Is My Dad an Alcoholic?

Is My Dad an Alcoholic?

The saying goes, “Like father like daughter” or “Like father like son”. But, maybe you do not want to turn out like your dad. Maybe watching him be consumed by drinking scared, frustrated, or confused you.

Having an alcoholic dad can have a significant impact on your life. Living with a dad that drinks too much can be emotionally, financially, and even physically challenging. In this article, we'll explore the signs of an alcoholic dad and discuss how you can provide support and help him on the path to recovery.

Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder

Before diving into the signs of alcoholism, it's essential to understand what alcohol use disorder entails. AUD is characterized by a strong craving for alcohol, physical and emotional dependence on alcohol, and the inability to control or stop drinking despite negative consequences.

Some common symptoms of AUD include…

  • sweating
  • rapid heartbeat
  • hand tremors
  • problems sleeping
  • nausea and vomiting
  • hallucinations
  • restlessness and agitation
  • anxiety
  • occasionally seizures

It's important to note that the effects of alcohol can vary from person to person and depend on factors such as the number of drinks consumed, frequency of alcohol consumption, age, general health, and family history.

Signs You have an Alcoholic Dad

Recognizing the signs of alcoholism in your father can help you understand his condition and provide the support he needs. Here are ten signs that may indicate your dad is struggling with alcohol use disorder:

1. Mood Swings and Anger Issues

One common sign of alcoholism is frequent mood swings and anger issues. Your dad may become defensive and combative when approached about his drinking. There may be an atmosphere of fear in your home due to his unpredictable behavior.

2. Prioritizing Drinking Over Other Activities

If your dad gives up on activities he used to enjoy or neglects important responsibilities in favor of drinking, it may be a sign that a he drinks too much. He may start making excuses for his drinking, such as blaming it on work-related stress.

3. Psychological Problems

Alcohol abuse can lead to the development of psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, and even suicidal feelings. Heavy drinking interferes with the brain's chemical balance, which can impact mental health and stability. It can also cause signs of psychosis and antisocial behavior.

4. Loss of Control Over Alcohol Consumption

Your dad may have an attachment to alcohol that has taken over his regular routine. Despite being aware of the adverse effects, he may struggle to control his alcohol consumption or to stop drinking altogether.

5. Withdrawal Symptoms

If your dad experiences withdrawal symptoms such as shakes, sweats, anxiety, and nausea when he stops drinking for a few days, it is a clear indication of alcohol addiction. These symptoms occur due to the body's dependence on alcohol.

6. Secretive Drinking

Alcoholics often prefer to drink alone and in secrecy. If your dad starts isolating himself and hides his drinking habits from others, it could be a sign that he is struggling with alcoholism.

7. Increasing Alcohol Intake

Drinking larger amounts of alcohol or needing more drinks to achieve the same effect as before are signs of tolerance and increased alcohol intake. A that dad that drinks too much may find that his usual number of drinks no longer has the desired effect.

8. Drinking at Inappropriate Times

Frequent consumption of alcohol at inappropriate times, for longer periods than intended, or in excessive amounts, can be indicative of alcoholism. Your dad may engage in binge drinking or continue drinking despite negative consequences.

9. Significant Weight Loss or Weight Gain

Alcoholics often prioritize drinking over their health, leading to significant weight loss or weight gain. Their excessive alcohol consumption can affect their appetite and overall well-being.

10. Isolation and Relationship Problems

Alcoholism can strain relationships and cause social isolation. A dad that drinks too much may face difficulties at home, work, or other commitments due to his drinking habits. He may isolate himself from family and friends to avoid confrontations or judgment.

Effects of Alcoholism on Children and Family

Alcoholism is known as a family disease because it affects not only the person with AUD but also everyone in the family unit. Growing up with an alcoholic dad can have a profound impact on children and the overall family dynamic. Children may experience emotional unavailability from their parents, disrupted emotional development, and an increased risk of alcohol use or abuse themselves.

How to Help Your Alcoholic Dad

Supporting your dad on his journey to recovery can be challenging but incredibly important. Here are some steps you can take to help your dad overcome alcoholism:

1. Initiate a Conversation

Choose a time when your dad is sober and have an open and honest conversation about your concerns. Express your love and concern for his well-being and provide specific examples of behaviors or incidents that have worried you. Emphasize that you are there to support him on his journey to recovery.

2. Set Boundaries

Make it clear that you will not enable or facilitate his drinking in any way. Establish boundaries, such as refusing to cover up for him or participate in activities that involve alcohol. While you cannot force him to seek treatment, you can provide a supportive environment that encourages positive change.

3. Seek Support from Others

Reach out to other family members, friends, or professionals who may be able to help convince your dad to seek treatment. Sometimes, hearing concerns from multiple sources can have a greater impact on someone struggling with alcoholism.

4. Find Support for Yourself

If you are a teenager or a young adult dealing with an alcoholic parent, it's essential to seek support for yourself. Speak to a trusted teacher, school counselor, doctor, therapist, or relative about your experience. They can provide guidance, understanding, and resources to help you cope with the challenges you may be facing.


Recognizing the signs of an alcoholic dad is the first step towards helping him overcome his struggles with alcohol use disorder. Remember, alcoholism is a treatable condition, and with the right support and resources, your dad can find a path to a healthier and happier life.


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