Ten Warning Signs of Alcoholism

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited:  JANUARY 16 ,
| 3 Sources

Here are ten warning signs of alcoholism to watch out for. If you notice these signs in yourself or in a loved one, it’s time to get professional help.

1. Withdrawing from family and friends.

The alcoholic may become annoyed when family and friends express concern or disapproval about the amount of alcohol they consume. They may get into frequent arguments with friends or family members.

Alcoholics also begin to spend more time drinking and less time socializing with friends. When they do socialize with others, they tend to socialize with other drinkers. But they often drink alone and in secret. They plan their recreational time around drinking, and spend less time with family and friends.

2. Lying about how much they drink.

Lying about how much they drink is a common sign of an alcoholic. Alcoholics will often drink in secret, and lie about how much they consume. They are aware that they are drinking more than is socially acceptable and that they may be drinking too much, but are unable to help themselves.

3. Drinking to “get going” in the morning.

This is a sure fire sign of an alcoholic. It is one of the most important of the ten warning signs of alcoholism. If someone needs a drink to “get going” in the morning, or if they need a drink to make it through the day, they have a definite drinking problem.

4. Drinking to calm down.

This is another important one of the alcoholism 10 signs. If a person needs a drink to calm down or deal with stress, they definitely have a drinking problem.

5. Problems at work or school.

Another of the alcoholism 10 signs is problems at work or school due to drinking. The alcoholic may be late to work or may miss work altogether. And the alcoholic continues this behavior even though they know they are putting their job in jeopardy. They may end up losing their job. They may have difficulty maintaining stable employment.

6. Doing things they regret while drinking.

Yet another of the ten warning signs of alcoholism is doing things they regret while drinking. Alcohol lowers inhibitions, so people may do things when intoxicated that they would not do when sober.

7. Getting in fights while drinking.

Getting in fights or displaying violent behavior while drinking is another of the alcoholism 10 signs. Not all alcoholics are violent, but there are behavior changes associated with alcohol use.


8. Engaging in risky behavior while drunk.

Alcoholics may not realize how impaired they are and may engage in risky behavior while drunk, like driving a car, operating heavy machinery, or swimming. They may also have accidents while under the influence, such as falling.

9. Developing physical tolerance.

Another of the ten warning signs of alcoholism is needing more and more alcohol to get the same effect. Alcoholics can consume large quantities of alcohol without appearing drunk. And in order to get a “buzz,” they have to drink more and more alcohol. That’s because they’ve developed a tolerance to alcohol.

10. Having “blackouts” while drinking.

This may be the most serious of all the ten warning signs of alcoholism. Usually only serious alcoholics have “blackouts,” times when they do or say things while intoxicated that they do not recall later on once they sober up.

Not every alcoholic will have all of these alcoholism 10 signs, but if a person has even one of them, it is a sign that they have a drinking problem. They should get an assessment by a professional to see if they need treatment for alcoholism. 

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 than ten warning signs of alcoholism on our main alcoholism signs page

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