Worried About Your Drinking? 9 Alcoholism Symptoms to Watch For

Opportunities to drink are everywhere, from wine nights with friends to free drink tickets at networking events. However, it’s important to keep a close eye on your alcohol consumption because the line between casual drinking and alcoholism (also known as Alcohol Use Disorder or AUD) can blur quickly. Thankfully, there’s medicine for alcoholism (AUD) available and accessible. If you’re worried that you or someone you care about may show symptoms of alcoholism (or AUD), that in itself is a sign that it’s time to take a closer look at your drinking habits and seek help.

Master Center has been treating patients since 2016. In that time, we’ve helped thousands of patients with AUD that’s ranged from mild, to moderate to, severe. How the signs and symptoms present for each patient may be unique, but there are some identifiable patterns to look out for.

Understanding Alcoholism (Alcohol Use Disorder)

First and foremost, let’s define what alcoholism (or Alcohol Use Disorder) really is. AUD is a chronic disease marked by uncontrollable, compulsive, and frequent drinking behavior. An almost obsessive preoccupation with alcohol, as well as continued drinking despite its increasing negative effects, are its main notable symptoms.

To understand the symptoms of alcoholism (or AUD), you must recognize its complexity and impact on relationships. Treating AUD requires a holistic and compassionate approach with intervention, rehab, and support.

Why You Should Be Concerned

Besides health hazards like liver disease and increased risks of cancer, AUD can have serious negative effects on your personal and social lives, such as jeopardizing job security, ruining relationships, and stunting personal growth. The consequences of AUD are far-reaching and can have a snowball effect on all aspects of your life if not properly identified.

symptoms of alcoholism

The 9 Alcoholism (AUD) Symptoms

Here are nine AUD symptoms to help evaluate if drinking is becoming problematic. If you or someone you know exhibits several of these symptoms, it’s time to reach out to a specialist.

  1. Increasing tolerance to alcohol. 
  1. Withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is restricted.
  1. Failed attempts to quit drinking. 
  1. Drinking in dangerous or inappropriate situations.
  1. Constant preoccupation with drinking.
  1. Neglecting responsibilities.
  1. Neglecting friends, hobbies, or appearance.
  1. Lying about drinking.
  1. Increased isolation.

Physical Symptoms of Alcoholism (AUD)

  1. Tolerance: Do you increasingly need more alcohol to achieve the desired effects? Have you noticed the quantity of alcohol consumed is becoming more excessive compared to normal? If you answered yes to these questions, it’s an indicator of increasing tolerance to alcohol and is one of the first warning signs of AUD.
  1. Withdrawal Symptoms: If you’ve tried quitting but end up feeling even worse than before, this may indicate a physical, not just a psychological dependence on alcohol. Withdrawal signs can range from general anxiety symptoms to more severe symptoms like hallucinations or cardiac arrest, so it’s crucial to keep a lookout for any notable changes in your body or mood.
  1. Failed attempts to quit: If you’ve tried to quit drinking but can’t make it stick, this can be a symptom of a growing addiction that requires professional help.

Psychological Symptoms of Alcoholism (AUD)

  1. Drinking in dangerous or inappropriate situations: Drinking in situations where it would be a poor or dangerous idea can be a sign of AUD. Drinking at your child’s sports game, at work, before driving somewhere, or at sensitive family events are a just few examples of inappropriate scenarios.
  1. Preoccupied with drinking: If you find yourself worrying about your next drink, daydreaming about it, or trying to figure out how to hide your drinking from others, these are all indicators of an intense preoccupation with alcohol and could indicate deeper issues.

Behavioral Symptoms of Alcoholism (AUD)

  1. Neglected Responsibilities: Memory loss is a typical red flag and a potential sign of a drinking problem. Neglecting or forgetting important tasks or everyday responsibilities in exchange for drinking is a strong symptom of AUD.
  1. Neglecting Friends, Hobbies, or Appearance: Avoiding or neglecting the things you once enjoyed, such as friendships and hobbies, can indicate alcoholism as well. This also manifests in how you present yourself. Not taking proper care of your hygiene, clothing choices, or general appearance is an important thing to note in detecting alcoholism signs.
  1. Lying about Drinking: Consistently lying to loved ones about your drinking habits may indicate a deeper underlying issue.
  1. Isolation: Strained relationships can be a signal of AUD. Wanting to spend more time alone, especially time alone drinking, is another problematic behavioral sign.

Self-Assessment for AUD

These symptoms alone don’t confirm AUD. However, if several of these signs are present in your life, an evaluation might be something to consider. A self-diagnosis can give you an indication, but it’s still a good idea to consult a healthcare professional for a proper assessment. 

Here are some steps to get started if you recognize these symptoms:  

  • Find someone to talk to about your experience. Talk with a close friend or family member, check out a support group, speak with someone who is in recovery, or discuss your concerns with your primary care physician (PCP).  
  • Once you’ve found someone to chat with about your experience, make time to reflect on the perspective they shared with you.  
  • Learn about AUD and available treatment options. 
  • Get a medical consultation with an addiction specialist. 
  • If you are severely sick or unstable, go to the Emergency Department for evaluation. 

Concerned About Alcoholism (AUD)? Get a Consultation from Master Center for Addiction Medicine

Addiction is a chronic disease that can be treated, but never cured. And, when left untreated, AUD (like any substance use disorder) gets worse. If you have some of the symptoms listed above, you may be wondering if you really have an addiction or something else and what to do now – before things get worse.

If you’re feeling this way, it’s time to speak with an addiction specialist – the same way you might consult a specialist in heart disease or diabetes for those medical concerns. A specialist in addiction medicine can provide a proper diagnosis of addiction and recommend an appropriate treatment pathway.

Master Center offers consultation appointments, in which you’ll meet with a medical doctor, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner, often with years of experience and specialized training in treating addiction. Get the expert medical advice you need in a no-pressure environment and without committing to a long stay in rehab. Consultations are billed to your insurance and both private and discreet.

Seeking aid for alcohol dependency can be intimidating, but it’s the first step to restoring your health and well-being. Give us a call at 804.332.5950 to discuss your options.

About Master Center for Addiction Medicine

Master Center for Addiction Medicine is a groundbreaking addiction treatment program headquartered in Glen Allen, Va.  Based on a vision of comprehensive outpatient care, Master Center was launched in 2016 and now includes locations throughout the Commonwealth.

The Master Center offers a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach rarely seen in the outpatient setting, staffed by experienced addiction physicians, psychiatrists, counselors, therapists, and peer recovery coaches.  This evidence-based approach, both reliable and flexible, is meant to provide a physician-oriented response to addiction that can work seamlessly in the mainstream system of healthcare.