. This behavior is not unique to alcohol only, as people addicted to other substances display similar behavior. This behavior is common among people with substance use disorders since their behavior is problematic, and they do not want to wear all of the blame. If their behavior were not damaging, they would not feel the need to blame others for the problems in their lives. 

Some individuals even blame their entire alcoholic personality on someone like their partner, boss, spouse, or alcoholic parent. To some, blaming others may seem like the path of least resistance so they will not have to deal with the consequences of their actions. But, realistically, constantly blaming others and making excuses are telltale characteristics of an alcoholic

3. Constantly Making Excuses

Excuses and blaming others are similar characteristics of an alcoholic since both behaviors spare the individual from any accountability associated with drinking. One overtly common excuse people use when drinking is stating that they have had a rough day at work. People struggling with alcohol use may use alcohol as a reward system after dealing with a difficult time at work or elsewhere. This behavior makes it easy for addiction to set in, developing problematic alcohol use to an even worse stage.

People with traits of an alcoholic will often find any excuse to start drinking. For example, someone may say they can’t watch sports without drinking beer or enjoy dinner each night with several glasses of wine. People struggling with alcohol use will tend to find any excuse to drink in any environment.

4. Uncontrollable Drinking

As addiction develops and progresses, it becomes overwhelmingly difficult for struggling people to control their drinking habits. Uncontrolled drinking is a very apparent alcoholic personality change, and it is often difficult to deal with or accept. Someone with uncontrollable drinking habits may constantly seem out of control, especially if they are your loved one. This is a sign of dependency and, at this stage, requires professional intervention. At this point, the urge to drink is not only physical but psychological, too. 

Once a person displays an alcoholic personality through uncontrolled drinking, it will be increasingly difficult for them to stop drinking. This trend may seem familiar. For example, this behavior could look like someone who always initially says they will have a couple of drinks but ends up having several. At this point, loved ones typically take notice and begin to reach out – attempting to help. 

5. Financial Difficulties

Financial struggles are another common alcoholic personality trait. To keep up with drinking habits, people tend to spend a substantial amount of money, whether it’s keeping liquor at home or buying it at the bar. The cost of alcohol can quickly add up, leading people to make bad financial decisions. 

These decisions tend to result in the person choosing to fuel their addiction instead of allocating their finances productively. Some people even begin working fewer hours or even quit their job altogether because of a problematic drinking habit. Alcoholism and compulsive behavior often go hand in hand, and when dealing with finances, it can be a dangerous combination. 

6. Shifting Priorities

When people’s drinking habits become an issue, you may notice them shifting around priorities in their life. Alcoholic personality changes, such as shifting priorities, may occur alongside financial difficulties. This is because the struggling individual begins to make things such as partying or drinking more of a priority than working or general productivity. Alcoholism can lead to job loss, relationship loss, neglect of family members, and more. 

Once alcoholism takes over, it is extremely difficult to maintain general life priorities. Minor examples might include no longer cleaning their home, or tending to hygiene, while major examples might include completely neglecting a child. 

After long-term alcohol use, people feel the need to consume alcohol just to feel normal and function. This can occur for several reasons, one being withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are challenging and uncomfortable to deal with, leading many to continue their inebriation to avoid feeling the effects of withdrawal. At this point, alcohol has completely taken over, and professional intervention and treatment are necessary and crucial.

7. Reckless Decision Making

Alcoholism and recklessness often progress simultaneously. Recklessness and dangerous decision-making are characteristics of an alcoholic that can lead to severe consequences including death. It is impossible for someone to make only good decisions, but it may be time to reflect on substance use when bad decision-making becomes a chronic issue. 

Alcoholism can make even the most mild-mannered individual act in uncharacteristic ways. Reckless behavior can include drinking and driving, dangerous or illegal activities, getting in fights, or going to work or school while intoxicated. Most of these behaviors endanger the struggling individual and the people around them as well. 

Alcoholism: How to Beat It? 

Alcoholism can seemingly alter a person’s personality. Addiction is a brain disease and can cause people to act in ways that may be hard to believe. Alcoholism can take a toll on almost every aspect of an individual’s life. Dealing with alcoholism in the family is challenging and uncomfortable. It is not easy to see a loved one make such consequential decisions. If your loved one is affected by addiction, there is a way out, and there is an answer. Intrepid Detox can provide all levels of care for anyone struggling with mental health and substance use disorders. 

Detox Program

Withdrawal symptoms can be extremely dangerous and even deadly in some circumstances. At Intrepid, we offer a state-of-the-art detoxification program that helps people get ready for treatment in a safe and comfortable environment. Our medically guided detox program ensures that each individual can withdrawal from substances in a manner that is not only safe but also guided and supported by medical professionals. 

After a successful detox, our clients move on to other levels of care depending on the severity of their addiction. 

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment, also known as residential rehabilitation, provides our clients with the highest level of care. Individuals in our inpatient program live at the facility and have access to support 24/7. This works well for people with severe addictions since the program is highly structured and monitored. Most inpatient programs last from 30 to 45 days. However, some can last much longer. Our inpatient program is individualized and is catered to each person, ensuring that they get the treatment that will work for them. 

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

About half of people in inpatient rehab programs have a dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis, also known as co-occurring disorders, refers to two or more mental disorders occurring simultaneously. In most cases, addiction and another mental disorder co-occur. For example,  depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress disorder may occur alongside addiction.

Dual diagnosis treatment treats each co-occurring disorder simultaneously. By doing so, our experienced addiction counselors can understand how each disorder plays into the other. It is not uncommon for someone to have an undiagnosed disorder with moderate to severe symptoms. Unfortunately, many people in this category turn to substances like alcohol to cope with their difficult symptoms. In dual diagnosis treatment, we get to the root causes of addiction and help heal the whole person from the ground up.

Get Help at Intrepid Detox

Characteristics of an alcoholic personality are sometimes easy to spot. Addiction is not something that should be tackled alone. If you or your loved one are battling addiction, the time to reach out for help is now. Our caring professionals are on this journey with you and want to do whatever they can to help you live a healthy and fulfilling life, free from addiction. Call us today. 

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