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Am I an Alcoholic? The Warning Signs of Alcoholism

Picture showing the warning signs that a person is alcoholic

If you find it difficult to relax without drinking alcohol or find it harder to enjoy yourself sober, you may have wondered, “Am I an alcoholic?”

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), being psychologically or physically reliant on alcohol does not automatically signify an alcohol addiction.

Having said that, alcohol dependence often accompanies addiction as a sign of the underlying alcohol use disorder (AUD). If you think you may be an alcoholic, seek a professional evaluation.

At Indiana Center for Recovery, we provide effective addiction treatment programs to help those dealing with alcohol abuse.

Key Takeaways

Since so many Americans drink alcohol every day and alcohol is socially acceptable, it becomes difficult to tell whether or not a person is an alcoholic. 

In this article, we will cover the following ideas:

  • Someone who drinks heavily and has no control over their drinking habits is known as an alcoholic.
  • There are several signs of being an alcoholic, including excessive alcohol use, experiencing withdrawal symptoms, dodging responsibilities, and more.
  • Several effective alcoholism treatment options are available to help overcome addiction and live a happy, sober life.

If you think you have a drinking problem and need professional assistance to overcome this medical condition, Indiana Center for Recovery can help. Contact us at (844) 650-0064!

Characteristics of an Alcoholic

An alcoholic is an individual who suffers from alcoholism, a chronic and progressive brain disease.

Alcoholism is defined by a mental obsession with alcohol, excessive drinking, frequent loss of control over the amount of alcohol consumed, and continued, heavy alcohol use despite the negative consequences. 

This means the alcoholic will continue to drink alcohol even when they know it is hurting them.

Alcoholism has several stages as a medically recognized disorder. At best, a person can function, work, and maintain relationships with their family members and friends (high-functioning alcoholic). 

At worst, being an alcoholic can be devastating, all-consuming, and fatal.

Alcoholism, classified as a substance abuse disorder (SUD) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), is both a physical and mental health disorder.

A person with a drinking problem has a strong desire to consume alcoholic drinks and has little to no control over their intake and behaviors while intoxicated.

Once sober, an alcoholic will still struggle to manage their impulsiveness around alcohol, which is why alcoholism is characterized by repeated relapse.

Warning Signs of Alcoholism

Many people who deal with alcoholism do not think they have a problem. However, most of the time, friends and loved ones can see warning signals of a problem.

If you notice that others are getting on your case about your drinking habits or if you are concerned that your drinking has become problematic, keep an eye out for the following signs of alcohol addiction:

Consuming Large Amounts of Alcohol

For most people, moderate or social drinking is defined as no more than one to two drinks per day, depending on gender and body weight. If it causes unwelcome side effects, moderate or social drinking can be problematic.

Binge drinking occurs when an individual consumes five or more drinks regularly. Many alcoholics drink far more than this. It is common for those with severe alcoholism to have a dozen or more drinks every day.

However, problem drinking usually begins slowly. Many binge drinkers find they need to drink more to feel the original effects of alcohol consumption.

Loss of Control Over Drinking Habits

At one point or another, many people who are struggling with alcohol addiction make a pledge to themselves or another person to cut back on their drinking. They are, however, rarely able to keep this promise.

They are unable to quit drinking. They don’t consider the consequences of excessive alcohol use. They start drinking and continue until they are completely drunk. Drinking becomes compulsive, meaning it cannot be controlled by willpower alone.

Excessive Alcohol Consumption Despite Knowing the Health Risks

Receiving divorce papers or getting a DUI may not be enough to motivate an alcoholic to change their destructive drinking habits.

Alcoholics are often aware of the issues their drinking causes. They may feel like they have no control over the situation. In many ways, they don’t have control.

Other people may be so wrapped up in denial that they don’t realize the full extent of their drinking. Because alcoholics have lost control and perspective, their downward spiral continues.

Over time, it can become progressively challenging to confront the problems caused by drinking. Still, recovery is possible regardless of how serious the issues have been.

Spending a Lot of Time on Alcohol-Related Activities

Alcoholics devote a large amount of time to alcohol-related activities. They may also overlook nearly everything else that matters to them.

