The signs of an alcoholic are not always easy to identify. However, recognizing alcoholism physical symptoms can help you determine if you or a loved one may have a problem drinking.
Some people openly drink, other alcoholics will go to great lengths to hide their drinking. In general, it is the friends and the family of the alcoholic that will recognize the alcoholism physical symptoms before the alcoholic themselves, but not always.
Some alcoholics are lucky and can realize and admit to themselves they have a drinking problem. Some family members or friends may not notice the signs if the alcoholic has gone to great lengths to hide his or her drinking problem.
It is important when reading these signs of an alcoholic that you objectively look at your situation and determine if any of these may be true for you. Many people often deny that they or someone they know has a drinking problem or brush off a drinking problem as “not being that bad” when it really is something to be concerned by.
Here a few general signs of an alcoholic that may help you decide if you or someone you know may have a drinking problem:
1. Drinking large quantities at once (commonly referred to as binge drinking): The average person will only have one or two drinks per day, generally limited in social settings. If you or someone you know is drinking more than 1-2 drinks at a time, it is quite possible that they may be showing the signs of developing alcohol abuse.
2. Drinking habitually with meals, after dinner, after work, or before bed: Anytime drinking becomes a habit, it puts the person at risk for developing an alcohol abuse problem.
3. Drinking as soon as one wakes up or before noon: Drinking early or as soon as someone wakes up can be a sign that they are experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
4. Drinking more than 4 days a week: When someone is drinking more than 4 days a week, it can be a sign of alcoholism, since most non-drinkers can go more than just a day or two at a time without drinking.
5.Going to work, school, driving, or doing other similar activities while drunk: This can show that the person is experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms, or it can also show that they cannot simply cope in most situations without needing a drink.
6. Disappearing for days without any explanation:: An alcoholic will often have a poor memory or recollection of events. Often times when drinking they may disappear without anyone knowing where they went or what happened, including the alcoholics themselves.
7. Lack of control while drinking: An alcoholic will say “I’ll only have 2-3 drinks”, only to find themselves having 6-8 or more. They may also not be able to control their behavior when drinking.
8. Making excuses for drinking: An alcoholic will find any excuse to drink – good or bad. This is a way for them to justify their drinking in situations when drinking is normally not acceptable.
9. High tolerance for drinking – can “out drink” anybody else: An alcoholic can have more drinks than anyone else and not realize they are drunk or feel any effects of being drunk (though they may still display them) simply because their tolerance is so high.
10. Drinking alone: Often for an alcoholic, going to social events will impede on their drinking, making drinking alone more pleasurable. They do not also have anyone to nag them about their drinking.
11. Hiding alcohol or keeping it in usual places: When an alcoholic is concerned that others will be upset with them for drinking, they will go to great lengths to hide it or keep it strange places. It is not uncommon for example to find a bottle of vodka in an alcoholic’s garage or even clothes dryer.
12. Experiences cravings for alcohol: Alcohol cravings can be mild or moderate, but often just the thought “I could really use a drink” is a sign of an alcohol craving.
13. Experiences Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms: Many alcoholics do not even realize they are exepriencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms, brushing them off as simply being sick or having other problems. These withdrawal symptoms however should not be ignored – they can be fatal in some cases.
14. Blacking out while drinking, not remembering what happened while drinking: Because the alcoholic needs to drink large quantities of alcohol to feel the effects of alcohol or to reduce their withdrawal symptoms, they often will drink more than they should or their body can handle. It is not uncommon for alcoholics to give themselves alcohol poisoning.
15. Aggressive and violent mood swings while drinking: When someone previously did not get angry, aggressive, or violent when drinking, it can show that their drinking is out of control.
16. Lack of interest in other activities: An alcoholic’s primary focus is one thing: when will their next drink be and where will it come from?
17. Making time for drinking: An alcoholic will often make sure there is time in their day to drink and often schedule other activities around drinking, if other activities are even scheduled at all.
18. Neglecting responsibilities: Because an alcoholic is controlled by their drinking, they will often neglect other important responsibilities, including work and their families.
19. No longer interested in other non-drinking activities: Alcoholics will rarely be interested in doing any activity they cannot do while drinking. If they do a non-drinking activity with friends or family, they will often drink beforehand and immediately once it is over.
20. Friends and family express concern: Family and friends will begin expressing concern when the signs of alcoholism become apparent or unbearable for them to cope with. Unfortunately, this concern is usually not enough to convince an alcoholic to quit drinking.
21. Health problems often associated with excessive drinking or withdrawal: Health problems such as liver disease, difficulty in fighting infection, or symptoms associated with withdrawal may begin showing if the alcoholic has been abusing alcohol for many years.
22. Lying about drinking: An alcoholic often knows that their drinking is a problem. Instead of getting help however, they will simply lie about how much they’ve had to drink or if they’ve been drinking at all. Since the alcoholic is usually drunk most of the time, you may or may not even be able to tell if they are lying or telling the truth.
23. Change in appearance and/or hygiene: An alcoholic often neglects his or her appearance and hygiene when their lives are being controlled by alcohol.
24. Depression, inability to concentrate, mood swings: These are additional side effects of long term alcohol abuse, and often will increase in severity as someone’s drinking problem continues.
These signs of an alcoholic can vary greatly from person to person. Occasionally alcoholism physical symptoms can also be related to other problems – stress, medical conditions, etc. If you or a loved one is showing the signs of an alcoholic or alcoholism physical symptoms, be sure to find out what is causing the problem.
It can be very difficult to admit you or someone you love has a problem, but admitting there is a problem and that they are showing the signs of an alcoholic can be the first step in seeking help and saving one’s life.