10 Warning Signs Of Alcohol Use Disorder

To discover if someone is teetering towards an AUD, consider these 10 warning signs.

It can be difficult to determine when the line has been crossed from heavy drinking to alcohol addiction. Alcohol use disorder (AUD) shares many of the same symptoms as alcohol abuse.

However, someone who has an AUD likely has no control over their drinking and maybe alcohol dependent. They cannot stop on their own, despite their problem drinking interfering with their health, family, and work life.

To discover if someone is teetering towards an AUD, consider these 10 warning signs.

1. Alcohol Dependence

Someone who drinks heavily is at risk of developing an alcohol dependence, which is one of the major signs of alcoholism. Alcohol dependence results in withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop or try to reduce your drinking.

If you feel shaky, anxious, irritable, or have intense cravings when you don’t have alcohol in your system, you may be alcohol dependent. Alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening and may require a medical detox program.

2. Blackouts

When someone experiences a blackout, they lose the memory of what happened the night before. Blackouts, which occur when someone drinks excessively, can be dangerous and increase the risk of being involved in high-risk situations.

3. Finding Any Reason To Drink

According to the National Institute On Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), how much, how often, and how quickly you drink increases the risk of developing an alcohol use disorder.

Substance abuse may start because you need a drink to cope with a difficult situation or feeling. Alcohol may help you feel more relaxed or confident and it may relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders.

However, the more frequently you drink, the more you may rely on alcohol to cope with everyday stresses. Eventually, your drinking may increase and you may feel the need to use alcohol to quell hangovers so you can accomplish daily tasks.

Alcohol abuse and addiction are associated with several health problems, including diabetes, pancreatitis, liver disease, cancer, and high blood pressure.

If you’re a long-term heavy drinker, it will eventually lead to liver cirrhosis or liver damage, which may be difficult to treat. Someone with an alcohol addiction may have a difficult time abstaining from alcohol, even if they know their health is declining.

5. Tolerance

Your body will eventually adjust to the amount of alcohol you regularly consume. At one point, you may have needed two drinks to feel the effects of alcohol. If you drink heavily for a long period of time or started drinking as an adolescent, you may need several more to feel its effects.

If you need increasingly higher amounts of alcohol when you drink, you are likely developing a tolerance. The higher your tolerance for alcohol, the greater the risk is of experiencing blackouts, dependence, and alcohol poisoning.

6. Using Alcohol In Dangerous Situations

Alcohol can be safe when used moderately and in controlled, safe settings. However, people who struggle with alcohol abuse often drink in inappropriate situations. Drinking alcohol while working, driving, or operating machinery can put yourself and others at risk of harm.

Heavy drinking and binge drinking also increase the risk of engaging in high-risk activities, like drug abuse or unprotected sex. In addition, if you take medication that interferes with alcohol, you could be putting your health at risk if you drink too much.

7. Abandoning Responsibilities Or Hobbies

Unfortunately, alcohol usually becomes a priority for people who suffer from alcohol addiction.

Responsibilities, like work or school, and other interests slowly fade away as drinking increases. Someone with alcohol addiction may feel it necessary to structure their life around their drinking, regardless of the consequences.

8. Isolating From Loved Ones

Addiction makes it difficult to cope with daily life and play an active role in your relationships. You may start to neglect relationships because of the behaviors associated with alcohol use disorder.

Unhealthy behaviors can lead to shame and guilt, which can lead to more alcohol use. If you have an alcohol addiction, you may isolate further if you fear your loved ones may approach you about your drinking habits.

9. Hiding Your Drinking

If you struggle with addiction, you may spend a lot of time drinking or thinking about your next drink.

Your drinking habits may increase until you start to hide your alcohol use from family and friends. Alcohol maybe the only way you know how to cope and hiding your alcohol use is a way to convince yourself and others that your drinking isn’t a problem.

10. Drinking Even If You Don’t Want To 

Someone who drinks heavily may suffer numerous consequences as a result of their alcohol use, including legal problems, health conditions, and relationship difficulties.

Despite this, someone with an alcohol addiction cannot control the amount they drink. However, someone with an addiction doesn’t want to continue to suffer. They have a chronic disease that makes it nearly impossible to stop drinking without professional addiction treatment.

Alcohol treatment programs may include support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, as well as behavioral therapy, counseling, and medication-assisted treatment.

If you or a loved one is struggling with an alcohol use disorder, reach out to us today to learn about our treatment services.

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

©2023 Northeast Addition Center | All Rights Reserved

This page does not provide medical advice.

Ready to make a change? Talk to a specialist now.