In the United States, there are more than 17 million alcoholics or 7.2% of the population! Men are two times more likely to become one than women. Even worse, adolescents are not spared. More than 900,000 younger people are addicted to alcohol as well. Just to add, other countries have similar results. Signs of alcoholism may vary, but there are a lot of them, which affect all of those who consume alcohol frequently.
1. Frequent drinking
Am I an alcoholic? If you consume alcohol daily, you probably are. Still, there are additional, more detailed signs of alcoholism, which we will mention below, but frequent drinking is the most obvious, and therefore the first one. Keep in mind that the amount of alcohol you consume per day is a less important factor. Theoretically, an alcoholic may be a person who drinks one glass of alcohol every day. Anyway, if you are already doing so, you should check other signs. Important: Experts claim that drinking alcohol 3 times per week is the first symptom of alcoholism.
2. Increased tolerance
Perhaps you believe that being able to drink 15 beers per night is a macho thing, but it is actually one of the signs of alcoholism. Think like this. If you consume plenty of alcohol, your body will try to develop some type of tolerance of it, because it treats alcohol from beverages as a toxin. The more you drink, the higher tolerance it will be, which directly refers to the first sign here.
Don’t think that as you drink your tolerance to alcohol will go up constantly. It will raise and then it will drop significantly, making you completely drunk after 3 beers.
3. Feeling guilty
The first or one of the first signs of alcoholism is feeling guilty about drinking. All of those who drink alcohol beverages daily feel this type of guilt. Sadly, all of them do the same thing, they drink. Your brain knows that you are doing something wrong, so the guilt is perfectly reasonable. A much bigger issue here is the fact you won’t do anything to follow that guilt and literally prevent it from coming again. Smokers feel the same thing as well. They don’t like cigarettes, deep in themselves, so the guilt is something which is almost guaranteed.
There are several reasons why you will feel guilt. Alcohol changes your mood, your personality and it has a negative effect on your relationships, work and etc. All of these are severe issues, but alcoholics are still unable to stop.
4. ‘’I am not an alcoholic’’ or commonly known, denial
If a person refuses to talk about himself and alcohol, it is a common denial. This is the first, most important symptom of alcoholism. Deep within himself, an individual knows that he drinks alcohol too often. So, he already knows that he is an alcoholic. All of us don’t like talking about something when we know that we are making a mistake. In addition, don’t try to talk about alcohol abuse with a person who denies it. He/she will get upset.
5. Hiding and lying about alcohol abuse
One of the most common signs of alcoholism is hiding the drinking act. It is so common that almost all alcoholics and those who will become have it. The explanation is simple. All of them know that drinking occasionally in front of their friends and family is harmless, but drinking too often will result in trouble. As the end result, alcoholics will lie. There are a million excuses here and new ones are invented as we speak. Here, lying is used only to conceal and justify the hiding.
An interesting fact is that alcoholics try to lie when they are obviously drunk. Others lie but it is obvious they consume or have consumed alcohol (bad odor, watery eyes and etc.). In other words, it is easy to know when an alcoholic is not telling the truth.
6. Fantasizing about drinking
When you don’t drink, but you fantasize about it, we can see a sign. You will soon become an alcoholic. It has been one of the entry-level signs of alcoholism and it has been discovered recently. It is simply explained though. When you don’t drink, your brain wants you to drink (sub conscious of course). The only thing you can do at the moment is to fantasize about alcohol, because of you can, you would already drink it! Now, we explain this as the simple desire to get drunk. Nobody likes the taste of alcohol. All of you who drink it, do it for the same reason, to relax or to get drunk.
Luckily, there is an easy fix for this issue. Stop fantasizing about alcohol. There is always something other that can help you move past the dark times in your life. There are other things worth fantasizing about. One study proved that those who fantasize about alcohol less, develop a lower desire to get drunk. On the other hand, those who fantasize about it all the time almost always met their fantasies.
7. Consuming alcohol to fight stress
This can be one of the early signs of alcoholism but some individuals tend to start with using alcohol as a stress solution later in the process. The reason is simple to understand. Alcohol shuts down certain parts of the brain (there is a specific order in which it does it). One of them is a part of the brain for personality, memory, and thinking in general. As such, alcohol can help a person relieve stress by forgetting about his problems. Sadly, it doesn’t work like this every time and in some cases, it can even boost the stress level.
8. Using alcohol to relax
Most of you will want to relax with the help of alcohol at some point. In a matter of fact, most of you have already tried it. It is perfectly normal to have downfalls in your life and to feel anxious or under stress a few times per week. A more concerning matter is using alcohol to fight it. How many times have you heard that alcohol doesn’t solve any problems? In reality, it even makes them worse.
Once a person begins drinking alcohol beverages daily, or more than 3 times per a week, just to relax, there is a huge problem present! Soon, this will become a habit, which leads to other, more common and more dangerous signs of alcoholism.
9. Personality change
If you have noticed a personality change, it is the right time to learn how to stop drinking alcohol. A person who drinks occasionally won’t suffer from this issue. As a matter of fact, he will still be the same person, sober or drunk. An alcoholic won’t. When sober, he will be upset, anxious and look for a reason to start drinking. When he is drunk, he will be aggressive, annoying or etc. Personalities of alcoholics are severely changed, usually related to aggressive behavior.
10. Drinking when you shouldn’t
Before a long trip, drive, job or a medical appointment, those who are addicted to alcohol will drink, a lot. We mentioned that alcoholics drink to fight stress and relax, so it is obvious why this occurs. Just think about the complications you can cause when you drive under alcohol influence or when taking medications?! As a sign, it is treated as one in the middle, but as a sign of a potential accident or a trouble, this may be the main sign here. Alcohol won’t relax you nor it will assist you with any other matter, so don’t drink it for these purposes.
