Closet Alcoholic | What Is A Closet Alcoholic? (2022)

Someone who is hiding their alcohol abuse may be considered a closet alcoholic. A number of other factors may indicate a need for a substance abuse treatment program.

Closet Alcoholic | What Is A Closet Alcoholic? (1)

When the idea of an alcoholic comes to mind, the assumption may be a person that can’t hold a job, possibly divorced, and drinks all day. Or, someone who has lost everything due to alcoholism. However, not all alcoholics are the same.

People with an alcohol use disorder are everyday people, and their symptoms of alcoholism aren’t all the same.

Someone trying to hide their alcohol addiction is often referred to as a closet alcoholic or closet drinker. These individuals will go to great lengths to cover up alcohol consumption. They often engage in binge drinking or heavy drinking to hide their alcohol consumption.

Many high-functioning alcoholics will exhibit this type of behavior. High-functioning alcoholics typically do not meet the stereotype of an alcoholic, and appear to have their lives together. They may be well-educated, excel at their jobs, and have decent relationships. But functional alcoholics are struggling with alcohol addiction.

Whether the person is hiding their drinking because they are ashamed or because they don’t want to admit they have a problem, closet alcoholics try very hard to find ways to keep their addiction a secret.

Common Behaviors Of Closet Drinking

There are a few things people may do when trying to hide their alcohol consumption. If you or a loved one engage in some of the following behaviors, it may be a cause for concern.

Examples of closet drinking behaviors are:

(Video) Bob Breck, the closet alcoholic.

  • hiding empty bottles or cans either in the house, vehicle, or under things in the garbage can so others do not know how much alcohol has been consumed
  • drinking vodka instead of other alcoholic beverages because it is harder to detect due to lack of odor and it is also clear in color. Individuals might put vodka in their coffee, soda, or water bottles to conceal their consumption
  • disguising alcohol in containers that don’t resemble what they actually are, such as secret flasks, empty juice or sports drink containers, or similar containers
  • hiding bottles of alcohol in strange places like a work desk, the bathroom, in your car, closet, or any place other than where people would normally store alcohol for fear it might be taken or discovered
  • lying to friends, family members, or health care providers about drinking or how much they have had to drink
  • using mouthwash, frequently brushing their teeth, chewing gum, or consuming things to mask the alcohol on their breath
  • disappearing for long periods of time when hanging out with friends, family, or coworkers to go drink alcohol
  • drinking alone in their vehicle away from others for fear of someone seeing them
  • denying their drinking when confronted about it or even becoming agitated when confronted
  • being anxious or irritable about things that are not a big deal
  • hiding legal problems relating to alcohol, such as a DUI charge
  • not returning phone calls or text messages to family or friends due to alcohol consumption
  • lying about being sick instead of admitting a hangover
  • leaving work or functions outside of home early to go drink
  • getting to work late because they needed a drink beforehand
  • taking multiple bathroom breaks to sneak a drink

If you or a loved one display any of these drinking-related behaviors, it could mean you are suffering from alcohol addiction. It is not always easy to see or admit there is a problem.

Find the right treatment program for alcohol addiction today.

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Understanding these behaviors and recognizing them could help someone struggling with alcoholism get the addiction treatment services they need.

Warning Signs Of A Closet Alcoholic

When a person suspected of being a closet alcoholic exhibits some strange behaviors that don’t seem to have a cause or reason, it could indicate that the person is struggling to manage an alcohol use disorder that is spiraling out of control.

(Video) Trees

Observing a loved one who is simply not behaving as they normally do, acting more secretive, becoming agitated when drinking, being impulsive or having mood swings, these could all be signs that they are drinking more than they want anyone to know.

Additionally, if your loved one doesn’t seem to recall conversations with you or loses a period of time, they could be blacking out due to their excessive or consistent alcohol consumption over the course of a day.

Experiencing blackouts, especially when hiding your drinking from those around you, could indicate a closet drinking problem.

Becoming defensive when being questioned about any of the signs listed above is a good indication that there may be a problem with closet drinking or an alcohol addiction. Setting arbitrary rules about drinking or excuses that make their behaviors acceptable are also signs of a closet alcoholic.

Individuals who are struggling with a closet drinking problem are very much concerned with keeping up appearances, and maintaining that they have their drinking “under control” to anyone who asks.

They believe they are doing a good job of hiding their drinking. But hiding a progressive disease like addiction is harder than people think.

