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How to Spot the Signs of Alcoholism in Your Friends, Family, and Yourself

Did you know that 26.45 percent of people 18 or older in the U.S. admitted to binge drinking or heavy alcohol use in 2018, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism? Having a glass of wine with dinner or a few beers with friends at the bar after work may seem harmless. Yet, in some cases, they can be signs of alcoholism. When do you or a loved one have a problem that requires care?

The Most Common Signs of Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a term commonly used, but not well understood. Alcohol use disorder, or alcoholism, occurs when a person has two or more symptoms of alcohol abuse listed here. A person who has more than four symptoms is likely to be facing a serious form of addiction that requires immediate help. Some of the signs of alcoholism include the following. If you’ve experienced these in the past year, you could be at risk:

  • Have you found yourself drinking more or longer than you intended to?
  • When you stopped drinking for a period of time, did you feel the effects of withdrawal, such as sweating, nausea, restlessness, or trouble sleeping?
  • Have you tried to stop drinking and found you couldn’t do so?
  • Have you had times when you wanted a drink so much so that you could not think of anything else?
  • Do you spend time drinking often or feeling sick afterward?
  • Do you need to drink more than you used to in order to get the same effect?
  • Recognizing that drinking causes family problems, do you continue to do so anyway?
  • Does drinking interfere with taking care of your home, job, family, friends, or school?
  • Have you developed other health problems related to drinking or had a memory blackout?
  • Do you engage in reckless behavior while drinking, such as driving, using machinery, having unsafe sex, or swimming?
  • Have you given up on other things you like because alcohol has become more important to you?

If you have two or three of these signs of alcoholism, you may have a mild form of it. If you have more than four to five, that indicates a moderate level of alcohol use disorder. If you have six or more of these signs of alcoholism, you are at high risk for severe alcoholism.

You Have the Signs of Alcoholism – Now What?

At Atlantic Recovery Center, we encourage you to come in to see our team to learn more about our addiction treatment programs. In some situations, it is best to enroll in our residential treatment program as it can help you to work through the addiction with one-on-one help with our licensed counselors and therapists on an ongoing basis. You will find that the benefits of residential treatment are numerous, including:

  • A safe environment
  • No risk of use
  • Place where you can express yourself openly
  • Numerous types of evidence-based and holistic treatment options
  • A comfortable, like-home setting
  • People that are going through the same thing you are
  • Supportive environment with true skill-building opportunities

Our team can also help you to manage other mental health disorders you may have at the same time, including co-occurring disorders like depression and anxiety. This may help you to see significant improvement in your long-term health.

For men and women with alcoholism, that first step is to seek out help if you have the signs of alcoholism. You will get to talk to our counselors openly about what’s happening and receive a formal diagnosis. If you are using alcohol often and thinking about it quite a bit, it is time to gain control over your life again.

Our team of licensed, experienced treatment professionals can help you with all aspects of alcohol use disorder. This includes providing access to partial hospitalization care and aftercare treatment programs that may help you further.

Substance use disorder involving alcohol is more difficult to spot than one that involves illegal or prescription drugs. This is especially true when the person who’s drinking too much is yourself. Having an occasional drink helps you relax. It provides a much-needed wind down after work and is the perfect excuse to get together with friends on the weekends. Most would say there’s nothing wrong with that, right? Unfortunately, this is often how alcohol addiction begins. If you’re worried about how much you drink and wonder whether you might have a drinking problem, notice how you spend your days. Are the signs of alcoholism present?


5 Most Common Signs of Alcoholism


Remember when you used to drink at weddings or to celebrate a major milestone in your life, such as a new baby or a job promotion? Compare those days to today. If today’s cause for celebration is simply getting through another work week or going a day without arguing with your spouse, these may be signs of alcoholism.

The signs of alcoholism are much more discreet than those associated with drug addiction. Because alcohol is completely legal for anyone over the age of 21 to buy and to drink, it may not feel like you’re doing anything wrong by drinking all day long. But if you’re celebrating with a six-pack these days for any reason you can find, this probably a sign of alcohol addiction.


If you’re setting self-imposed limits on your drinking and then missing them every time, this is one of the signs of alcoholism. It’s a powerful indicator that circumstances have gone beyond your control. If you want to stop at two drinks but can’t, it’s time to reach out for help from a drug and alcohol treatment center in your city.


What fills your day? Do you rise in the morning, kiss your spouse, hug your kids, and then head off to work? Is your workday filled with board meetings or projects that need your attention? Does your mind stay occupied with the business at hand? Or are you constantly thinking about your next drink, how refreshing it’s going to taste, and how good it will make you feel? Does your day begin and end with a drink, and does thinking about drinking take up a fair amount of your time? Generally, a preoccupation with alcohol is a sign of alcohol addiction.


How do you feel when you don’t drink? Do you feel shaky or nervous? Do your hands tremble? Are you unusually irritable? Do you feel like something terrible could happen if you don’t get a drink and soon?

These are physical cravings, and they’re side-effects of alcohol withdraw. If you’re experiencing cravings when you go short periods of time without a drink, it’s time to seek drug and alcohol treatment near you.


Have you lost relationships because of your drinking habits? Have you alienated your children? Are you struggling financially because alcoholism caused you to lose your job? Are you homeless? These are all signs of alcoholism. Reaching out for treatment today will make tomorrow better.


Atlantic Recovery Center is a drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility in South Florida. We’ve helped hundreds of clients recover from the devastating effects of alcoholism. We can help you, too.

Atlantic Recovery Center in South Florida provides warm, family-like surroundings for healing to happen. Our treatment center is worlds away from those large and impersonal facilities that treat clients as numbers in a file. You’ll find compassionate friends here. Call Atlantic Recovery Center today at 1-866-824-5193 to learn more.

Getting Help for Your Loved One with Alcoholism

Recognizing the signs of alcoholism in a loved one is difficult, but it can mean that it’s time to get help. At Atlantic Recovery Center, our team will work closely with you and your loved one to get the right treatment for their needs. Contact us by calling 1-866-824-5193 today for resources and immediate help.