How To Recognize Alcohol Dependence

Last Updated: Feb 24th 2020

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

How To Recognize Alcohol Dependence

Since social drinking is something that the majority of adults participate in, it can be challenging to tell the difference between casual consumption and alcohol abuse or dependence. By recognizing and identifying the signs of alcohol dependence, individuals can seek help for themselves or their loved ones sooner.

Chronically Neglected Responsibilities Resulting from Alcohol Dependence

Ultimately, those who are dependent on alcohol will make the consumption of alcohol a priority. All other responsibilities will become less important as a result. One way to determine that a person struggles with addiction to alcohol is when they neglect the things that are normally important in their lives.

Some of the responsibilities that might get ignored or neglected as a result of a dependence on alcohol can include:

  • Being on time to work
  • Spending time with friends and family
  • Coming home early enough to attend to responsibilities in the morning

This is just a small sample of possible neglected responsibilities. Keep an eye out for any other irregularities.

Legal and Financial Problems as a Result of Alcohol Dependence

Another way to recognize a dependence on alcohol is to look for new problems cropping up as a result of alcohol consumption. Driving while under the influence of alcohol, or losing a career because of alcohol-induced performance failures can lead to major financial woes as well as criminal charges. While these incidents can happen to those who don’t struggle with a substance abuse issue, they are more likely to occur among those dealing with a dependency on alcohol.

Increased Tolerance to Alcohol

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, chronic drinkers can display an increased tolerance to alcohol. In fact, they can seem to function well even when they have a high BAC, or blood alcohol concentration.

An alcohol dependence can mean that a person’s tolerance increases over time. They may require greater amounts of alcohol to have the same effect. Unfortunately, this means that those struggling with alcoholism tend to drink increasing amounts of alcohol. By doing this, they increase their risk of physical, mental health and relationship problems.

Withdrawal Symptoms Upon Reduced or Eliminated Intake

Many people associate withdrawal symptoms with a complete detox from alcohol, but those dependent on alcohol might already know that these symptoms can kick in on a regular basis. As dependence or addiction increases in severity, individuals can suffer from withdrawal symptoms just hours after last having a drink. It’s not unusual for those struggling with alcohol dependency to require an alcoholic beverage every few hours simply to function without the interference of withdrawal symptoms.

Once you recognize alcohol addiction, you can take action. Struggling with an addiction isn’t a life sentence, and 1st Step Behavioral Health in South Florida can help. Call us today at (866) 319-6126 to learn more about taking the next step on the path to lifelong sobriety.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.