Recognizing the Symptoms of Alcoholism

Last Updated: Feb 24th 2020

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

Recognizing the Symptoms of Alcoholism

Once you’ve identified alcoholism as a problem, proper treatment should always be your next course of action. However, recognizing the signs and symptoms of alcoholism isn’t always straightforward. Learning what alcoholism looks like and how it manifests itself may make it easier to recognize the illness.

Inability to Stop Drinking or Cut Back

One of the most obvious signs of alcoholism is the inability to stop drinking, skip a night of drinking or even cut back. For example, if someone proclaims that they’ll stay sober for the evening, but turns to alcohol later in the night, they may simply not be able to help themselves. Another common indicator of alcoholism is if someone begins exhibiting withdrawal symptoms after just a day of sobriety.

Health Problems Resulting From Excessive Consumption of Alcohol

Some of the more visible symptoms of alcoholism are health problems that manifest themselves physically. These can include all or some of the following:

  • Rapid weight loss or gain
  • Changes in grooming habits or overall appearance
  • Redness and swelling in hands
  • Chronically flushed cheeks or nose
  • Visible red blood vessels on the surface of the skin

Using Alcohol to Treat Emotions

People often use alcohol to self-medicate and deal with emotions. When someone does this repeatedly, and in the absence of other ways of coping, it may point to a dependency on alcohol. Far too often, individuals rely on alcohol as a kind of therapy, and it can become a psychological as well as a chemical dependence over time.

Memory Loss

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol on a regular basis can lead to memory loss. This may be complete lapses in memory, or it might just include a few hours of fuzzy memories or confused timelines. Either way, memory loss is an indication that the person is regularly drinking to excess, and it is often a precursor or sign of alcoholism.

Increased Tolerance for Alcohol

One of the biggest problems associated with addiction is an increase in tolerance. Many people struggling with alcoholism develop an increased tolerance for alcohol. Because of this, they’ll need to drink ever larger amounts, or drink more frequently, to function properly or feel the same buzz as before.

Legal or Financial Problems Stemming From Alcohol

The signs of alcoholism aren’t always physical in nature. Sometimes, the existence of legal problems or financial problems can highlight addiction. Alcohol can lead to increased risky behavior, whether that means quitting a job that brings in necessary income or driving while under the influence. An influx of legal or financial problems stemming from alcohol consumption is definitely a problem that needs to be addressed.

What to Do If You Recognize Symptoms of Alcoholism

Recognizing the symptoms of alcoholism is the first step in getting help. At 1st Step Behavioral Health in Pompano Beach, Florida, we use a range of comprehensive treatment approaches that target addiction. Call (866) 319-6126 to begin letting go of alcoholism and embracing the sobriety, health and fulfillment your life deserves.

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.