Alcoholism Warning Signs

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited : MARCH  23, 
2021 
| 1 Sources


An alcoholic experiences an uncontrollable, constant craving to drink, increasing alcohol tolerance and physical dependence on the drug. The following signs may help determine whether you or a loved one has indications of a serious problem with alcohol abuse or dependence.

According to the American Council on Alcoholism, these indicators may surface in the later stages of alcoholism and involve a combination of symptoms during different periods of time.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Consuming increasing quantities of alcohol, becoming intoxicated often, and spending a considerable amount of time overcoming hangovers.
  • Being preoccupied with drinking to the exclusion of other interests, activities and/or involvement with friends and loved ones.
  • Making and breaking promises to others to stop or moderate drinking habits.
  • Experiencing black outs, which are periods of time when there is no recall about what happened while drinking.
  • Having mood swings, episodes of irritability and other changes in personality.
  • Hiding or denying drinking, making excuses for drinking and/or refusing to admit to excessive drinking.
  • Drinking alone, in the morning or before a party.
  • Experiencing problems with school, work, family, marriage, and other relationships.
  • Losing interest in personal appearance or hygiene.
  • Suffering from declining (and potentially fatal) physical health.
  • Having several arrests for drunken driving or other alcohol-related incidents.

If you suspect a problem with drinking, seek immediate counsel from a qualified healthcare professional who can make a proper diagnosis and offer treatment options. 

For information on alcoholism treatment approaches, take a look at our treatment and types of therapy sections.

More alcoholism warning signs on our main alcoholism signs and symptoms page

Lead Writer/Reviewer : Kayla Loibl

Licensed Medical Health Professional 

I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LPC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. Read More

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Source: American Council on Alcoholism