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10 Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

A black woman puts her arm around a white woman while they sit on the couch, both have worried and pained expressions

You may have stereotypes in your mind of someone with alcohol addiction, but the symptoms of alcohol addiction vary and may not be as apparent as you think. 

Knowing the symptoms of alcohol addiction can help you recognize when you or someone you love may need help. 

What is Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol addiction, alcoholism, and alcohol dependence are interchangeable terms. They’re when the pattern of alcohol use puts a person’s health, safety, or well-being at risk. Preoccupation with drinking, continuing alcohol use when it causes problems, or struggling to control alcohol intake are common for alcohol addiction. 

In short, alcohol addiction is when someone becomes dependent on alcohol. They continue drinking, despite the conflicts and issues that it causes.

Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

Some symptoms of alcohol addiction are easier to spot than others. If you or a loved one have several of the symptoms outlined below, it may be time to talk to your doctor.

1.Drinking More Than Intended

At the end of a long day, you reach for a glass of wine. Before you know it, the whole bottle is gone. You only planned to have one or two drinks. But it somehow got out of control. 

You may also find that you’re unwilling or unable to stop yourself from drinking until you fall asleep or pass out from overconsumption. As a result, your drinking feels out of control. 

2. Unsuccessful Attempts to Quit

Perhaps you suspect that you have an alcohol addiction. You try to stop drinking, but you always end up having a drink. You may have tried to abstain from alcohol many times in the past. But you can’t seem to do it on your own.

3. Increased Alcohol-Seeking

You turn down social outings that won’t involve alcohol. You drive to the liquor store for more when you’re impaired. You become a weeknight regular at a specific bar. If most of your activities revolve around alcohol, you may need help.

4. Failing to Fulfill Obligations

Drinking alcohol causes lapses in memory and brain damage over time. For example, you may forget something small like taking out the trash. Or you may fail to prepare for something significant like a business presentation. Regardless of the obligation’s size, you fail to follow through because of alcohol consumption. 

5. Drinking, Despite Problems 

Those who use alcohol tend to change their overall behavior. These shifts in personality often cause conflicts in their social lives or with their partner. But despite the problems, they can’t seem to stop drinking. 

You may also notice that you’re showing physical symptoms of alcohol addiction. Tremors, constant headaches or hangovers, or the inability to sleep are indications of alcohol addiction. 

6. Repeated High-Risk Behavior

People with alcohol addiction often exhibit high-risk behaviors. Driving, swimming, or operating machinery while intoxicated are all common. Sex with strangers, sex in public places, or having unprotected sex are high-risk activities that those with alcohol addiction may experience. 

7. Experiencing Mental Health Concerns

Alcohol is a depressant. People with depression or other mental health issues are at greater risk of developing alcohol addiction. Alcohol can be a coping mechanism whenever you experience an adverse feeling or experience. The problem is that the feelings still exist after the alcohol wears off. This form of coping creates a cycle of drinking to feel better. 

8. Continual Urges to Drink

The urge to consume alcohol takes over some people’s daily lives. They spend their days at work thinking about drinking. They may even start drinking before work or before other functions. The need for alcohol begins to become before anything else and negatively impacts their judgment.

A man looking guilty about opening his laptop

9. Increased Tolerance

Where you may have gotten a buzz off of one or two drinks before, you now need four or five to get the same effect. People who regularly consume large amounts of alcohol notice that their drink threshold changes as they become accustomed to drinking heavily. This tolerance means they have to drink more to get the same feelings.

10. Avoiding Social Activities to Drink

You turn down going to the movies with friends. You reject the offer to attend dinner with colleagues. All of this is so you can go home and drink. To you, it may feel like you’re blowing off steam after a hard day. But, over time, it develops into a habit. Your priority is always getting relief from drinking, often alone. 

The Impact of Alcohol Addiction on Health

Alcohol addiction doesn’t just impact your relationships and put your safety at risk. It also harms your physical well-being. Alcohol addiction puts people at risk of developing medical conditions.

 People with alcohol addiction are at risk of developing:

  • Liver disease
  • Digestive problems
  • Heart problems such as stroke or heart attack
  • Sexual functioning or menstruation issues
  • Neurological complications such as disordered thinking, short-term memory loss, or dementia
  • An increased risk of cancer, especially of the mouth, throat, liver, breast, or colon cancer

Overcoming Alcohol Addiction at ILC

At Integrative Life Center, we offer specialized alcohol addiction treatment programs to help you regain control of your life. People who get support in their recovery have a much higher chance of staying sober.

People who abuse alcohol have a high success rate of remaining abstinent after treatment. With the proper social support, motivation, and treatment from trauma or psychiatric disorders, you can overcome your addiction.

At ILC, we offer unique plans for each person. We know that addiction isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment plan. We work with you to create a comprehensive and holistic plan that treats the issues that contribute to alcohol use. 

If you’re ready to take control over your alcohol addiction and step into your future, contact us today


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