Sign of Alcoholism

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited: JUNE  06 , 
| 4 Sources

Of course, the most obvious sign of alcoholism is drinking too much. But how much is too much? You may be wondering what are some signs of alcoholism in yourself. You may also be looking for alcoholism signs in a friend or family member. We’ll tell you some things to watch out for and here is a simple test.

Of course, many people use alcohol socially or occasionally, and there is a big difference between that and being an alcoholic. Drinking becomes a problem – and possibly a disease – when it begins to interfere with a happy and productive life.

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is the excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages. It is a disease that develops over time, and it can cause severe damage to multiple organs within your body. Alcoholism has been linked to cancers, heart problems, liver failure, mental illness, and even death.

The good news is that alcoholism IS treatable. If you have developed a dependency on alcohol and notice some of the warning signs of alcoholism in yourself or a loved one, please get help before it's too late!

Is It Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is not always easy to see. Alcoholism is a complex disease, and many things contribute to it. Drinking patterns change over time in response to changes in moods, jobs, relationships, environment, and age.

The signs of alcoholism also vary with the person who has the disease. Therefore, forget about any idea that you can decide once and for all whether your drinking is normal or unusual and just stick to your usual way of doing things. Instead, think about how you act when you drink.

  • Do you seem to lose control? 
  • Does being drunk give you more confidence than usual? 
  • Do you feel a special pressure from within yourself to drink? 
  • Do you ever feel guilty about drinking? 
  • Does drinking take up more and more of your time, or does it interfere with taking care of your responsibilities at home, work, or school? 
  • Finally, do you ever try to quit or cut down on your drinking? Did you try in the past without success?

If you are experiencing any of these problems, then perhaps it would be wise for you to think about what is alcoholism. The first step toward recovery from any disease is acceptance of that fact and recognition that some help may be needed. A good treatment center will provide you with the help that you need to overcome alcoholism.

Many people who drink a lot continue to work and support their families and live active lives in the community. However, it is important to realize that even moderate drinking can cause problems in daily functioning.

It can lead to accidents while driving; fights and arguments; poor job performance; and memory lapses or blackouts, when the drinker does not remember what happened during parts of an evening, such as from dinner until waking up the next morning.

Alcoholism can interfere with your ability to be effective on the job or at school, or get along well in personal relationships. It can take away your self-respect; make you feel guilty about your behavior toward yourself.

So What Are Some Signs of Alcoholism?

  • One sign of alcoholism is drinking to the point that it interferes with relationships with your family and friends. You may spend more and more time with associates who drink, or choose to drink instead of spending time with family and friends. You may avoid social situations where there will be no alcohol served.
  • Becoming angry or defensive when questioned about your alcohol use is another sign of alcoholism. Drinking in secret, hiding alcohol or empty bottles, or lying about your drinking is a sign of a drinking problem.
  • Becoming anxious about the idea of not having access to alcohol, for instance, worrying about running out of alcohol over a weekend or holiday, is an indication of an alcohol problem.
  • What are some signs of alcoholism in regard to career? Drinking to the point that it interferes with your job, such as missing work due to hangovers or going to work drunk, is yet another indicator that you have a drinking problem. The same applies to school, if you are a student. If you miss school or do poorly in school because of drinking, you have a problem.
  • Legal problems, such as DWI (driving while intoxicated) or assaults while under the influence, are also alcoholism signs. This is especially true if you are a repeat offender. It’s a sign that you are not in control of your alcohol consumption.
  • If you find yourself needing to drink more and more alcohol in order to achieve the same effects, that is a sign that you are developing tolerance and is an indication of alcoholism.
  • Yet another sign of alcoholism is health problems related to alcohol use, such as pancreatitis or liver disease. Social drinkers don’t experience alcohol-related health problems. You should know that many of the health problems caused by alcohol take some time to develop, so they are an indication that a person has been drinking heavily for some time.
  • Wondering if you have an alcohol problem is a sign that there may indeed be a problem. If you are concerned about your drinking, you should talk to a professional about it. If you’re asking what are some signs of alcoholism in yourself, then you need to be evaluated by a professional.

Diagnosing Alcoholism

Just because you have one sign of alcoholism does not necessarily mean you are an alcoholic. You should, however, be evaluated by a healthcare professional who is qualified to make a diagnosis of alcoholism, if appropriate, and make treatment recommendations as needed.

If you recognize some of these alcoholism signs in someone you care about, you can encourage them to arrange for a professional evaluation. You can even show them this article. It can sometimes be difficult, however, to convince alcoholics to seek help. In the end, they must be responsible for their own behavior.

Risks of Alcoholism

 Alcoholism can cause harm to every organ in your body. It damages your liver, pancreas, brain and the rest of your nervous system. In addition, it increases your chances of developing certain cancers such as breast cancer or esophageal cancer from alcohol-associated cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, mouth and throat cancers from chronic alcohol use that reduces saliva flow and results in a higher incidence of oral infections.

 The symptoms associated with alcoholism depend on the extent of tissue damage caused by heavy drinking over time. Alcoholism may be a silent disease for years until internal organs are damaged to an extent when they can no longer effectively function. When you drink excessively over time, your body is literally poisoned.

 You may have heard that alcoholics are broken down physically and that they're living at death's door. That's an accurate picture of their physical condition-alcoholism is a serious disease that kills people prematurely. It causes many cancers, such as cancer of the esophagus, liver, colon, rectum, and breast (in women).

Hopefully we have answered your questions about what are some signs of alcoholism. Feel free to email us if you have additional questions, or you can talk to your healthcare provider for more individualized information.

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

More sign of alcoholism on our alcoholism signs page

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