Defining Alcoholism

When a person is unable to control how much alcohol they are drinking, even when it is causing severe issues in their life, it is likely that they are struggling with an alcohol use disorder (AUD). The term alcohol use disorder (AUD) is now used as a replacement term for alcoholism.

(Video) 17 Signs Of A High Functioning Alcoholic

Some of these problems that a person with AUD might experience include health complications, relationship or home issues, getting in trouble with the law, or negative consequences at work.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism

When a person is concerned that they or a loved one may be struggling with alcohol addiction, understanding the signs and symptoms can be a helpful tool.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) outlines some specific criteria for an AUD. If you or a loved one meets two or three of these criteria, a mild AUD may be diagnosed, four or five would be considered a moderate AUD, and six or more indicates a severe AUD.

The symptoms of an AUD include:

  • drinking longer or more than intended
  • being unable to slow or stop drinking, even when it is desired
  • excess time is spent drinking or recovering from drinking
  • craving alcohol, a compulsion to drink
  • work, school, or home obligations are negatively affected by drinking
  • continuing to drink, in spite of the negative effects of alcohol
  • hobbies or important activities cease due to alcohol
  • drinking repeatedly in dangerous situations
  • drinking does not stop even though health and mental wellness are affected by drinking alcohol
  • tolerance
  • withdrawal symptoms

Treatment Options For Alcoholism

Hiding alcohol use is an indication of problematic drinking habits and potential alcohol addiction. It can be helpful to research treatment facilities that include detox, mental health services, substance abuse treatment and an aftercare program that includes outpatient services.

Reach out to an alcohol addiction specialist to seek help in finding a treatment program for you or your loved one. This step can be the one that starts the journey into sobriety. Contact us today.

Written by the Addiction Resource Editorial Staff

(Video) Signs Of A Functional Alcoholic

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.

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Home > Alcohol Abuse > What Is An Alcoholic? > What Is A Closet Alcoholic?

(Video) Tom: Downfall of a Functioning Alcoholic


What does closet drinker mean? ›

The defining characteristic of a closet alcoholic is that they seek to conceal their drinking addiction. Whether they do so out of shame or to prevent loved ones from worrying, the intent does not matter.

What are the 4 types of drinker? ›

There are four types of drinkers, each with different motivations, which include the social drinker, conformity drinker, enhancement drinker, and coping drinker. People consume alcohol for many different reasons.

What are the true signs of an alcoholic? ›

Experiencing cravings for alcohol when not drinking. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not drinking (e.g., cravings, sweating, shaking, and nausea) Facing problems at work, home, or school because of alcohol use. In reaction to the discomfort associated with withdrawal, having to drink to feel better.

What's classed as being an alcoholic? ›

What Is An Alcoholic? An alcoholic is known as someone who drinks alcohol beyond his or her ability to control it and is unable to stop consuming alcohol voluntarily. Most often this is coupled with being habitually intoxicated, daily drinking, and drinking larger quantities of alcohol than most.

What is toilet alcohol called? ›

What is toilet wine? Toilet wine is just another name for pruno, or prison wine. It's alcohol made by prisoners that is often hidden in toilet tanks.

How can you tell if someone is a secret drinker? ›

Signs of secret drinking
  1. Arguing more often. ...
  2. Lying and being deceitful. ...
  3. Making excuses. ...
  4. Lack of self-care. ...
  5. Masking the smell of alcohol. ...
  6. Hiding the amount they drink. ...
  7. Secreting bottles around the house. ...
  8. Avoiding close contact.
28 Dec 2021

What are the 3 types of alcoholic? ›

In chemistry, an alcohol exists when a hydroxyl group, a pair of oxygen and hydrogen atoms, replaces the hydrogen atom in a hydrocarbon. Alcohols bind with other atoms to create secondary alcohols. These secondary alcohols are the three types of alcohol that humans use every day: methanol, isopropanol, and ethanol.

What are the 3 stages of drinking? ›

There are 3 stages of alcoholism: early, middle, and end stages. If you are showing signs of alcoholism, as time passes, you become more dependent on alcohol and have a more challenging time quitting. Without a qualified alcohol detox program, it becomes nearly impossible to put down the alcohol for good.

What is a GREY area drinker? ›

Gray area drinkers do not have a physical dependency on alcohol; they drink because they want to, not to avoid withdrawal symptoms. They don't identify as having alcohol use disorder, so they wouldn't be comfortable in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, and they can stop anytime they want to.

