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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. 

How to Avoid 7 Common Relapse Triggers

Relapse is one of the most common factors in the recovery journey. Since every case is different, it’s important to remember that relapse can happen to anyone and it only means that you’re still learning. The emotional and psychological tug of war that relapse brings can initiate feelings of hopelessness after the hard work is done. Relapse commonly presents triggers that send the brain back into the established patterns of addiction

Relapse triggers can come in many forms. Something to keep in mind is that relapse comes in stages and it’s crucial to pinpoint where you are to make a change. For example, the waves of wanting to escape boredom can manifest as a relapse trigger. Hanging out with the people you used to can spark addiction triggers. Keeping a plan in mind is one of the tools you can use to continue your healing.

What Are The 7 Common Relapse Triggers?

Relapse is best described as returned use to an addictive substance or behavior after going through the process of recovery. Relapse is when a person makes a conscious decision to use while a freelapse is when they unknowingly take an addictive substance. Usually, the person is struggling to prioritize their recovery after treatment.

Boredom

Boredom is a key factor in determining how successful a person in recovery handles their new coping skills. In the absence of structure, you might have difficulty filling in the time that would’ve been used for substances or compulsive behaviors. It’s important to find a hobby or seek education to keep these addiction triggers from haunting you. Boredom can increase the dream factor of reminiscing of using or experiences to escape from the struggles of life. Always reach out to your support system if you find yourself battling these urges.

Times of Celebration or Professional Success

Surprisingly, celebrations and professional success can serve as a double-edged sword when it comes to relapse triggers. Parties and other celebrations typically create an environment for alcohol and other substances. A key technique would be to have a trusted friend accompany you to provide support on this journey. These moments should be appreciated and don’t have to be an obstacle through responsible action.

Isolation

Isolation can breed relapse triggers by preventing you from seeing your thoughts objectively. There’s a storm brewing inside your head, with feelings of emptiness, guilt, shame, and hunger. Isolation is one of those addiction triggers that prevent you from creating genuine connections to others. Being present in the moment and seeking relationships outside of use can be beneficial for your development.

Stress/Relationship Difficulties

The challenge of reentering the world after completing treatment can be difficult for some. Stress is a dominating factor in relapse and how the person relies on old behaviors to cope. The end of a difficult day can produce some of these dormant feelings but it’s important to be mindful of how you act. It’s normal to feel urges to escape but it’s noted that relapse occurs in stages that end in the physical. 

The conflict within relationships can serve a buffet of various emotions, promoting anxiety by the uncertainty of life. Relationships (romantic or otherwise) within recovery pose unique obstacles, so it’s significant to preserve compassion for yourself as you adapt. Reaching out to a sponsor or loved one can help process your feelings to seek a better understanding of how to navigate these issues.

Untreated or Undiagnosed Mental Illness

There’s an overwhelming majority of people struggling with substance use and mental health disorders. Even after treatment for substance use, it’s important to focus on the mental components of recovery such as counseling and self-care. Recovery is a lifelong practice in order to alleviate cravings and temptations. People often self-medicate for their mental health disorders, which can increase the possibility of relapse.

Access

If you find yourself in the same non-sober environments and spending time with people who use easily sets up the course for relapse. For example, a fully stocked minibar shouldn’t be in the presence of someone struggling with addiction. It’s important for your support system to ensure that your environment is suited for recovery by eliminating relapse triggers. Revisiting these addiction triggers reintroduces the same negative feelings that break down your resolve.

Times When You Need to H.A.L.T.

HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired) works as a diagnostic to decide how you feel in order to prevent relapse. Any of these feelings can brew addiction triggers and it’s crucial to be mindful of your emotional/physical state. Hunger is a potential addiction trigger, so it would help to find a trusted person to eat with. Anger is a common emotion we all experience. To manage anger, it’s important to see what triggers it and what you can control. 

Loneliness can prey on you in the most intimate moments, those moments of silence and your thoughts. Remember to reach out to someone if you feel overwhelmed. Tiredness can have draining effects on the mind and body. By assuring your meeting your physical and mental needs through exercise and self-care, you will have a better chance of functioning.

How Can You Avoid Them and Prevent Relapse? 

It’s important to remember that relapse is not a sudden incident that falls from the sky. Generally, the more of these factors begin to pile up, the chance of relapse increases. Multiple studies have recognized that about 50% of relapses happen within the first 12 weeks after intensive treatment. Taking course over a few days to months, a relapse will develop in three stages:

What Is the Emotional Relapse Stage?

This would be considered the first phase of relapse. You might be experiencing different emotions at once after recovery and have difficulty coping with them. Isolating and suppressing emotions are some of the common ways people will cope. The subconscious desire to escape serves as a relapse trigger by laying a foundation. You might not show up to meetings and tend to focus on the problems of others. The longing to use again creeps in the shadows of your mind. Recognizing denial through self-care would be a productive way to manage these feelings.

How Do I Know If I’m in the Mental Relapse Stage?

The mental stage of relapse is best described as the awareness of conflict revolving around sobriety. Maintaining sobriety is a fight of endurance and skill. You might be grappling intense cravings and battling thoughts that could send you over the deep end. The danger of romanticism plays a role, as daydreaming of previous experiences fills you up. These relapse triggers can come in the form of remembering early days of use. You could begin to rationalize a lapse by minimizing the consequences of “just using this one time”. 

Am I In the Physical Relapse Stage?

The physical relapse stage is noted as the final stage of relapse. Typically at this point, you might find yourself surrounded by addiction triggers and your resolve has lessened. If you struggle with addiction, you might find it challenging to pace yourself and end up diving deeper. This could start as one drink or starting to place small bets to give you that quick escape. The thoughts and cravings have been clouding your mind and it was only a matter of time.

What Happens If I Do Relapse?

Roughly 60% of people in recovery will relapse. It might feel as though the fight is over and there is nothing worth coming back to. This is far from the truth and it should be reiterated that this fight doesn’t have to be a lonesome one. Since there isn’t an overall relapse prevention program, seeking guidance from your support system and counselor would be the next step to see where you can improve. Updating your relapse prevention plan would serve as a great alternative to what you could be experiencing. By working on prevention, it would better suit you to seek alternatives that might function better to your needs.

What Is a Relapse Prevention Plan?

A relapse prevention plan is a set of guidelines to monitor your triggers and outline ways for you to maintain sobriety. A relapse prevention plan can be effective to prevent triggers that cause addiction on a specific basis. A recovering person should brainstorm scenarios and situations that could initiate relapse triggers. It is important to act out these circumstances to have a practical understanding of how to deal when it comes to acting. Relapse prevention is characterized by monitoring, medications, along with therapy/skill development.

What Treatment Options Are Available?

Rehabilitation is still an option if you feel as though your journey requires more attention. The highlight would have to be therapy and alternative treatment options tailor to this period. An outpatient treatment program might be geared for your needs if this was a singular incident, but it’s important to be honest with yourself. Maintaining a structured schedule and relationships with your support system will be an entry point. 

Ask for Help with Intrepid Detox

Over at Intrepid Detox, we understand that relapse is another obstacle to overcome in the fight against addiction. Self-compassion is necessary to deal with the effects of shame, guilt, and fear from relapse. Seeking treatment should be reliable and transparent to meet your needs. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, feel free to contact us to begin your recovery.