Signs of Alcoholism

The line between the many different levels and types of drinking can be very blurry, especially for the drinker themselves. In fact, even the closest family members can have a hard time identifying when it is that their loved one has reached the point that they require treatment to overcome alcoholism. Are you in the same position, wondering how you can tell if someone you love is in need of alcohol rehab? Do you suspect someone in your life is an alcoholic, but aren’t sure enough to say something?

A problem drinker who binges on alcohol, or regularly drinks to the point where it is impacting their life and the lives of others in a negative way, has an alcohol use disorder (AUD), more commonly referred to as alcoholism.

What is the difference between enjoying a drink now and then, and needing a drink now and then? How can you tell if someone has a safe and responsible relationship with alcohol, or if their relationship with alcohol is no longer under their control? When does “normal” drinking turn into a drinking problem, and, from there, develop into an issue of addiction?

Chances are good that if you’re reading this, you genuinely want to help, but may be afraid of what the outcome might be. You may even fear that the person doesn’t have a problem at all, and will never forgive you for suspecting they do. Let’s take a closer look at some of the common signs and symptoms of alcoholism to see if you notice familiar behaviors in the person for whom you’re concerned. Seeing the signs spelled out before you, and seeing how many apply to your loved one, can give you the certainty you need to take the next steps in helping them.

Signs of Alcoholism – Some Symptoms to Watch For

  • They drink more than they usually intend to
  • They lie to hide how often they drink, the quantity of alcohol they drink, or that they’re drinking at all, either going out to drink, or hiding bottles around the house or in the car
  • They require alcohol to relax, “think straight,” or function properly
  • They have tried to control their drinking, cut back on their drinking, or stop completely, but haven’t been able to
  • They frequently call in sick to work, show up looking haggard, or often seem ill without explanation
  • They no longer make time for the hobbies, interests, and regular activities they once enjoyed
  • They neglect their responsibilities at work, home or school, performing poorly, or not completing things at all
  • They cancel plans more often than usual, or insist that plans include alcohol
  • They engage in dangerous behavior, such as driving under the influence, or acting out in an erratic way
  • They have been arrested, pulled over, or had a run-in with law enforcement for driving while intoxicated, or for drunk and disorderly conduct
  • They prioritize getting drunk, by themselves or with friends, over spending quality time with friends and family
  • They get “blackout drunk” and don’t remember what they said or did when they were drunk
  • Their behavior changes when they drink. They may become more irritable, argumentative, or even violent, or they may experience volatile mood swings
  • They drink to excess even when it’s clearly inappropriate (e.g., holidays, public events, family gatherings, office functions, etc.)
  • Alcoholics who stop drinking will exhibit withdrawal signs, such as the shakes, sweating, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, moodiness, and agitation. These symptoms can start as early as the next morning or happen days later. People in severe withdrawal may even have hallucinations or seizures. Note: Alcohol withdrawal is a very serious condition, and it’s highly recommended that if you or a loved one are experiencing withdrawal that you seek medical attention immediately.

As long as this list may seem, there are many more signs to look for. But it only takes answering “yes” to any one of the above to indicate a potential alcohol problem. You know your loved one best, and any changes in their appearance, personality, or actions can be a clue that their drinking is out of control.

When someone has a substance abuse problem, they will likely try to hide it from those around them. Since alcohol is a legal drug, it may take longer to realize someone is a problem drinker or an alcoholic. People tend to make excuses when someone drinks too much, because it hits close to home.

Many of us have had a few too many drinks at least once in our lives, making some feel as though they’re being hypocritical in confronting someone else about how much or how often they drink. Just remember that this isn’t about putting yourself above anyone; this isn’t about judgement at all. This is about helping someone because you love them. This is about helping someone because they deserve help.

If you or someone you love is dealing with alcohol addiction, contact us now at 877-527-5963. Our caring, compassionate team of addiction professionals is ready and excited to help you on your journey to enduring sobriety.