How Do I Know If I Am an Alcoholic?

symptoms of physical withdrawal

Alcohol abuse is a serious and dangerous disease, but often the line between social drinking and alcoholism is quite difficult to define as casual enjoyment of alcohol can quickly become a problem for those with addiction issues. Recognizing the signs that you may have a problem with alcohol is a key step on the path to seeking help from an alcohol rehab center and overcoming your addiction. To help you figure out if you may be an alcoholic, here are seven key indicators of alcohol abuse.

Difficulty limiting your alcohol consumption

Recognizing that you might be drinking too much is a good sign; however, if you are unable to reduce how much you drink despite multiple tries or you’ve tried to quit drinking altogether but can’t, this is a strong signal that you might have a problem with alcohol abuse. Many alcoholics feel a compulsion to drink that is difficult to ignore, and stopping drinking once they’ve started can be even more challenging as they experience a loss of control.

Drinking alone or hiding your drinking

Those who have a problem with alcohol — whether they realize it or not — often resort to drinking in secret to hide their alcohol abuse from friends and loved ones. These efforts to disguise your drinking habits might even lead you to stash alcohol in your car, at work or in secret spots around your home so that you can always have alcohol available without anyone knowing. The fact that you don’t want those who care about you to know just how much you are drinking is a strong sign that your alcohol consumption has gotten out of hand.

Beginning drinking as soon as you wake up

Feeling as though you must have a drink as soon as you wake up in the morning is one of the clearest signs that you have an alcohol problem. Casual drinkers do not experience the urge to drink in the morning; only those with a strong dependence on alcohol feel as though they need a drink to start their day. This behavior is a particularly strong indication of alcoholism if you continue to engage in morning drinking despite the need to drive or go to work or school that day.

Planning your day around drinking

Social drinkers may find themselves looking forward to relaxing with a beer after work or enjoying cocktails with friends at happy hour, but those who are dependent on alcohol eventually find themselves planning their day around their next drink. One common indicator that you have a problem with alcohol is if you have a constant sense of worry about where you will get your next drink. Those with an addiction will take the availability of alcohol into consideration when planning work, family or social events.

Memory loss or blackouts

Frequent heavy drinkers often start to experience blackouts or gaps in their memory of events that occurred while they were drinking. Such incidents signal a potentially grave problem with alcohol. Blackouts only happen when your blood alcohol level is so high that your brain is inhibited from functioning normally. Indeed, when you have a blackout, you aren’t simply forgetting what happened while you were drinking, your brain was prevented from forming memories in the first place. Because alcoholism can lead to irreversible brain damage, taking blackouts and memory loss as a sign you have a drinking problem is critical.

Increased depression, anxiety and insomnia

While it can be normal to feel some anxiousness and insomnia following a night of particularly heavy drinking, these changes in mood can signal a much more serious problem with alcohol. Heavy long-term drinking can interfere with the functioning of the brain’s neurotransmitters. Because neurotransmitters are key to maintaining a sense of well-being and good mental health, alcohol abuse can lead to recurring and ongoing anxiety, depression, insomnia and even suicidal thoughts. Perversely, attempting to stop drinking can temporarily increase these symptoms as your body experiences the effects of alcohol withdrawal.

Experiencing the symptoms of physical withdrawal

As you increase your drinking over time and build up your body’s tolerance to alcohol, you will begin to experience a physical dependence on drinking. This dependence will cause you to go through physical withdrawal whenever you do try to stop drinking. These symptoms can include sweating, nausea and shaking, all of which go away when you start drinking again. If your problems with drinking have progressed to the point that you are experiencing severe physical withdrawal symptoms, seeking professional help such as that provided by rehab centers may be necessary.

If you believe that you may be an alcoholic, help is available. At Retreat Premier Addiction Treatment Centers, our alcohol treatment programs are aimed at providing thorough and individualized treatment to each patient to aid in the alcohol detox and addiction recovery process. To find out more about our alcoholism treatment and how our approach can benefit you, please call us 24 hours a day at (855) 859-8808.