Alcoholism Warning Signs

Alcoholism Warning Signs and Symptoms

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. 

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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

Alcoholism home page

Source: American Council on Alcoholism