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Alcoholism and Divorce

At some point in their lives, more than one out of every 8 adults in the United States will have a problem with alcohol abuse or alcoholism. Problems with alcohol affect not only the health and wellbeing of alcohol abusers, but also the lives of their significant others, families, children, and friends. While many couples work to persevere through and overcome one spouse’s alcohol problem, often alcohol causes marriages and families to deteriorate.

Divorce is four times as likely when one spouse has an alcohol problem. Often, the other spouse works to hide the problem, taking over family obligations, pretending like the problem does not exist, and working to make sure that other people do not realize the dysfunctional state of the marriage. However, for the person with a drinking problem, the spouse’s own needs and the needs of the family unit always come in second place to the alcohol, which may ultimately lead to separation or divorce.

Problems Caused by Alcohol Abuse

There are two categories of severe alcohol problems: alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. Alcohol abuse refers to an excessive use of alcohol that interferes with a person’s everyday life as well as family and work obligations. Alcohol dependence is an even more debilitating condition, also known as alcoholism. Alcoholism can result in:

  • Withdrawal. Alcoholics may experience extreme withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, increased pulse, tremors, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, and even seizures. The symptoms may cause the alcoholic to drink even more to avoid them.
  • Changes in alcohol tolerance. Over time, alcoholics may need more alcohol in order to reach the same level of intoxication.
  • Loss of control. An alcoholic may consume more alcohol than planned, or may drink for a longer period of time than intended. They may spend a large amount of time each day drinking or recovering from drinking. Even if the alcoholic wants to, he or she may not be able to stop drinking or reduce the amount of alcohol consumed.
  • Lifestyle changes. An alcoholic may give up activities he or she formerly enjoyed and may neglect work or family obligations.
  • Refusing to seek help. Even if an alcoholic understands that the alcohol has caused problems or worsened them, he or she may still refuse to seek help.

Sadly, problems like this can wreak havoc on a marriage and family. If you or someone you know is suffering from his or her spouse’s addiction, you may want to discuss the situation with a knowledgeable Raleigh divorce lawyer.

Contact Us

The decision to divorce or separate from an alcoholic spouse is a difficult choice to make. To learn more about your divorce options, contact the Raleigh divorce lawyers from the Marshall & Taylor PLLC at (919) 833-1040.