What are the 4 levels of addiction? ›

There are four levels of addiction: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. We will discuss each level in-depth and provide tips for overcoming addiction. Most people who try drugs or engage in risky behaviors don't become addicted.

What is the first stage of becoming an alcoholic? ›

Stage #1: Occasional abuse and binge drinking

The first stage of alcoholism is a general experimentation with alcohol. These drinkers may be new to different forms of alcohol and likely to test their limits. This experimental stage is commonly seen in young adults.

How long are you considered an alcoholic? ›

Unwanted physical or mental effects from drinking

Usually this is based on behaviour over the last 12 months or more, but alcohol dependence could be diagnosed based on continuous daily (or almost daily) use of alcohol over a period of at least three months.

Does drinking everyday make you an alcoholic? ›

"While there are a number of variables, typically having a drink every night does not necessarily equate to alcohol use disorder, but it can increase the risk of developing alcohol-related health problems," Lawrence Weinstein, MD, Chief Medical Officer at American Addiction Centers tells WebMD Connect to Care.

Do you have to drink daily to be an alcoholic? ›

Yes, you can be an alcoholic or have a mild substance use disorder and not drink daily. There are different patterns of alcohol abuse. For example, if you are a functional alcoholic, while you might not drink every day, it could be to excess when you do drink.

What are 3 slang names for alcohol? ›

Some common street names and nicknames for alcohol include:
  • Booze.
  • Juice.
  • Giggle juice.
  • Joy juice.
  • Sauce.
  • Hard stuff: Alcohol with a high proof.
  • Moonshine: Homemade alcohol.
  • Hooch: Another term for moonshine.

What do you call a fake alcoholic drink? ›

Mocktails, an portmanteau for "mock cocktails", are festive, non-alcoholic party drinks. The word "mock" implies a facade of the alcoholic cocktail without any of the alcoholic content.

What is homemade alcohol in jail called? ›

Pruno, or prison wine, is an alcoholic beverage variously made from apples, oranges, fruit cocktail, fruit juices, hard candy, sugar, high fructose syrup, and possibly other ingredients, including crumbled bread.

Does alcohol show your true personality? ›

According to science, nope, it doesn't. One study published in Clinical Psychological Science found that, contrary to popular belief (and contrary to what we're probably all hoping to hear right about now), alcohol doesn't actually have the power to change your personality.

What is a mirror drinker? ›

Android and iPhone users with the “Drinking Mirror” app are able to upload or snap photos of themselves and enter information about their drinking habits. Once they do so, they will see how their faces might age if they continue to drink at their current rate.

How do you confront someone who is secretly drinking? ›

Let them know the effect their drinking is having on you.
  1. See how they feel about change. ...
  2. Plan and pick a good time. ...
  3. Avoid blame and accusations. ...
  4. Use examples to explain. ...
  5. Don't give mixed messages. ...
  6. Be prepared for resistance. ...
  7. Don't push the issue. ...
  8. Don't give up.

What are 3 characteristics of an alcoholic? ›

These traits are the emotional and behavioral changes that a person with an alcohol addiction exhibits.
Often someone who is abusing alcohol will also display the following signs and become:
  • Insecure.
  • Sensitive.
  • Impulsive.
  • Impatient.
  • Secretive.
  • Defensive.
  • Manipulative.
  • Easily aggravated.
21 Dec 2021

Which alcohol type is least harmful? ›

Red wine. When it comes to a healthier alcohol, red wine is top of the list. Red wine contains antioxidants, which can protect your cells from damage, and polyphenols, which can promote heart health. White wine and rose contain those too, just in smaller quantities.

What is the strongest alcohol? ›

Spirytus Stawski (96% Alcohol) This is the world's most strongest and potent liquor, that has a gentle smell and a mild taste. It is made using premium ethyl alcohol with a grain base.

Do alcoholics sleep a lot? ›

Sleep problems, which can have significant clinical and economic consequences, are more common among alcoholics than among nonalcoholics. During both drinking periods and withdrawal, alcoholics commonly experience problems falling asleep and decreased total sleep time. Other measures of sleep are also disturbed.

Which stage of alcoholism is the most difficult to recover from? ›

Late alcoholism, Stage 4, is the most difficult stage for most people to recover from. You or someone you love may have short periods of being sober, but stress will likely bring on drinking, getting in trouble, and feeling ashamed and guilty.

