10 Common Signs of Alcoholism and Addiction 

With all the focus on illegal and prescription drugs, it’s easy to forget how damaging alcohol can be.

While most experts would agree that casual drinking is not usually detrimental, some people find it difficult to control their consumption.

Here are 10 common signs of alcoholism.

1) Excessive Drinking 

Heavy drinking or binge drinking don’t necessarily signify alcoholism, but they can increase the likelihood of future dependency.

Heavy drinking involves drinking more than 3 or 4 drinks a day (4 for men, 3 for women), while binge drinking involves consuming larger amounts of alcohol (5 drinks for men, 4 for women) within two hours.

While they’re not the same, both can make it difficult to control consumption.

This leads to a higher tolerance, which requires consuming larger quantities of alcohol to achieve the same level of intoxication.

2) Risky Behavior

Alcohol reduces your inhibitions, which can make you more likely to engage in behavior you might otherwise avoid.

There are many types of risky behavior, from driving under the influence to engaging in sexual activity with different or multiple partners.

Drinking on the job is another type of risky behavior that could result in getting fired.

These types of activities can lead to a snowball effect with repercussions that go on for months or years.

3) Legal Troubles

Certain types of risky behaviors can result in legal consequences, ranging from fines to jail time.

One of the most common examples of this is a DUI (driving under the influence) conviction.

You can also get arrested for public intoxication or something worse if you get into a physical altercation.

If alcohol has caused you any legal troubles, it’s time to ask yourself some tough questions about whether you’re really in control of your drinking.

4) Bad Company

If the group of people you spend your free time with are heavy drinkers, you’re far more likely to do as they do.

The problem with this is that close friendships often develop over a period of years, so you may find it difficult to let these people go.

This is one of the biggest reasons why alcoholics have such a hard time avoiding temptation.

Fighting alcohol addiction is tough enough already.

It’s harder when the people around you are always drinking. You’d be better off keeping your distance and finding new friends that don’t drink.

5) Declining Relationships

Once your personal relationships have taken a turn for the worse, you might not be able to save them.

The first sign of trouble may appear when a significant other expresses concern.

They may become angry over your behavior and assume that if you don’t care enough for yourself, you probably don’t care for them.

Some alcoholics end up neglecting their children and displaying abusive behavior toward family and friends.

6) Lies and Denial

Lying and denial are often major indications of a problem.

The rationale is that if you’re not drinking enough for it to be a problem, you shouldn’t have to lie about it.

Lies have a way of causing problems within relationships, whether with your family, friends, or employers. Denial is typically the result of shame.

You may realize that your drinking has led to alcoholism, but be unwilling to admit it. Denial is one of the biggest hurdles you’ll have to overcome to regain control of your life.

7) Poor Performance

If you’re doing poorly at school or in your job, alcohol may be to blame. You can’t expect to perform at your best when you’re hungover or down because of an argument.

One by one, these problems can add up and begin taking a toll on your life. As they become more burdensome, you may want to drink even more.

This will only lead to more hangovers, less sleep, more lies, and potentially more legal troubles, making it even more difficult to focus on your work.

8) Excuses

Making excuses to drink can also indicate a problem. It seems relatively harmless to overindulge on a special occasion, such as a bachelor party or New Year’s Eve celebration.

However, this can become a problem if you’re under lots of stress. You may look forward to these occasions so much that every minor holiday becomes an excuse to let loose.

Keep in mind that there’s no need to consume ridiculous amounts of alcohol, no matter what the occasion happens to be.

This is especially true if you think the arrival of a weekend is reason enough to get drunk.

9) Mood Swings

Alcoholics are more likely than most to experience mood swings. This can lead to problems at work and in close relationships.

If you’ve noticed that you’re unable to maintain the same emotional state for more than an hour or two, alcoholism might be at the root of the problem.

It can wreak havoc on your emotional stability, especially when you’re unable to drink. When you combine this with other contributing factors like hangovers, financial troubles, and deteriorating relationships, it’s easy to see how your emotions can get out of control.

10) Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms can be either emotional, physical, or both. Emotional withdrawal symptoms appear in the form of depression.

There’s nothing ordinary about feeling depressed when you’re sober, especially if you feel noticeably better when you give in to your cravings.

Physical withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, headaches, tremors, fatigue, nausea, increased heart rate, inability to focus, sweating, and nightmares.

When your desire for alcohol reaches this level of intensity, there’s no sense in trying to tackle the problem alone.


Although these might be common signs of alcoholism, the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states that there are two symptoms of addiction and alcoholism.

First, if the person in question has tried to stop and cannot stay stopped they are probably alcoholics. The second symptom is that once they start, they do way more than they intended.

If you think you may be suffering from alcoholism, it’s essential to know that you’re not alone. People worldwide are dealing with the same problem, and there’s no shame in asking for help.

Call our admission team to get help.


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