Being able to recognize the signs of alcoholism is one of the crucial first steps to finding recovery from alcohol use disorder. Millions of people across the globe lose their jobs, health, families and even lives to the debilitating effects of alcoholism each year.
Alcohol abuse can be tough to track for a few big reasons. First of all, it’s legal. Second, drinking plays a role in a lot of social functions in many cultures. Celebrating a big win at work? Get a drink. Meeting up with friends? Grab a drink. Relaxing after a long day? Reach for a drink.
Often, signs and symptoms of alcoholism can be overlooked until it’s too late. Usually, friends and family will be able to see these signs much sooner, but they might not want to believe it’s happening. Or, you might be struggling without realizing or admitting the severity of your own addiction.
Understanding the signs of alcohol abuse can help you identify a problem in yourself or others.
5 Warning Signs of Alcoholism
If you suspect that you or a loved one is addicted to alcohol, then keep an eye out for some of the common signs below:
1. You Cannot Control Your Drinking
Do you always tell yourself that you’re just going to have one or two drinks, yet you always end up drinking much more than that?
The inability to control your drinking is a sign of alcoholism. From the moment you take your first drink, you may hear a voice inside your head telling you to “drink more, drink more, drink more…”
2. You Drink During the Morning
Do you drink throughout the day just to feel normal? Do you drink alone frequently? Alcohol can be used to mask how you’re truly feeling and can be used as a coping mechanism during stressful times throughout your life. Or, it may also be used to mask mental health issues, like depression.
If you’re using alcohol as a crutch to simply get through the day, then your relationship with alcohol might not be the healthiest.
3. You Hide Your Drinking
Do you disguise how often you drink? Hiding your drinking from those you love is often a sure sign of having a problem with alcohol. Usually, you end up hiding your drinking because you feel ashamed and you don’t want anyone to know you’re currently under the influence.
4. Your Physical Appearance Has Changed
Some people can drink a lot without experiencing negative physical consequences. However, most people who drink heavily end up exhibiting a number of physical signs, including:
- Weight gain
- Constantly feeling bloated
- Stomach pains
- Alcohol withdrawal
5. You Continue to Drink Even as Relationships or Life Deteriorate
Do you continue to drink heavily, even though you’re currently suffering through relationship, work or health problems? Beyond affecting your personal health and happiness, abusing alcohol can also affect those you love and care about.
If you find that your life seems to be falling apart at the seams, then it might be time to examine your relationship with alcohol.
Am I an Alcoholic?
If you’re reading this and think that you might struggle with addiction, then answer the questions below honestly. It’s all too easy to deceive yourself when you’re addicted. The questions below might help to illuminate any current struggles with alcohol.
- Do you lie about drinking, or hide your drinking from loved ones?
- Do you feel tired, depressed, angry or anxious when you don’t drink?
- Have you tried to honestly quit in the past, but haven’t been successful?
- Is your social life centered around drinking?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, this might not mean you’re addicted to alcohol, but it might illuminate a potential problem with drinking. If you’ve answered yes to almost all the questions, or notice the signs mentioned above, then it’s important to seek out help as soon as possible. This isn’t something you should have to work through alone.
Alcohol addiction isn’t a character flaw; it’s a treatable disease. To speak with a representative about treatment options, reach out to the helpful team at The Recovery Village today.
University of Rochester Medical Center. “Social Drinking vs. Problem Drinking.” Accessed December 30, 2019.