Can doctors tell if liver damage is caused by alcohol? ›

Alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD) is often first suspected when tests for other medical conditions show a damaged liver. This is because the condition causes few obvious symptoms in the early stages. If a doctor suspects ARLD, they'll usually arrange a blood test to check how well your liver is working.

What is a brunette alcohol? ›

Dry Vermouth, Port, Red, Water, Scotch Whisky, Lemon, Maraschino Berry.

What is a atypical drinker? ›

Atypical or binge drinker

These alcoholics can often abstain from drinking for substantial periods of time. However when they do decide to start drinking, it tends to be very intense and in great quantities to a problematic extent.

Can quitting alcohol cure anxiety? ›

It's true. Quitting alcohol, over time, can alleviate intense episodes of anxiety. It can also reduce the possibility of long-term anxiety disorders. Treatment options are available to address dual diagnosis care.

What are the 6 signs of addiction? ›

Signs someone else is addicted:
  • Changes in personality and behavior like a lack of motivation, irritability, and agitation.
  • Bloodshot eyes and frequent bloody noses.
  • Shakes, tremors, or slurred speech.
  • Change in their daily routines.
  • Lack of concern for personal hygiene.
  • Unusual need for money; financial problems.

What is the last stage of addiction? ›

Stage 4: Addiction

Once the final stage is reached, you have entered addiction and complete dependency upon the substance. It's no longer a question about whether or not you're addicted to drugs or alcohol.

What are 3 causes of addiction? ›

Factors such as peer pressure, physical and sexual abuse, early exposure to drugs, stress, and parental guidance can greatly affect a person's likelihood of drug use and addiction. Development. Genetic and environmental factors interact with critical developmental stages in a person's life to affect addiction risk.

Which profession has the most alcoholics? ›

Miners. According to SAMHSA's study, 17.5% of miners reported heavy alcohol use during the past month; this was the highest percentage of alcohol abuse among all industries studied. Most miners work long, irregular hours; the work is physically demanding, isolated, and dangerous.

What triggers alcoholism? ›

Alcohol intolerance occurs when your body doesn't have the proper enzymes to break down (metabolize) the toxins in alcohol. This is caused by inherited (genetic) traits most often found in Asians. Other ingredients commonly found in alcoholic beverages, especially in beer or wine, can cause intolerance reactions.

What is the number one reason for alcoholism? ›

Social Factors

Family plays the biggest role in a person's likelihood of developing alcoholism. Children who are exposed to alcohol abuse from an early age are more at risk of falling into a dangerous drinking pattern. Starting college or a new job can also make you more susceptible to alcoholism.

What are the five symptoms of an alcoholic? ›

Here are 6 Warning Signs of Alcoholism
  • Drinking Excessive Amounts of Alcohol. ...
  • Loss of Control While Drinking. ...
  • Persistent Alcohol Use Despite Awareness of Issues. ...
  • Loss of Time Spent on Alcohol-Related Activities. ...
  • Experiencing Withdrawal Symptoms. ...
  • Increased Alcohol Tolerance.

What is the most common age to become an alcoholic? ›

Functional alcoholics make up 19.4% of alcohol-dependent individuals. This group tends to be older, with an average age of 41 years. They also have a later age of first drinking (average of 19 years) and a later onset of alcohol dependence at an average of 37 years.

Do alcoholics age faster? ›

Alcohol can affect the way some vital organs work and make them age faster. While heavy drinkers are more likely to have cirrhosis (permanent damage to your liver), even moderate drinking can lead to problems like fatty liver disease.

What is the average lifespan of a drinker? ›

The teetotaler (0 drinks/week) and the excessive drinker (8+ drinks/week) were projected to live to 92 and 93 years old, respectively. The same person having one drink per week was projected to live to 94, and the moderate drinker (2-7 drinks/week) was projected to live 95 years.

How long can you survive being an alcoholic? ›

The conclusion of the study was that people who have to be hospitalized because of the negative health effects of their alcoholism typically have an average life expectancy of 47 to 53 years for men and 50 to 58 years for women.

What happens when you drink alcohol everyday? ›

Long-Term Health Risks. Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems including: High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems. Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, liver, colon, and rectum.

Can you drink a lot and not be an alcoholic? ›

In fact, 90 percent of those who drink too much aren't dependent on alcohol. But one in three adults drinks to excess, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "A lot of people mistakenly assume that people who drink too much are alcoholics," said study co-author Dr.

