Symptom of Alcohol Abuse

By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited: September 12, 2020 | 4 Sources

Do You Have An Alcohol Abuse Problem?

Many people think the most common symptom of alcohol abuse is that someone drinks every day.

Symptom of Alcohol Abuse

Others think the most common symptom is that someone drinks very large amounts at one time. The truth is, though, that while many people with an alcohol abuse problem do drink every day and many do drink very large amounts, not all do. The one symptom of alcohol abuse that defines a real drinking problem is if your use of alcohol is interfering with your daily life.

We can give you some information to help you determine if you have an alcohol problem, but we can’t diagnose you or recommended appropriate treatment over the internet. If you think you might have a problem with alcohol, we encourage you to see a professional for evaluation.

How Do You Know if You Have an Alcohol Abuse Problem?

There’s no single symptom of alcohol abuse that will tell you if you have a problem. Instead, ask yourself the following questions and be honest.

  • Has your drinking contributed to any problems in your marriage, or in relationships with family or friends? For instance, do you get into arguments about your drinking or do you have arguments when you’ve been drinking?
  • Have you had problems at work or school because of your drinking? For instance, have you missed work or school due to being drunk or hung over? Have you shown up for work or school under the influence of alcohol? Has your drinking affected your performance at school or on the job?
  • Have you engaged in any risky behavior while under the influence of alcohol? Risky behavior includes driving when you’ve been drinking. 
  • Have you had any legal problems related to your drinking, including arrests for driving while intoxicated (DWI)?
  • Do you have any health problems related to alcohol, such as liver problems, ulcers, high blood pressure, or vitamin deficiencies? If you’re not sure if you have any alcohol-related health problems or not, make an appointment with your doctor to find out.
  • Do you have any psychological issues that might be related to alcohol use, like depression, anxiety, or mood swings?

What if You Think You Might Have an Alcohol Abuse Problem?

Talk with your doctor or make an appointment with an addictions counselor to talk about your concerns. He or she will assess you for any symptom of alcohol abuse and then recommend an appropriate treatment plan, if needed, based on your unique needs.

What if You Think Someone You Care about Might Have an Alcohol Problem?

You can’t make someone else see a doctor or talk to a counselor, but you can encourage your loved one to do so. Don’t nag, though; nagging seldom works and often ends up backfiring by causing the other person to dig in his heels and resist even more.

If your loved one needs help finding a doctor or counselor, you can assist him with that, but don’t take on all the responsibility for getting help for someone else. You can also go with him to see a doctor or counselor, if he’d like you to go, but remember that your role is to support him, not to do the work for him.

If your loved one doesn’t want to get help, you can still get help for yourself. Talking to a counselor or attending Al-Anon meetings can help you deal with your feelings about your loved one’s alcohol abuse and can help you make decisions about whether or not you can stay in a relationship with an alcoholic.

There are also dedicated treatment providers who can help both you and the alcoholic you’re in a relationship with, on the best course of action to help him/her overcome alcohol addiction.

Return from Symptom of Alcohol Abuse to Signs of Alcoholism.

Return from Symptom of Alcohol Abuse 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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