Symptoms of an Alcoholic: Self-Assessment

It can be very difficult to accept when alcohol has become problematic in your life as it is often a huge part of an individual’s social life. Drinking alcohol with friends and family is an acceptable method of socialising and one that is actively encouraged here in the UK. Many people drink more than the recommended weekly amount of alcohol though and are therefore risking their health. They are also risking addiction, but a significant number fail to recognise the symptoms of an alcoholic in themselves. There are many reasons for this.


The picture that most have of what an alcoholic looks like is often very different from reality. Most people believe that alcoholics are always drunk, are dishevelled, drink alone, and are estranged from their families. The truth is that many individuals are so different from this profile that they cannot even recognise the signs in themselves.

Since they have good jobs, nice homes, and families that love them, these people cannot comprehend the fact that they could have an addiction. In their mind, they are the furthest thing possible from what an alcoholic is perceived to be.

Others may have their suspicions that alcohol has become a problem in the affected person’s life, but the individual in question is unwilling or unable to admit it. He or she lives in denial because to do so is easier than admit there is an issue. To pretend as if nothing is wrong is preferable to admitting that they have a problem that requires them getting help. Many are just not ready to give up alcohol and will become defensive and angry at the suggestion that he or she is drinking too much.

Recognising the Symptoms of an Alcoholic

If you are worried about whether you have a problem with alcohol, you need to take some time out and examine your drinking habits. If friends and family members have questioned you about your drinking, the chances are you are drinking more than you should be. If this is the case, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you go out of your way to arrange family events that involve alcohol?
  • Do you prefer not to spend time with your family unless there will be alcohol present?
  • Do you hide the amount of alcohol that you drink from your loved ones?
  • Do you need to drink more than you used to in order to get drunk?
  • Do you drink alcohol at home for a head start before meeting up with your friends or family members?
  • Do you try to get a few extra drinks in when it is your turn to go to the bar without the others knowing?
  • Do you spend your days at work thinking about when you get home so that you can have a drink?
  • Do you reach for alcohol the moment you get in from work?
  • Are you often unable to remember parts of the night when you have been drinking?
  • Have your loved ones expressed concerns about the amount of alcohol you are drinking?
  • Do you lie about the amount of alcohol you drink to stop loved ones making comments?
  • Do you feel guilty about your alcohol consumption?
  • Do you find that you cannot stop drinking once you start?
  • Do you want to continue drinking when others are ready to go home?
  • Is your drinking having an adverse impact on your work, relationships, finances?
  • Do you continue to drink despite knowing it will cause negative consequences?

Answering yes to some or all of the above questions could indicate a problem with alcohol. The above are a few behavioural signs that many individuals with alcoholism experience. It is often the case that those with an alcohol addiction do not realise when their drinking has progressed from social or moderate drinking to habitual drinking or full-blown dependence.

Alcoholism is a progressive illness that occurs over an extended period of time. While there is no safe limit of alcohol consumption in terms of health, those who drink within the recommended guidelines have less chance of developing an addiction.

Increased Tolerance

Alcoholism always begins with experimentation. The first time a person has an alcoholic drink is usually by choice. If he or she then likes the taste or the effects alcohol produces, this person may choose to drink again. While the individual can exact a measure of control over whether they have a drink or not, he or she is not in danger of developing an addiction.

Unfortunately, the more a person drinks, though, the more his or her body gets used to the effects. He or she is now said to have built up an increased tolerance to the effects of the alcohol. This means that this individual needs to drink more in order to get the desired effects.

After a while, their control over their drinking is affected. He or she may find that they are compelled to drink, even if doing so will cause problems in their lives. The person is unable to quit drinking once they start, only stopping when there is no more alcohol to drink or when everyone else is ready to go home.

Alcoholism causes people to drink even when they do not want to. Upon developing a physical dependence, the affected person will experience a host of symptoms when not drinking. These can include tremors, sweating, nausea, vomiting and headaches. It is not long before the alcoholic learns that these symptoms will soon subside when he or she drinks alcohol, and so the cycle continues.

Help for Alcoholism

The biggest step an alcoholic can take on the road to recovery is accepting that he or she has a problem and acknowledging that help is required to rectify this. Nevertheless, it can be hard to spot the symptoms of an alcoholic in oneself.

It often takes an ultimatum from friends or family or a health warning from a doctor before a person with alcoholism will finally accept the truth of their situation. Others may get to that point on their own when they have a sudden realisation that they no longer want to live under the cloud of addiction.

Nonetheless, if you get to that point, it is important to note that help is available. Here at, we can provide you with a free, comprehensive assessment of your illness and can put you in touch with a suitable provider who will help you to overcome your addiction. Contact us today for more information on how we can assist you.

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