Do you suspect that a friend or family member has a problem with alcohol? 

Well, here’s the thing.

If you have this sneaking suspicion, there’s a good chance you’re right. It’s important to trust your intuition. And if your gut is telling you something is off, it’s for a reason. 

In this post, we’re going to help you uncover whether that reason is alcoholism.

Here are some hidden signs of alcoholism to notice in your loved ones.


If your loved one would rather spend a night in than going out with friends, there’s probably something going on beneath the surface. There’s no need for concern if it’s an occasional thing, but if this happens often, it could be the signal of a problem.

If social isolation is the only sign you’re seeing, the problem may not be alcoholism. Instead, it might be something like depression, social anxiety or drug abuse. Regardless of the cause, talk to your friend about what’s going on.

In the case of alcoholism, people often isolate themselves so they can drink without judgment.

Hiding alcohol

If you truly suspect that someone you love has a problem with alcohol, they may be hiding their drinking. This could result with you finding bottles in weird places. 

If someone is hiding alcohol around their home, it’s a sure sign they have a problem. They may or may not be an alcoholic, but this is definitely an indication that they need help. 

High tolerance

Let’s say you go out for drinks with friends. If one of them is struggling with alcoholism, they will likely drink more than the rest of you. And even if you all drink the same amount of alcohol, this person may not seem drunk while everyone else is.

High tolerance could be a natural phenomenon, but if you notice other signs, this person is probably drinking high quantities of alcohol often. 

Sneaking drinks

Unlike some drugs, alcohol consumption can be easy to detect. So if you’re hanging out with someone and they sneak a shot, it’s rather obvious. You can smell the alcohol on their breath long after they took a drink or you may notice their face looks a bit flushed.

Someone who is struggling with alcoholism may grab a shot at a restaurant on the way to the bar or from a mini liquor bottle while they’re in the bathroom.

This is a surefire sign that your loved one has a problem with alcohol. Because this isn’t something someone with a healthy relationship with alcohol would do.

Drinking during inappropriate situations

If your loved one has a problem with alcohol, he or she may recommend drinking at inappropriate times. They’re likely the ones to incorporate cocktails into children’s or work events, and they’ll also be the ones to take it to an extreme. 

Make sure to take notice of this person’s tendency to try and include alcohol with every activity. If you begin to see them do it more and more, it’s a good sign that they may be struggling with alcoholism.

Getting defensive about drinking

Someone who has a high-functioning alcoholic is very likely to get defensive around the topic of alcoholism. They may get angry and even suggest that you’re the one with the problem. 

A person who is addicted needs the alcohol on some level, so they will fight against anything that threatens their ability to drink. 

Has trouble stopping

If you go for a few drinks with your friend and he or she doesn’t seem to know when to stop, your friend may be an alcoholic. When someone is addicted to alcohol, they often drink in excess and/or binge drink. This goes hand-in-hand with having a high tolerance for alcohol, so if you know someone who exhibits both traits, they’re likely an alcoholic.

If someone you love is struggling with alcoholism, talk to them about getting help. They may get defensive, and it may take a while to get through, but it’s important to start the conversation. 

Even if they aren’t ready yet, they should know that they can come to you when they are ready. 

Article written by Trevor McDonald