11. Neglecting social life
One of more severe signs of alcoholism is neglecting social life. Alcoholics tend to go and do only actions which allow them to drink. Those places and activities that don’t, are usually avoided. For example, if your loved one avoids all types of events, but he prefers going to the pub, this is a sign. Furthermore, alcoholics are not interested in normal activities, nor they have normal energy levels.
12. Hearing ‘’some’’ things while drinking
When you are sober, you will process all the information that comes around you perfectly. When you drink, and especially if you have been drinking for a longer period of time, you won’t. You will start seeing and hearing things that are not there! In other words, think of this issue as on minor hallucination.
Equally problematic, these two issues should be solved as soon as possible, by avoiding alcohol. Both of these signs of alcoholism will affect your relationship with friends and family and they can harm them significantly. In addition, your brain will probably hear something which is related to some problem or problematic situation which occurred a long time ago, but you don’t want to bring it up when you are sober.
13. You have issues with relationships
One of signs of alcoholism which suggests you have a severe problem is when you have issues with relationships. All kinds of relationships are included, friends, family, and loved ones. Drinking too much of alcohol places it in front of loved ones. You are unable to be a valuable person in their life and you are certainly not a reliable one. All of this means that you will have problems with people who have been very long in your life.
The same sign, basically, is when you cannot keep a steady job. Alcoholics always blame others for their job issues, but in reality, they cannot provide minimum productivity which is mandatory.
14. Control issues
Here is one of the signs of alcoholism which affects all of the alcoholics and those who are becoming one. If a person cannot withstand without an alcohol at least a week or so, chances are high he is an addict. For ordinary people, it isn’t an issue to avoid alcohol for a week or so, for addicts, it is impossible. They will try to stop, apparently, and they will make up excuses, but they will fail. All addicts, not only alcoholics will continue following their addiction no matter what.
15. Once you start, you must finish
A simple sign we have here. If you or some individual must drink the entire bottle once it is opened, there are control issues. All alcoholics are addicted to drinking all the alcohol in front of them. As always, there will be many excuses, like superstitious, money-based or any other. In reality, these are simple problems with the loss of control commonly found among alcoholics. This sign leads to the ones we will mention below.
16. Drinking and a side effect to job or education
Being hangover once or twice per a year is perfectly normal. But, if it affects your work or education too often, the sign is present. You are probably an alcoholic. Alcohol can affect all activities and your awareness a big time. This is literally linked to the lower performances and complication on your job place. Those who are drunk every day have even worse issues. They are unable to find and keep a job or to provide optimal productivity. This sign is more common among adults and older individuals than among teenagers or adolescents.
17. ‘’Black holes’’ in memory
Black holes in a memory are nothing more than a lack of a memory for a specific time frame. It may last 10 minutes or 4 hours. This depends on the amount of alcohol a person consumed, on the type of beverage (not all beverages have the same amount of alcohol in it) and on the body condition. When a massive amount of alcohol in ingested into the body, the brain will shut down memory-related parts. In the morning, you won’t have an idea what you have done last night.
The issue here isn’t very dangerous if it occurs once or twice over a longer period of time. On the other side, if it occurs all the time, you have a severe problem.
18. You feel sick, but everything is OK with you
If you feel sick, but there are no obvious reasons nor symptoms, you may have developed another sign of alcoholism. Physical signs of alcoholism include abdomen pain, yellow skin, and several others. If you just feel ill and it all goes away once you consume a beer or two, everything is fine with you. There are two explanations of this matter. The first one is the fact your body is recovering from alcohol, but you have been drunk for a longer period of time, so the feeling is strange. The second explanation is in the fact your body cannot work properly without the alcohol. Of course, we mean on the brain only. The last thing you want to do is to start drinking. Yes, you will think that you feel better, but you actually won’t.
This is one of later signs of alcoholism which is commonly mixed with the withdrawal, which is actually the next sign on the list. Just to add, this sign is less dangerous than the sign of withdrawal.
19. Signs of withdrawal
When we drink alcohol, our brain releases specific chemicals. Once we stop drinking it, the brain doesn’t have higher levels of those chemicals, obviously. This causes a withdrawal effect. Sweating, shaking and even anxiety are common and usually come all together. Sadly, this already means that you are an alcoholic and you need professional assistance.
All of these signs may appear at any given moment, but they are common among individuals who have been without alcohol for 48 hours. Some may develop them sooner others later, but they will happen. Here we must point out that aggression is another yet rare sign. A person who is addicted to alcohol will do almost anything to get it. There are no differences compared to drug addicts.
20. Liver-based damages
Frequent alcohol consuming will damage and eventually destroy the liver. As we mentioned at the begging, our body treats alcohol as a toxin, and liver is responsible for cleaning the toxins from the body. When it is exposed to higher levels of alcohol for a longer period of time, severe damages will eventually occur. Most alcoholics die specifically due to this cause. Don’t forget that this sign always comes after the withdrawal signs! The first symptoms of liver damage and failure are yellow skin, pain and eventually death.
Alcohol creates scars on the liver. Those who consume alcohol daily for years are likely to already have this issue developed. A good thing is the fact liver has a high level of self-regeneration. In most people, it cannot regenerate even when alcohol destroyed a severe amount of it.
These were all the signs of alcoholism you may have or you will have if you consume alcohol daily. Keep in mind that they will progress rapidly and soon you will notice some of the last signs from the list. The best thing to do is to stop drinking as soon as possible, or as soon the first sign is noticed.