Alcoholic Behavior


Alcoholic behavior can range from the moderate to the severe. If drinking has become a problem that continues despite the development of social, legal, or health problems," it is considered alcohol abuse, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).





Here are some examples of behaviors inherent to alcohol abuse:

  • Failing to fulfill major work, school, or home responsibilities
  • Drinking in situations that are potentially dangerous, such as driving a car or operating heavy machinery
  • Experiencing repeated alcohol-related legal problems, such as being arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI)
  • Exhibiting continued drinking despite having relationship problems that are caused or made worse by drinking

If alcoholic abuse worsens, it progresses to alcohol dependence or alcoholism. NIH data show the disease is marked by the following mix of emotional, psychological, and physical symptoms.

  • Craving: a strong urge, or need, to drink
  • Loss of Control: not being able to stop drinking once drinking has begun
  • Physical Dependence: withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, shakiness, sweating, and anxiety after stopping drinking
  • Tolerance: the need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to get “high”

Risk Factors for Alcoholic Behavior

Not every problem drinker will become an alcoholic. Experts recommend that problem drinkers seek help before the drinking escalates into a level of addiction, leading to behaviors that can derail the life of the individual, his or her family, and society.

It’s important to know the risk factors for alcoholism:

  1. Alcoholism tends runs in families.
  2. If you socialize with people who drink, it’s that much easier to pick up the habit.
  3. More men than women develop the disease.
  4. The younger you begin drinking, the more at risk you are.
  5. Alcoholism is worst among young adults.

In fact, colleges across the country have become increasingly aware that a culture of drinking has developed on many campuses.

According to a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism fact sheet, the consequences of excessive drinking by college students are more significant, more destructive, and more costly than many parents realize. Drinking by college students aged 18 to 24 contributes to an estimated 1,700 student deaths, 599,000 injuries, and 97,000 cases of sexual assault or date rape each year.

Recognizing these alarming facts, along with the fact that people who begin drinking at a young age are more at risk, colleges are developing programs to address the growing problem.






More than alcoholic behavior on our alcoholism signs page

Alcoholism home page