What Are The Signs That You Are An Alcoholic?
Drinking alcohol in moderation is socially accepted and can even be healthy. Unfortunately, moderation is not always easy to determine. It can also be difficult to honestly assess when “occasionally” drinking too much becomes a certifiable problem. The fact that denial is common to anyone struggling with alcoholism means that the problem progresses significantly before it is even acknowledged.
There are certain signs common to most alcoholics that can help you determine whether you have a problem. While being objective is incredibly difficult, if you're noticing any of the following, you should consider the possibility that you're struggling with alcoholism.
Since most people start drinking in a social context, some of the earliest signs of alcoholism involve a change in social drinking.
Consider whether any of the following behaviors are familiar:
- You have a few extra drinks at a social occasion – and keep it secret
- You often wish to continue drinking when your friends have had enough
- Your friends or family have expressed concern about your drinking
- You have begun avoiding family and close friends when drinking
- You drink alone
All of these indicate that the nature of your drinking has changed. Either your friends have noticed, or you are actively keeping them from noticing.
Most people who have a drinking problem find that their reasons for drinking begin to change. Instead of drinking for fun or to socialize with friends, you start drinking to chase certain feelings and avoid others.
Ask yourself whether you are doing the following:
- You drink when you've been in conflict with someone
- You drink when you're feeling disappointed or let down
- You have reasons or justifications for heavy drinking
- You drink in order to numb your feelings or black out
The more dependent you become on alcohol, the more the way your body reacts to alcohol begins to change.
Look out for the following physical signs of alcoholism:
- You can handle more alcohol than when you started drinking / You need to drink more in order to get drunk
- You sometimes have trouble recalling events from the previous night, even when you did not pass out
- You have been experiencing memory blackouts
- A medical professional has advised you to cut down on your drinking
- You have experienced appetite changes
- You sometimes have the “shakes” in the morning, which subside when you start drinking
- You sometimes see or hear things which aren’t there
- You have a history of alcoholism in your family
Alcoholics often behave in irresponsible or reckless ways they would not have in the past.
Consider if you've done the following:
- You have gotten a DUI, even though drinking and driving goes against your ethics
- Drinking has gotten you into legal trouble
- You are having problems meeting work or school responsibilities
- You are struggling financially, despite being financially responsible in the past
Most alcoholics struggle with denial. It is one of the most consistent symptoms of alcoholism. However, they often know that there is something wrong and try to change it, whether or not they are fully cognizant of the reasons.
Ask yourself if you have noticed any of the following:
- You feel guilty about your drinking
- You have tried certain strategies to change your drinking habits
- You have made promises to yourself regarding your drinking, which you have failed to uphold
- You feel depressed or anxious while drinking or afterwards
If any of the above resonate with you, we recommend that you give serious consideration to the possibility that you are struggling with alcoholism. They do not automatically mean you are an alcoholic, but you should certainly seek further clarity. Speak to a professional to get further advice on whether you may be an alcoholic.