Alcoholism: What Are Some Major Telltale Signs of Alcoholism?

What Are The Signs Of Alcoholism?Shape

What are the signs of alcoholism? Alcohol addiction is a condition which can be very hard to recognize until you can't see anything else.

In a world where social drinking has become the norm, it can be challenging to distinguish between casual imbibing and a more serious problem. However, behind closed doors, alcoholism silently thrives, affecting millions of lives and families worldwide.

The signs of alcoholism may not always be as obvious as stumbling down the street or clutching a bottle tightly. Instead, they hide in plain sight, often unnoticed, until the consequences become undeniable.

Stats About Alcoholism:

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) states that as per National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports, more than 29.5 million people in the United States of America have Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) or alcohol addiction.

Around 16.6 million are males above 12, and 13.0 million are females. NSDUH has also mentioned that nearly 894,000 belong to the younger demography, between 12 and 17.

What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism can be described as a condition where a person consumes an amount of alcohol that can negatively impact their health. This condition is also known as alcohol addiction, alcohol abuse, alcohol misuse, alcohol dependency, or Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).

It is now classified as a health disease where they cannot stop their drinking pattern. They feel a strong and uncontrollable urge to drink. Everyone can be affected by it, and it has no limitations. Regardless of race, religion, region, gender, sexual orientation, or any other socioeconomic condition, anyone can be diagnosed with AUD. 

AUD is a real medical condition that can cause irreversible damage to the brain and body. An individual has no control over these changes as the neurochemistry gets altered. Alcohol addiction is a condition that shows up in different ways. Factors like the intensity of drinking, frequency of drinking, and type of alcohol consumed are different for everyone. Some people drink alcohol spanning day and night, while others may binge drink and stay sober for a while.

It is even possible that some people drink heavily without being dependent on it. 

All of these behaviors are examples of alcohol use disorder. A person in this condition would continue to partake in the drink regardless of physical and mental damage to their health. They will prioritize it over personal and professional relationships too. They are most likely to experience withdrawal symptoms whenever they try to stop their usage. 

What Causes Alcoholism?

There are several reasons why people develop AUD. There is no single cause for it, as these risk factors vary from one person to another. It depends on risk factors like how much alcohol a person drinks, gender, how long a person has been drinking, and so on.

AUD can develop in a person because of the following reasons:

Drinking at an Early Age

It has been studied that people who are age 26 or above and have AUD are the ones who start drinking as early as 15 years of age. This is because teenagers and underage kids are at high risk of being addicted if they start early. 

Genetic Factors for Alcoholism

Genetics has always played an important role in any form of addiction. In addition, this disorder can be passed down through the generations. So, people who have a family history of abuse have the potential to develop AUD. 

Mental Health

Childhood trauma, depression, anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are mental health issues that make an individual more susceptible to AUD. However, many people with these psychiatric issues use alcohol to cope and find relief. 

What Are the Signs of Alcoholism?

Alcohol has become an important part of the culture. This is why addiction can occur at any point in life. Some people start to show abuse patterns as early as high school age, while others may start when they have attained adulthood. Some people start depending on alcohol later in life after encountering tough situations.

One cannot exactly figure out or predict when it will happen, but there are always signs. Early warning signs can be very helpful in diagnosing the problem. In several cases, these telltale signs have helped stabilize the condition before it worsens. Let's look at some high-risk behavior that may indicate the presence of alcohol addiction. 

Early Signs

Several early signs can indicate whether a person may suffer from alcohol addiction. These signs are generally exhibited during the initial phase of addiction.

They include:

  • Looking for reasons to drink alcohol even when the time and place are inappropriate

  • Binge drinking or consuming copious amounts of alcohol

  • As per the preference, drink with or without the presence of the other's company

  • Losing interest in all hobbies & activities and focusing on drinking alcohol

  • Unable to meet work or school deadlines because of alcohol problems

  • Having trouble in interpersonal relations because of alcohol

Advanced Signs of Alcoholism

Addiction gets worse if left untreated, like any other health disorder. It progresses to become more dangerous with severe health complications. However, alcoholism does not only leave a mark on physical health but on an individual's overall life too. The person will start getting in trouble at home and work. They start to make more risky decisions without caring about the negative repercussions. Have a look at some of the advanced signs of alcohol addiction.

People with alcohol issues may get in trouble with the law for driving under the influence.


Declining performance and an uncaring attitude towards work may result in job termination.


Coping stressful situations by depending on drugs.

Day Drinking

It is generally frowned upon to drink during the daytime. Alcohol addicts do not adhere to such things and would drink during the day too.


Hiding the amount of alcohol one has consumed from others because of the shame of getting caught.


People with addiction often can't stop drinking or even reduce consumption. 


There is a major physical difference as they overlook personal hygiene and daily grooming rituals. 


Displaying risky and violent behavior while intoxicated. 


A significant personality and behavioral change would occur with increased aggression, irritation, impulsiveness, and depression.


Lying about alcohol use and trying to appear unaffected by it. 

