Signs Of An Alcoholic

Estimated reading time: 33 minute(s)

Happy hours, wedding toasts, and New Year’s Eve are usual times to have a drink with loved ones. Our culture tends to normalize alcohol use. Nevertheless, many individuals blur the boundary between alcoholism and social drinking, exploiting celebrations to conceal an addiction. 

Based on the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 14.5 million individuals aged 12 and older had Alcohol Use Disorder in 2019.

The symptoms and signs of alcoholism, also known as alcohol addiction or alcohol use disorder, might differ from individual to individual.

Signs Of Alcoholism

Some of the signs of an alcoholic will be more difficult to recognize than others, and factors such as the volume and frequency of alcohol consumption will influence whether or not you acquire an addiction to the substance.

Alcohol Addiction Symptoms

The American people are well aware that alcohol has critical consequences. The immediate effects of alcohol on the body include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Sluggish reflex times
  • Blackouts (frequently occur in binge drinking bouts) 
  • Motor coordination issues or unable to walk properly
  • Poor judgment and overlooking the consequences while taking risks (like drunk driving)
  • Memory impairment or forgetfulness
  • Slurring of speech

An alcohol use disorder, particularly at the more serious end of the spectrum, can result in persistent and incapacitating health consequences that may require lifelong care. Some of the most severe issues stem from the indirect effects of an alcohol use disorder.

Dietary patterns are an indicator that a person’s conduct has evolved into an alcohol use disorder. As alcohol abuse becomes more entrenched, people frequently overlook their nutritional health. The individual may exhibit indicators of malnutrition, including a pale complexion, loss of hair or thinning of hair, and black bags beneath the eyes. These may be signs of thiamine insufficiency, a general disease. Thiamine (B1) is required for the optimal functioning of the brain and all bodily tissues. People with an alcohol use disorder may develop nutritional deficiencies, including thiamine deficiency.

Psychological effects and symptoms of alcoholism are immediately apparent after drinking alcohol. Individuals may engage in self-repetition (partly due to memory loss) and fail to demonstrate their usual degree of sound judgment. People may acquire sleep problems and/or mental health conditions, like anxiety or depression over time. Cognitive issues include a shorter attention span and issues with motor coordination, like asterixis, a syndrome characterized by involuntary hand flapping or shaking. In extreme instances, hepatic encephalopathy can occur, causing some patients to enter a fatal hepatic coma.

Whether you or a loved one is exhibiting indications of alcohol abuse and you need treatment, high-end treatments are available at luxury rehab and executive rehab centers which provide upscale residential rehab facilities for alcohol use disorder.

Signs Of Alcohol Abuse

If you think your loved one has a problem with alcohol, you may feel compelled to assist. But how can you be certain? There are various indicators and signs of an alcoholic that may indicate that your loved one needs assistance:

The Effects of Alcoholism on Social Life

Drinking in a social setting takes on a new significance for alcoholics. If alcohol will be served at an event like a house party, they will be the first to arrive. For them, nearly every social gathering or celebration must include booze. If their family responsibilities do not include drinking, they may disregard them.

Drinking to Relieve Stress

An individual with AUD is inclined to use alcohol to reduce stress. As soon as they experience frustration or tension, they desire a drink. This individual may have previously engaged in healthful activities such as exercise, reading, or art. Now, however, many utilize alcohol as their primary pastime and escape from daily life.

Being defensive about drinking

Alcoholics are frequently defensive when asked about their drinking. When loved ones start bringing up their alcohol problems, they may be met with animosity. A person with an alcohol addiction may become enraged when their excessive drinking is brought up. They will find excuses for their drinking and downplay the severity of their problem.

High tolerance

An individual with AUD likely possesses a high alcohol tolerance. While others may feel the effects of alcohol following a shot, they do not. They can consume many doses of alcohol without becoming intoxicated. In addition, their tolerance continues to increase over time. As people continue drinking, they may require more and more alcohol to achieve the desired impact.

Personality alterations

An individual with an alcohol problem may experience personality changes. Individuals with reticence may become boisterous. People who are generally reserved could become transparent. Personality changes can be especially detrimental to others if an individual with AUD becomes violent and aggressive when drinking.

Drinking all-day

While most individuals are working or attending school, alcoholics are either consuming or contemplating getting drunk. Worse, they may be drinking alcohol in school or the workplace. They may be cognizant of the possibility that others may see them as an alcoholic. Therefore, they frequently conceal their day drinking. To disguise the scent of alcohol, one example is cleaning their teeth multiple times daily.

Inappropriate alcohol limits

The inability to decide when to stop drinking is indicative of alcoholism. An individual with AUD may attempt to restrict their drinking to two drinks each night. However, they cannot maintain their bounds. Two drinks become seven for a single night. When the other customers are ready to leave the pub, they wish to get another round.

Alcohol-related implications

Regardless of what individuals claim about their drinking habits, the consequences begin. Perhaps they have received a DUI or been fired due to their alcoholism. Although they are aware of these effects, they may deny that their alcoholism triggered them. They express outrage at their employer instead of accepting responsibility for their actions.

