Alcohol Addiction Indicators

Alcoholism, or alcohol dependence, is a progressive disease that becomes more severe over time.  While no two cases are exactly alike, many symptoms and indications of the disease occur across a broad spectrum:

  • Family history of alcohol abuse or alcoholism
  • Frequent intoxication
  •  Drinking before noon
  •  A decline in self-care or hygiene
  • Physical harm as a result of drinking (accidents or fights)
  • Drinking alone
  • The ability to consume a good deal of alcohol without getting intoxicated
  •  A preoccupation with drinking and alcohol
  • Suffering from blackouts or memory lapses while drinking
  • The use of alcohol to alter one’s mood
  •  Binge drinking (periodic, extreme overindulgence - consuming five or more standard drinks (male), or four or more drinks (female), on one occasion)
  • Hiding alcohol or sneaking drinks
  • Drinking prior to events or social gatherings where alcohol will be served
  • Job losses or complaints by employers regarding one’s drinking
  • Relationship or marital problems as a result of too much drinking
  •  Friends, relatives or co-workers complain about problem drinking incidents
  • Alcohol related arrests: public intoxication, DUI, lewd behavior, altercations
  • Behavioral changes while intoxicated: anger, sexual promiscuity, rash acts
  • Feeling remorseful of or humiliated by behavior subsequent to drinking
  • Social rejection or loss of friendship as a result of one’s drinking
  • Neglect of other activities
  • Drinking and driving or drinking in dangerous situations

While the above are signs of alcohol abuse, a diagnosis of alcoholism necessitates an additional characterization of a physical dependency on alcohol.  The most common physical signs of alcoholism are as follows:

  • Increased alcohol tolerance: more and more alcohol is needed to feel its effects
  •  Attempts at quitting are met with failure
  • Loss of control (can not control the amount of alcohol consumed at any give time)
  •  Alcohol consumption or other drugs are required to avoid withdrawal symptoms (nausea, shakiness, anxiety, sweating, and, with more severe cases, seizures, delirium or hallucinations)
  • Craving for alcohol that can contribute to relapse if one attempts to abstain

While no medical cure is available, alcoholism is a treatable disease and many treatment programs and approaches are available to support alcoholics.

QUESTION: What are the warning signs of alcoholism?

ANSWER: While warning signs of alcoholism vary by individual, several common indicators of alcoholism include a family history of alcoholism, frequent drinking, drinking despite negative consequences, hiding or sneaking drinks, and changes in personality.


QUESTION: What are some physical symptoms of alcoholism?

ANSWER: Since alcoholics are physically dependent on alcohol, most physical symptoms are a result of this physical dependence.  These symptoms include increased tolerance, withdrawal symptoms if alcohol use is ceased or decreased, and cravings.

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