How much do alcoholics drink a day? ›

Alcoholics generally drink excessively, often much more than four drinks per day and in a manner they can't control.

Why do I want to drink every night? ›

If you feel that you need a drink every night or to get through a social event, stressful situation or personal struggle, and you have a compulsion to drink or constantly crave alcohol, maybe even daily, this could be a sign of psychological dependency.

What defines an alcoholic? ›

Alcoholism is defined by alcohol dependence, which is the body's physical inability to stop drinking and the presence of alcohol cravings.

What are the first signs of liver damage from alcohol? ›

What are the early signs of liver damage from alcohol?
  • swelling of your liver, which may lead to discomfort in the upper right side of your abdomen.
  • fatigue.
  • unexplained weight loss.
  • loss of appetite.
  • nausea and vomiting.
28 Aug 2020

Is 1 alcoholic drink a day OK? ›

To reduce the risk of alcohol-related harms, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink, or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men or 1 drink or less in a day for women, on days when alcohol is consumed.

What does the closet mean in slang? ›

Closeted and in the closet are metaphors for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people who have not disclosed their sexual orientation or gender identity and aspects thereof, including sexual identity and sexual behavior.

What are the types of drinker? ›

What Type of Drinker are You?
  • Social Drinker. The good news is you only drink when you're hanging out with friends. ...
  • Stress Drinker. Everyone gets stressed out sometimes. ...
  • Binge Drinker. ...
  • Self-Medication Drinker. ...
  • High-risk Drinker. ...
  • Drunkorexic. ...
  • Your Drinking Personality.
20 Jul 2021

What is a mirror drinker? ›

Android and iPhone users with the “Drinking Mirror” app are able to upload or snap photos of themselves and enter information about their drinking habits. Once they do so, they will see how their faces might age if they continue to drink at their current rate.

What is a person who drinks too much called? ›

drunkard. noun. someone who frequently drinks too much alcohol.

What is a closet personality? ›

Closet Personality No.

They can't get rid of anything for the sheer sentimental attachment of the piece of clothing or outfit. This person has a hard time letting things go. The problem with the Sentimentalist personality is they may be stuck in the past.

What does closet mean in America? ›

noun [ C ] us. /ˈklɑz·ɪt/ a small room or space in a wall where you can store things such as clothes, sheets, etc., often having a door so that it can be closed: a clothes/linen closet.

What do English people call closets? ›

In British English, cupboard refers to all kinds of furniture like this. In American English, → closet is usually used instead to refer to larger pieces of furniture. [...] A cupboard is a piece of furniture that has one or two doors , usually contains shelves , and is used to store things.

What are the 3 types of alcoholic? ›

In chemistry, an alcohol exists when a hydroxyl group, a pair of oxygen and hydrogen atoms, replaces the hydrogen atom in a hydrocarbon. Alcohols bind with other atoms to create secondary alcohols. These secondary alcohols are the three types of alcohol that humans use every day: methanol, isopropanol, and ethanol.

What are the 3 types of alcohol drinkers? ›

There are three main categories that users of alcohol fall into; social drinker, alcohol abuser or alcoholic.

What are the 3 stages of drinking? ›

There are 3 stages of alcoholism: early, middle, and end stages. If you are showing signs of alcoholism, as time passes, you become more dependent on alcohol and have a more challenging time quitting. Without a qualified alcohol detox program, it becomes nearly impossible to put down the alcohol for good.

What is a secret drinker? ›

What is Secret Drinking? Secret drinking is a common practice among alcoholics who have a high tolerance for alcohol. Because they have to drink more to get the desired effect from alcohol, they might secretly drink before an event; some even have a name for this — pregaming.

What is a dram drinker? ›

However, for most whisky drinkers, it's not a useful definition. It refers to one-eight of a fluid ounce, less than a teaspoon, or barely enough whisky to get the sides of your glass wet. If you're having even a modest whisky, you'd have 10 drams, and a cocktail might have as many as 16 drams.

What is a chain drinker? ›

New Word Suggestion. Like a smoker, someone that has one drink after another.


1. Tom MacDonald - BEST RAPPER EVER
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3. Xzibit- Alcoholic (uncensored, original version with lyrics)
4. A Day In The Life Of A Chronic Alcoholic
(Dr. Phil)
5. Is Vikkstar a closet Alcoholic?
6. Dying for a Drink: Alcoholic Needs Help to Get Sober
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