What are the Warning Signs of Alcoholism?

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There are many warning signs that can signal potential alcohol abuse. However, even though some signs may be obvious, there are other signs that be more difficult to identify. Additionally, the severity of a person’s addiction can be a prime factor in determining the signs that a person shows. For example, some alcohol abusers may attempt to cover their drinking issue by isolating themselves and drinking in private. It is important for family members and friends to be aware of all potential warning signs that may signal their loved one could be suffering from alcohol addiction, so they can seek the necessary help.

Common Signs & Symptoms

If alcohol abuse is not treated, it can get out of control pretty quickly. When a person that abuses alcohol begins to see the rest of their life crumble, it can cause a lot of harm. It is then that a person can be diagnosed with alcohol use disorder. This is why it is imperative to recognize the warning signs of alcohol abuse. You can view more about getting the proper treatment, which can make a huge difference in the process of recovery for someone.

It is important to remember that there is no single formula in determining whether someone is abusing alcohol. Symptoms normally co-occur. One symptom may turn into another, which can lead to additional problems later down the line.

However, some of the most common signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse are:

  • Having temporary blackouts or short-term memory loss
  • Showing signs of irritability or extreme mood swings
  • Making excuses for drinking such as a way to deal with stress, to feel normal, or to relax
  • Choosing to drink over taking care of other responsibilities
  • Isolating oneself and becoming distant from family members and friends
  • Feeling hungover when not drinking
  • Drinking in private in an attempt to hide it
  • Changing one’s appearance and people they associate with

It doesn’t matter how small a drinking issue may seem. At the end of the day, alcohol abuse symptoms shouldn’t be ignored.

Identifying Alcoholism

There are various screen tools that can assist in determining if a person has alcoholism. One of the tools used is CAGE. This is a questionnaire that has the ability to tell how severe a person’s drinking problem really is. If you answer “yes” to two or more of the CAGE questions, you should consider seeking professional help.

The four CAGE screening questions include:

  • Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
  • Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
  • Have you ever had a drink as soon as you woke up in the morning to calm your nerves or to get over a hangover?
  • Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking habits?

There are other times when a medical professional can ask you additional questions using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. They use this to diagnose alcoholism properly. However, all answers to these questions asked should be based on alcohol use within the past year.

The Dangers of Alcohol Abuse

It is also important to note that alcoholism can result in many issues that can impact both your professional and personal life. Drinking for a long period of time can put your health at risk for issues that can be life-threatening. Many people choose not to seek treatment for their addiction because they are in denial. There are some people that will attempt to rationalize their drinking habits instead of acknowledging that they do have a problem. By not recognizing the consequences of your drinking problem, you are preventing yourself from living a healthy and sober life.


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