Signs of an Alcoholic

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited : MARCH 21, 
| 3 Sources

There are many signs of an alcoholic. It is important to be aware of the signs of a drinking problem, because the earlier the problem is identified, the easier it will be to treat.

While some people are genetically predisposed to developing a drinking problem, anyone who drinks alcohol is at risk. It is important to drink responsibly.

It is recommended that women drink no more than one drink per day, and men drink no more than two drinks per day. One drink is defined as one 12-ounce beer, one 10-ounce wine cooler, one 5-ounce glass or wine, or one 1.5-ounce shot of hard liquor. You should know that some mixed drinks contain more than one serving or alcohol.

Never drink and drive. It takes at least one hour for each drink you have to leave your system. Don’t risk driving while under the influence. That is a sign of a drinking problem.

Some of the other signs of an alcoholic are as follows:

Social Problems

Alcoholics often have problems in their social lives. They become annoyed with family and friends who express concern or disapproval at the amount of alcohol they consume. They may withdraw from family and friends.

They begin to schedule their time around drinking. They plan recreational activities around drinking. They may spend time with questionable acquaintances. Activities they previously enjoyed lose their appeal as drinking becomes more important than any other activity.

Financial Problems

Other signs of a drinking problem include financial problems. A person with a drinking problem may have difficulty paying bills on time. They may miss work and have trouble maintaining steady employment. They may spend an inordinate amount of money on alcohol.

Physical Signs of an Alcoholic

There are physical signs of an alcoholic, as well. An alcoholic develops a tolerance to alcohol. They begin to need to drink more and more alcohol to get the same effect. They can consume large quantities of alcohol without appearing intoxicated.

They may have “blackouts,” times when they do or say things while intoxicated that they do not recall once they sober up.

Health Problems

Alcoholics often continue to drink even though they know that it is causing problems with their health. There are many health problems that can be caused by alcoholism, including liver disease, heart disease, and pancreatitis.

Nutritional deficiencies and sexual dysfunction may also occur. These health problems are signs of a drinking problem.

Legal Problems

Another sign of an alcoholic is legal problems due to drinking alcohol. The most common problem is driving while intoxicated. In many states, this results in jail time as well as loss of a driver’s license and hefty fines.

Other legal problems may result from breaking other traffic laws, getting into fights, or other disorderly conduct while intoxicated.

Do You Need Help?

If you or someone you know has signs of a drinking problem, you should seek help as soon as possible. The sooner you get help, the easier it will be to treat your condition. It can be difficult to recognize the signs of a drinking problem in yourself, because it is natural to want to deny the problem.

You should try to listen to friends and family when they express concern. You can seek a professional assessment to determine if you really have the signs of an alcoholic.

If you do have a drinking problem, it is important to get professional help. It is very difficult to kick the habit on your own. A professional counselor can assess you and recommend the best course of treatment for you. 

More signs of an alcoholic on our main alcoholism signs page

Alcoholism home 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