Alcoholic Symptoms: Signs of Alcohol Dependence

By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited: September 18,
| 4 Sources

Learn To Spot The Signs Of Alcohol Dependence In Yourself And Others

Alcohol is such a part of society today that it can be easy to end up with alcoholic symptoms and not even realize it. Let's face it, everywhere you turn, there is alcohol – in television shows, in the movies, at restaurants, at sports events, even at the county fair. Top it off with the constant bombardment of advertisements for alcohol including billboards driving down the highway and commercials that show sexy women hanging all over the guy with the biggest drink.

It is such a part of the fabric of our lives that we often don't recognize alcoholic symptoms or signs that could indicate a problem.

Photo by Nareeta Martin

Symptoms of alcoholism that show some help may be needed can include the following:

  • You regularly drink more than you set out to
  • You feel ashamed or guilty over your drinking
  • You often drink to feel better or de-stress
  • You lie to others about your drinking
  • People have come to you and expressed concern over your drinking
  • You black out when drinking (having no memory or vague memory)
  • You neglect your job or family responsibilities due to drinking or the aftermath of drinking (skipping the family dinner due to a hangover, for example, or calling out of work sick)
  • You drink even though you know it's causing problems (such as going out with the boys every Friday even though your wife will be angry every Saturday)
  • You do dangerous things due to alcohol (like mixing alcohol with pain medications or driving while intoxicated)
  • Getting into legal problems over and over again (drunk driving charges, for example)
These symptoms of alcoholism may or may not indicate that you are an alcoholic but they do show there is a problem. Some people can abuse alcohol without becoming a full-blown alcoholic, at least for a period of time. That doesn't make it any less of a problem but may mean that it could be easier to stop drinking, if needed.

These are just some of the signs of alcohol dependence. Want a more accurate self-diagnosis? Maybe it's time to take an alcoholism test.

A person with true alcoholism will have alcoholic symptoms that stem from actual physical dependence on the alcohol. When you have to drink, you are an alcoholic.

Signs of physical dependence include needing more alcohol than you used to in order to get the same level of buzz and being unable to stop drinking even though you want to.

A symptom that most definitely points to alcohol dependence is alcoholic withdrawal (For more on withdrawals, read alcohol withdrawal symptoms.)

In the case of a true alcoholic, alcohol withdrawal symptoms will appear within 12 to 48 hours from your last drink and can include things like:

  • Trembling (the shakes)
  • Increased anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
Obviously, the further down the list you go, the more severe the alcoholic symptoms from withdrawal. Because these withdrawal symptoms can be quite dangerous, those with severe alcoholic symptoms are best hospitalized during the detox and rehab process. This will enable them to have round-the-clock medical attention in case it is needed.

Never attempt withdrawal from alcohol without first consulting a medical professional, alcohol withdrawals can be fatal.

The Right Time is Now!

Now is the time to get in control of your life again. If you are ready to live a sober and healthy life, help is always available. Please reach out to a treatment facility today to learn more about the alcoholism treatment programs you can take to improve your future.

If you or someone close to you wants help and advice on quitting drinking then take a look at the following pages:

Return From Alcoholic Symptoms To Alcohol Facts 

Return To Alcoholism Help Homepage

Lead Writer/Reviewer : Kayla Loibl

Licensed Medical Health Professional 


I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LCMHC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. Read More

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