Irrational decisions

When an individual is under the influence of alcohol, they make unsafe choices. They routinely drive drunk and insist it’s acceptable. Or perhaps they frequently engage in physical altercations at the bar. You are aware that they would not make these choices sober. However, they cannot seem to resist making risky decisions while under the influence.

Withdrawal effects

If an individual with AUD abruptly quits drinking, significant withdrawal effects may ensue. Possible symptoms include nausea, perspiration, and a fast heartbeat. Even more severe symptoms, like hallucinations or seizures, may necessitate medical intervention. Regardless of the severity of their symptoms, they seek alcohol to relieve them.

Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), excessive drinking causes more than 95,000 deaths each year, or 261 deaths per day, in the United States. Life can be saved by speaking up. So speak up about your drunk symptoms and alcoholism with your loved ones and consider seeking residential rehab.

What Are Some Of The Warning Signs Of Alcoholism

Consuming an Excessive Quantity of Alcohol

Drinking in moderation or for social purposes is defined as consuming no more than one to two drinks per day, based on the age, gender, and weight of the person. If it begins to create adverse effects, social or modest drinking can become troublesome. When a person consumes five or more alcoholic drinks in one day, this is termed binge drinking.

It is fairly uncommon for alcoholics to consume a dozen or more alcoholic drinks per day. Usually, problem drinking begins gradually. Many alcoholics feel compelled to drink more to experience the initial effects of their drinking. This is due to the concept of “tolerance.”

Alcohol-Related Loss of Control

At some point, a person living with alcoholism may make a promise to themselves or others that they’ll limit their drinking. Sadly, when some individuals make this pledge, they are not prepared to maintain it. Once a person reaches a specific level, it is exceedingly difficult to stop drinking. Typically, individuals do not consider the repercussions of heavy drinking in advance. Once a person starts drinking, they drink until they are completely intoxicated.

Persistent Alcohol Consumption Despite Knowledge of Problems

Receiving a DUI or getting divorce papers may not be the life-altering event that causes a person to change their habits. Those who battle alcoholism are usually conscious of the consequences of their drinking. The issue is that they feel helpless to bring change.

Others are so involved in their denial that they are unable to comprehend the full extent of their repercussions. They continue to slide downward as they lose control or perspective. It may become increasingly difficult to confront the problems associated with drinking, but it is not impossible to recover, despite the severity of the problems.

Loss of Time Spent on Activities Related to Alcohol

Those who struggle with alcoholism spend a considerable amount of time engaged in alcohol-related activities. These same individuals may overlook virtually everything else that is significant to them. A person battling with alcoholism will frequently justify their behavior by claiming they need to relax or that no one knows their concerns.

The following are some components of daily life that might be neglected by alcoholics:

  • Property and home care
  • Financial responsibilities
  • Family obligations
  • Job Requirements
  • Passions and interests

Following heavy alcohol consumption, the body develops alcohol tolerance. This happens when a person must drink more alcohol to achieve the same impact as before. Many folks might not believe they have a problem because they do not become intoxicated every time they drink. Even if an individual is inebriated or impaired, a great deal of damage can occur to the body.

Other warning signs of alcoholism

An individual may have a problem with alcohol use if he or she:

  • Is starting to frequently crave alcohol
  • Spending an increasing amount of time drinking
  • Drinks more or for a longer duration than planned
  • Shows a rise in their alcohol tolerance
  • Frequently gets into legal problems (as a consequence of alcohol use)
  • Beginning to sacrifice hobbies for drinking possibilities
  • Managing friction in personal and professional relationships
  • Emotional estrangement from friends and family is increasing
  • Wants to stop drinking yet is unable to

Which Behavior Is Most Likely To Indicate Alcohol Abuse

According to research, alcohol use inhibits neurotransmitters in the brain and changes cognition, emotions, and behavior. When alcohol interferes with the nerve transmitters, our responses to situations change.

Because alcohol might make adolescents feel less self-conscious or anxious about unfavorable outcomes, alcohol consumption is related to increased risk-taking behavior.

An alcoholic will binge drink (drink till they faint or blackout) or go on a bender during periods of uncontrolled drinking (several days of sustained heavy drinking). They seem to be restless, irritated, miserable, and dissatisfied when they aren’t drinking.

Alcohol abuse is much more likely to be present if a person requires a larger-than-usual amount of alcohol to achieve intoxication and drinks excessively in an attempt to achieve intoxication.

Alcohol consumption has been proven to be positively connected with a range of risky behaviors, including high-risk sexual conduct, aggressive and criminal activities, self-injurious conduct, and fatal injuries, including automobile accidents.

Resource References:

  1. Ten signs your loved one may be an alcoholic, Bradford Health Services. Available at:
  2. Symptoms of alcoholism, Priory. Priory. Available at:
  3. Signs & symptoms of alcoholism (physical, Mental & Behavioral). American Addiction Centers. Available at:
  4. Is your loved one showing early signs of alcoholism? Kingsway Recovery. Available at:

Get in Touch for Help