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Warning Signs of Alcohol Addiction

When does casual drinking become alcoholism? Here are some of the most telling signs that you could have an alcohol addiction.

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Alcohol Abuse

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What is Alcohol Addiction?

There are a number of warning signs that indicate potential alcohol addiction. Some of these signs are instantly recognizable, but others are a little harder to identify. This is compounded by the fact that the severity of the alcohol abuse could determine how these signs are exhibited. 

Alcohol is used recreationally all over the world, but when does it turn into an addiction? When does a couple of drinks cross the line between social drinking and having an alcohol abuse problem? If you suspect that you, or a loved one, has an alcohol addiction, it is important to seek out the right professional help at an alcohol rehab and treatment center.

Before delving into what signs you should be aware of, it is important to understand the definition of alcoholism. 

Most Common Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol is highly prevalent in today’s society, so it can be difficult to differentiate between social drinking and having an alcohol addiction. Keep in mind that binge drinking or heavy drinking can also lead to dependence, but a heavy drinker is not necessarily an addict.

These are just some of the tell-tale signs of alcohol addiction:

Drinking More or For Longer Than Intended

It is entirely possible to drink a little more than you expected to or for longer than you meant to on the odd occasion, but if it becomes a regular occurrence, then this could be a sign that you are developing an alcohol dependence. Socially, this could look like going out to a bar with some friends and intending on being home for dinner and then stumbling home at 1 am every Saturday night.

This could also occur at home, however. A glass of wine with dinner often turns into a couple of bottles on your own, late into the night.

The Inability to Stop Drinking

People that drink alcohol frequently may notice that they are perhaps overdoing it a bit. They fully intend on taking a break or giving it up completely. However, before they know it, they are buying alcohol and drinking it as usual despite their initial commitment to giving up for a length of time.

Time Spent on Sourcing, Using or Recovering

People with alcohol addiction spend a large proportion of their time thinking about where their next drink is going to come from. This means that they spend a lot of time finding their alcohol of choice, then time-consuming it, and finally time recovering from the physical hangover and emotional impact of over-drinking.


People that have alcohol dependence will crave it for several different reasons. The first sign to keep an eye out for, however, is mental cravings. Many drink alcohol to handle things like stress, unwind after a hectic day at work, or simply to treat themselves.

The mind begins to associate drinking with these scenarios. For example, if someone uses alcohol in stressful situations, they could begin to crave their alcohol of choice during work meetings and other potentially stressful scenarios.

Negative Impacts on Daily Life

The overuse of alcohol can have negative impacts on an addict’s everyday life. They might find themselves performing poorly at work or school, their parenting skills are not the same, or they are neglecting their relationships, etc. 

This is normally a result of a hangover in the beginning stages of a drinking problem. Eventually, users will start to use alcohol to get over these hangovers and will find themselves drinking in the morning, at work, or place of study. They might need to have a glass of something before the kids come home from school, or they could get into violent fights with their loved ones after consuming too much.

When alcohol starts having noticeable negative impacts on daily life, it is a sure sign of alcoholism.

Continued Use Despite Negative Consequences

People who depend on alcohol will be fully aware of the negative consequences of their work, studies, finances, and relationships, but they will continue to drink anyway. Everything else takes a back seat to their addiction.

Giving Up Previous Enjoyable Activities

As previously mentioned, those who have an addiction spend most of their day sourcing, using, and recovering from alcohol. This will start to have an impact on the activities that they used to enjoy. Hobbies are no longer important to an addict; they either do not care about them anymore or are simply physically unable to do them. 

For example, someone that used to be an avid swimmer might be too hungover to go for their early morning swim or may choose to spend the afternoon drinking instead of going to their regular pool session. This change in behavior and interests is one of the most noticeable signs of alcohol dependence.

Needing More Alcohol for the Same Effect

A person that drinks heavily will have an increased alcohol tolerance over time. This means that they will need to consume more alcohol to reach the level that they want to be. This happens in small increments over time, but it could mean going from a couple of glasses to a couple of bottles of alcohol to get the same effect over a long period.

Developing Withdrawals

Eventually, the body begins to depend on alcohol. People suffering from alcoholism can experience physical withdrawal symptoms, such as insomnia, shaking, nausea, sweating, higher than normal heart rate, seizures, distorted sight or hearing, and restlessness. These physical symptoms can only be minimized if they have another drink.

Get Help for Alcohol Addiction

Finding out that you could be more than a casual drinker can be a shock. However, that does not mean it is the end of the road. In fact, it is just the very beginning. It is important to get professional help at an alcohol addiction treatment center. We are for you to learn more about alcohol addiction, and when you are ready, you can look at our treatment programs. Take the first step on your journey to recovery today. Get in touch with us.

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