Signs Of A Drinking Problem

Because so many people drink, it can be hard to tell when someone is struggling with an alcohol problem. Some people will drink occasionally and never have an issue. Others will develop habits and addictions to alcohol that will impact their health, careers, families and relationships.

Some of the signs of a drinking problem, as designated by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, include:

  • You want to quit drinking, but you can’t.

    You find yourself consistently doing things you regret while intoxicated. You wish you could cut down on drinking or quit altogether, but you keep drinking anyway.

  • You’ve developed a tolerance to alcohol.

    You can drink significantly more than you could when you first started drinking. You find that it takes more alcohol for you to feel drunk now. Additionally, you drink faster and with the intention of getting drunk rather than just to enjoy the social experience. At the same time, the same amount of alcohol does not affect you in the same way, meaning you have to drink more to get the desired effect.

  • You find yourself in dangerous or risky situations.

    Excessive drinking has landed you in situations that could harm you or someone around you. Examples include: driving under the influence, getting into fights and having unprotected sex.

  • You have a different personality when drinking.

    Your sober personality and your personality when you’ve had a lot to drink are dramatically different. This is often a sign of not only a drinking problem but also an underlying emotional or psychological issue that urges you to turn to drinking as the solution.

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  • You have consistent memory lapses or “black-outs.”

    Having frequent gaps in your memory can be attributed to problem drinking. Blacking out doesn’t always mean passing out, as problem drinkers can be conscious for periods without memory of what happened.

  • You experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking.

    Your body has become so accustomed to the presence of alcohol that it can no longer function “normally” without it. When you stop drinking, you begin to experience uncomfortable and potentially deadly withdrawal symptoms, including agitation, anxiety, headaches, shaking, seizures, nausea, tremors, and vomiting.

  • You no longer participate in activities that you previously enjoyed.

    As a result of your alcohol abuse, you have decreased the amount of time you spend participating in social activities, hobbies, and other activities you previously enjoyed. Instead, you spend your time drinking or recovering from drinking.

  • You are experiencing interpersonal issues.

    You find yourself having problems with friends, family members, co-workers, and others as a result of your drinking or the consequences you experience from drinking.

Get Help for an Alcohol Problem

If you think you may be struggling with alcohol abuse or addiction, there is help available. Contact a treatment provider today. They can answer any rehab related questions and discuss treatment options.

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Last Edited:


Jeffrey Juergens

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  • Jeffrey Juergens earned his Bachelor’s and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. Jeffrey’s desire to help others led him to focus on economic and social development and policy making. After graduation, he decided to pursue his passion of writing and editing. Jeffrey’s mission is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them.

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Reviewed by Certified Addiction Professional:

Cindy Hardy

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  • Dr. Cindy Hardy is a Licensed Psychotherapist with over 17 years of experience in the mental health and substance abuse field. She is a professional member of the National Association of Addiction Professionals (NAAP) and Licensed Professional Counselors Association of Georgia (LPCA). Dr. Hardy holds a Doctorate Degree in Behavioral Health, Masters in Psychology, and Master in Health & Human Services from Upper Iowa University and Grand Canyon University.

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