Warning Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction is real. Whether you call it alcoholism or alcohol dependence, it is a real disease that results directly from alcohol abuse.  Not everyone who drinks alcohol becomes addicted to it, but approximately 28% of Americans drink at levels that put them at risk for developing alcoholism. 

In 2010, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported 1,568 addiction treatment centers in the State of California alone. Of those, 1,052 focused solely on treatment for alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, despite the high number of alcohol treatment centers operating around the country, only a small fraction of people who are addicted to alcohol seek help. Many fail to reach out because they do not understand the nature of addiction and think they should be able to handle their problems with alcohol on their own.  But the truth is that people who seek help through drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers have a higher chance of living healthy, sober lives than those who don’t.  

So how do you know if you need an alcoholism treatment program? Start by taking a look below at the following 10 warning signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction. 

#1. You often drink more or longer than you intend. 

When you regularly plan to have 1 or 2 drinks at a party but end up having 4 or 5, it could be a sign of alcohol dependence.  

#2. You have tried and failed to cut back or stop drinking alcohol. 

Maybe you’ve decided to stop drinking because you’re going back to school or because you’ve promised your spouse you would. If your compulsion to drink overrides your promises not to, you could be addicted to alcohol. 

woman thinking about her alcohol addiction 

#3. You spend a lot of time drinking, thinking about drinking, or recovering from drinking.

Those with alcoholism spend a great deal of time planning their next drink, arranging their lives around alcohol, or suffering from the immediate health consequences of drinking alcohol.  

#4. You crave alcohol.

If you experience strong physical, emotional, or mental urges that trigger the desire to drink, particularly when you are trying not to consume alcohol, you it may be a sign of alcohol addiction. 

#5. Your drinking (or its after effects) results in problems with work, school, or relationships. 

Maybe you’ve failed to prepare for an important meeting because you were out drinking the night before, or perhaps you often fight with your girlfriend about your drinking.  Repeated problems like these that stem from your alcohol use could point to alcohol dependence.

#6. You continue to drink alcohol despite negative consequences. 

Those afflicted with alcoholism continue to drink even though their alcohol consumption results in negative consequences like those described above, or health consequences related to their drinking. 

#7. Your drinking has a higher priority than other activities or hobbies you enjoy. 

When you find that your plans to drink become more important than surfing or painting or camping or other activities that once brought you pleasure, it could be a sign of alcoholism. 

#8. You engage in risky behaviors while intoxicated. 

These behaviors may include unsafe sex or dangerous activities such as swimming or driving while under the influence.  If you tend to engage in risky behaviors while drinking that you wouldn’t otherwise do, you may have a problem with alcohol. 

#9. You require more alcohol than you used to need to get the desired effects. 

One sign of alcoholism is an increased tolerance to alcohol. Where two glasses of wine used to give you a pleasant buzz, you now need to drink a full bottle to get that same feeling. 

#10. You experience withdrawal symptoms when the alcohol wears off. 

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms may include shakiness, irritability, depression, nausea, insomnia, or loss of appetite. If you find that you experience these symptoms and they go away once you have a drink, it is likely that you have an alcohol addiction. 

Struggling with alcohol? We can help. 

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol addiction, we can help. At Alvarado Parkway Institute, our drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs help people get sober and stay sober.  We provide both inpatient and outpatient recovery programs for adults suffering from addictive disorders.  Our treatment plans are individualized and may include detoxification, individual and family therapy, group therapy, and aftercare planning. All of our addiction treatment programs provide patients with the support and tools they need to live healthy sober lives.  

For more information on our programs or services, fill out the contact form on our website or call our 24-hour crisis line at 619-667-6125 today.