Job responsibilities, family obligations, financial commitments, hobbies, and home maintenance – all of these things fall by the wayside.

An alcoholic will often justify their drinking by saying that they need to relax or that no one understands their problems.

Experiencing Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms appear when a heavy drinker suddenly stops drinking alcoholic beverages. Some physical symptoms include insomnia, sweating, nausea, headaches, vomiting, tremors, and rapid heartbeat.

A person may also feel exhaustion, depressive symptoms, difficulties concentrating, anxiety, and irritability.

Anyone experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms such as blackouts, fever, hallucinations, or seizures should seek medical attention from addiction experts right away.

Increased Tolerance to Alcohol

After months of heavy drinking, a person develops an alcohol tolerance. When alcohol tolerance occurs, people need to drink more alcohol to have the same effects as before.

Because they don’t always feel intoxicated after drinking, many alcoholics believe they don’t have a problem. However, alcohol still causes significant mental and physical health problems, even if you don’t feel impaired or drunk.

Treating Alcoholism

Alcohol addiction treatment should be completed under the care of medical professionals at a specialized treatment center.

Patients who try to self-treat may end up doing more harm than good. For example, the detox phase may include highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that are best handled in a treatment facility.

Full-service treatment facilities, such as Indiana Center for Recovery, can assist you in achieving long-term recovery through evidence-based treatment and a full continuum of care.

There are several levels of care, including:

At a specialized rehab center, treatment experts will walk you through every stage of the recovery process and help you develop attainable sobriety goals.

After treatment, your addiction specialist will introduce you to alcohol misuse counselors and support groups such as Al-Anon and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). 

This aftercare can help you maintain your sobriety and allow you to meet other people who have recovered from alcoholism.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are 3 symptoms of an alcoholic?

Many people with alcohol use disorder (AUD) do not think they have a drinking problem. However, the following three symptoms are clear indications of alcoholism:Loss of control while drinking
Continued use of alcohol despite an awareness of problems
Lots of time spent on alcohol-related activities

What is the typical personality of an alcoholic?

If a family member, close friend, or spouse is facing alcoholism, knowing the signs can help you choose which type of substance abuse and mental health treatment they need.Although different phases of alcoholism can affect people in very different ways, problematic drinkers share some alcoholic personality traits.
These traits can include an obsession with alcohol, making repeated excuses, blaming others, binge drinking, shifting priorities, financial difficulties, and irresponsibility.

How do I know if I’m an alcoholic?

An alcoholic consumes alcohol past their ability to control alcohol intake and cannot stop willingly.The following warning signs of alcohol use disorder can help you know if you are an alcoholic:
Losing interest in activities and hobbies you once found enjoyable
Inability to manage or control the amount of alcohol drunk
Drinking alone and in secrecy
Intense alcohol cravings
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms
Irritability and mood swings
Feelings of guilt associated with drinking
Making drinking a priority over responsibilities
Continuing to drink despite family, health, and financial problems

What is considered alcoholism?

Alcoholism is the most severe type of problem drinking. It involves drinking at a level that is harmful to your overall health. It is described as a strong, often overwhelming urge to consume alcohol.Although “alcoholic” is not part of medical care, some people in recovery from alcohol addiction use it to describe themselves. Alcoholism is also known as alcohol abuse, alcohol addiction, or alcohol dependency.
Medically, alcoholism is known as “alcohol use disorder.” Alcohol use disorder can be treated. Alcoholism is distinguishable from “harmful drinking,” a heavy drinking habit that harms your health but does not lead to dependency.

Indiana Center for Recovery is Here For You

Since alcohol use is so widespread and considered socially acceptable, identifying whether or not a person is an alcoholic may be difficult.

However, if the signs above sound like you, you must get professional help. With treatment, you can live an alcohol-free life and become the person you’ve always wanted to be.

Indiana Center for Recovery is a full-service rehab center that effectively treats substance use disorders (SUDs) and mental health issues.

We offer several levels of personalized care, including medical detox, inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, and dual diagnosis treatment. We use proven techniques, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).

Contact us at (844) 650-0064 today for professional medical advice, or click here to get more information on our addiction programs.