Key Signs Of Being An Alcoholic ★★★★★ 5
5 1

Key Signs Of Being An Alcoholic


Recognizing the signs of alcoholism may save someone’s life.

Alcoholism is a disease that can be put into remission. It is a chronic, relapsing, and fatal condition.

One of the important things to look for is their body has become dependent on alcohol.

They may be obsessed with alcohol and unable to control how much they drink.  Drinking may be causing serious problems with their relationships, health, work and finances.

It’s possible to have an alcohol problem, but not clearly be an alcoholic.

11 Key Signs

Here is a list of the key symptoms to look for;

  1. Cravings for alcohol
  2. Loss of control
  3. Dependence
  4. Drinking alone or in secret
  5. Being unable to limit the amount of alcohol you drink
  6. Losing interest in activities and hobbies that used to bring pleasure
  7. Feeling the need or compulsion to drink
  8. Irritability when your usual drinking time nears, especially if alcohol isn’t available
  9. Keeping alcohol in unlikely places at home, at work or in the car
  10. Having legal problems or problems with relationships, employment or finances
  11. Experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms

Someone with alcohol use disorder is considered to be an alcoholic. It might help to understand the disease concept by thinking of this condition as an “allergy” to alcohol. It is a medical condition. Alcohol use disorders are medical conditions that doctors can diagnose when a patient’s drinking causes distress or harm. In the United States, about 18 million people have an alcohol use disorder, classified as either alcohol dependence—perhaps better known as alcoholism—or alcohol abuse.

Criteria Of Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol dependence, the more serious of the disorders, is a disease that includes these key symptoms:

  • Craving – A strong need, or urge, to drink.
  • Loss of control – Not being able to stop drinking once drinking has begun.
  • Dependence – Withdrawal symptoms (nausea, sweating, shakiness)
  • Negative emotional states (anxiety after stopping drinking)
  • Tolerance—The need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to feel the same effect.

People who are alcoholic often will spend a great deal of their time drinking, making sure they can get alcohol, and recovering from alcohol’s effects, often at the expense of other activities and responsibilities.

Although people who abuse alcohol are not physically dependent, they still have a serious disorder. They may not fulfill responsibilities at home, work, or school because of their drinking. They may also put themselves in dangerous situations (like driving under the influence) or have legal or social problems (such as arrests or arguments with family members) due to their drinking.

Keep a close out for changes in their life. Have they stop doing things they used to enjoy doing, for example. Is the performance at work or school dropped? Someones mood swings can also be a good indicator of a serious drinking problem.

Physical Dependency

There seems to be an awfully lot of confusion about whether or not someone is just a “problem drinker” or a full blown alcoholic. The key thing to look for is the fine but important distinction of physical dependency and tolerance. If they suffer severe withdrawal symptoms and crave a drink the day after, and they are drinking more and more to achieve the same effect, then they are an alcoholic.

The Next Step

Since these things are rather subjective, the best thing to consider doing if you or someone you know may have a problem, is see a professional. Make an appointment with a licensed addiction therapist and get a complete evaluation and assessment done. That is the only way to know for certain whether they have this disease, or not.


Treatment is always the right best method of beginning the process of recovery. Proper medically supervised detox is always necessary. Alcohol detox is serious business. It must be done under the care of a trained professional. In some cases, outpatient may be the right level of care. In others, inpatient residential may be right. It will depend on a variety of factors. The person doing the evaluation and assessment should be able to help you decide what’s best.

Give us your feedback about this page here