The signs mentioned above are commonly experienced by people who suffer from alcohol abuse but are not the only ones. Therefore, it is best to seek a qualified medical team to diagnose a problem as serious as AUD.

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What Are Some Alcoholism Symptoms?

It is not that easy to recognize the symptoms of alcohol addiction. It is simple to identify when someone is using drugs like heroin and cocaine. Alcohol, on the other hand, is widely accepted and consumed drink all across the world. It has even engrained itself into some cultures. Drinking at celebrations, events, festivals, and parties has become common. Below are some symptoms that can indicate AUD. 

  • Higher amount and frequency of drinking

  • Having higher tolerance to consuming a drink

  • Lack of hangover

  • Partaking in alcohol at inappropriate times

  • Avoiding places that do not have/serve alcohol

  • Drinking throughout the events and avoiding everyone

  • Drinking under the influence or while at work

  • Making new friends who may also have AUD.

  • Avoiding old friends, family members, and loved ones.

  • Legal troubles

  • Displaying signs of depression, emotional instability, and lethargy

  • Avoiding any company that does not drink

  • Hiding alcohol from people who are near you

  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms

Physical Symptoms of Alcoholism

Some physical symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, unsteady gait, lack of coordination, sweating, diarrhea, bloating, impaired memory, blackouts, slurred speech, tachycardia, rapid eye movements, erectile dysfunction, excessive sleep, jaundice, and coma. 

Health Risks Associated with Chronic Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a chronic health condition that can lead to several life-threatening health complications. These side effects are not only short-term but long-term as well. Some can be reversed, while others cannot be treated. Let's look at some common health problems afflicted because of alcohol addiction. 

  • Bone loss

  • Liver damage

  • Heart problems

  • Kidney troubles

  • Ulcers

  • Congenital disabilities

  • Diabetes-related problems

  • Sexual complications

  • Vision problems

  • Risk of cancer

  • Weakened immune system

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Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are the side effects one experiences once one quits drinking alcohol. These symptoms start about eight hours after an individual has last intoxicating drink. These symptoms will get severe and peak after 24-48 hours of use. The symptoms will recede in 24 hours if someone does not have AUD. However, AUD-diagnosed people can experience them for several days.

Some withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Anxiety

  • Irritability

  • Sweating

  • Nausea

  • Headache

  • trouble sleeping

  • Shakiness

  • Depression

  • Fatigue 

  • Loss of appetite

Is Alcoholism Treatable?

Alcoholism is a prevalent issue in the United States of America. Many people have this misconception that there is an effective treatment for overcoming this type of addiction. It is important to understand that quitting alcohol or any form of addiction is difficult but with the help of formal medical treatment. Our country boasts some excellent treatment options to overcome this condition.

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) can be treated with the help of appropriate behavioral therapies and medication. The process of overcoming addiction starts with the search for a reputed and qualified drug rehab center. Patients might be vulnerable to various environmental triggers, and the treatment facility has to be equipped with preventive measures to manage them effectively. 

Alcohol Detox

This is the first step in a patient's recovery process. The traces of alcohol must be removed from the addiction patient's system. As a result, they can experience mild to severe levels of withdrawal symptoms. Since it is a medical detox, the rehab and addiction specialists will stabilize their condition.

Alcohol withdrawal is always easier and safer with professional help.

Alcoholism Medications

Doctors will prescribe controlled medication to help recovery. Such medications are useful in preventing relapse and managing withdrawal symptoms. Some of them are Acamprosate, Vivitrol, Naltrexone, and Disulfiram. 

Treatment for Alcoholism

Due to the round-the-clock professional care, inpatient programs are preferred over outpatient ones. It is an immersive form of care where the patients are not supposed to focus on anything except getting better. Inpatient treatment for alcohol rehabilitation requires a patient to live in the facility during the duration of the treatment. This duration can go on from thirty days to six months. 

Behavioral Therapies

Alcohol damages an individual's mental and behavioral capacity. These therapies are there to address and remedy that damage. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a widely used behavioral counseling to identify the addiction origin along with techniques to cope with the triggers. 

You’re Not Alone; Alcoholism Is Treatable. The Forge Recovery Center Effectively Treats Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol and drug addiction have become widespread health issues. Each year, more and more people are being afflicted by them.

Substance abuse and alcoholism are chronic conditions that should not be overlooked. If ignored, they can cause irreversible damage to an individual's mental and physical health. Therefore, it is imperative to seek professional medical treatment if one is showing signs and symptoms of alcohol or drug abuse.

The Forge Recovery Center knows how devastating alcoholism can be. A family-owned drug treatment center, The Forge has a deep understanding of addiction and all the factors that drive it. Guided by a trauma-informed philosophy, our addiction center is a safe, welcoming, and serene place where the roots of alcoholism can be explored carefully and treated.

Alcoholism can make a person feel completely alone. They aren’t – at The Forge, there’s an entire community waiting to guide you (or a loved one) away from alcohol and into a happy life. Don’t miss out on the life you deserve – reach out to The Forge Recovery Center today and learn more about our effective, evidence-based alcohol addiction program.

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Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

October 11, 2023