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What Are the Warning Signs of Alcoholism?

What Are the Warning Signs of Alcoholism?
July 5, 2024
by admin

Recognizing the negative changes in a friend or loved one can be unsettling, although when the observable actions begin to look like the warning signs of alcoholism, it’s concerning. What are the warning signs of alcoholism?

It’s good to have a solid grasp of the warning signs of alcoholism to be able to address the problem and know how to meet the possible denial that can occur. Alcohol abuse could begin in childhood or teen years and continue through young adulthood and the adult years. Empower yourself by educating yourself about alcoholism to encourage someone you love to seek treatment.  

Initial Warning Signs of Alcoholism

When determining the warning signs of alcoholism, understanding the risk factors for developing an alcohol use disorder is essential. When professionals diagnose an alcohol use disorder (AUD), they refer to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V-TR) to identify relatable factors.

The manual defines certain risk factors that predict an individual’s likelihood of developing an AUD. Professionals who diagnose the problem must take a full assessment to make a viable evaluation and design an individual detox program. 

Primary risk factors for developing an alcohol use disorder include:

  • Having an immediate family with a history of an alcohol use disorder
  • Living environments with frequent alcohol use (reinforces the use of sober living housing after treatment to reduce the risk of relapse)
  • Experiencing a traumatic event
  • Underage exposure and use of alcohol

After obtaining the personal risk factor information, the professional must refer to the manual to determine the warning signs of alcoholism. What are the warning signs of alcoholism? Symptoms and early behaviors of someone with an alcohol use disorder over the past 12 months must be present to diagnose the problem correctly. There are 2 defining levels of symptoms: early alcoholism and advanced.

Early and Advanced Stages of Alcoholism

The early signs and symptoms of early alcoholism include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Frequent use of alcohol, even in places where drinking may be inappropriate
  • Engaging in unhealthy drinking patterns, like binge drinking
  • Drinking alcohol alone frequently
  • Having conflicts with friends, family, or significant others due to alcohol use
  • Alcohol interrupts normal activities or hobbies
  • Lifestyle problems occur due to alcohol use

Any of the following signs or symptoms may be applicable for advanced-stage alcoholism: 

  • Negative alcohol-related consequences, such as DUI or losing a job due to alcoholism
  • Advanced organ disease due to alcoholism, such as liver disease or stroke
  • Drinking alcohol to become intoxicated due to stress
  • Drinking at any time of day or night
  • Attempts to hide alcohol-drinking habits
  • Individuals unable to stop drinking or have no desire to stop drinking despite the consequences
  • Lack of self-care
  • High-risk behaviors because of intoxication
  • Dishonesty about alcohol use
  • Behavior and personality changes

Untreated Signs of Alcoholism

After asking the initial question, what are the warning signs of alcoholism, and learning the risk factors and signs and symptoms, it is essential to know what can happen without treatment and recovery. According to The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, thousands of young adults die each year in the US due to injuries from alcohol-related car accidents.

In 2022, 1,519 college students ages 18 to 24 and 2,586 individuals the same age died from alcohol-related accidents. What are the warning signs of alcoholism in teens and young adults? Risky behaviors due to intoxication are perhaps the most notable, as alcohol-related sexual assaults are often underreported, although 1 in 5 college women experience sexual assault in college. 

Short and Long-Term Effects of Alcoholism

Excessive drinking of alcohol is dangerous and can lead to adverse health problems at any age. It is essential to take action once the obvious signs of alcohol show themselves. Injuries occur due to a lack of coordination or impairment of thought processes, leading to car accidents, falls, drownings, and burns. In short, there is a constant threat of alcohol poisoning and overdose. For women who are pregnant, miscarriage, stillbirth, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder are threats from alcoholism. 

The long-term effects of alcoholism directly impact physical health and include the development of several forms of cancer. The CDC indicates that more than 20,000 people die from alcohol-related cancers each year in the United States. High blood pressure, heart and liver disease, stroke, digestive issues, and alcohol use disorder are just examples. Furthermore, mental health conditions, learning problems, relationship dysfunctions, and memory issues have long-term social and wellness effects. 

Warning Signs of Alcoholism in Specific Groups

What are the warning signs of alcoholism for adults? When recognizing changes in the consumption of alcohol use, it’s essential to be honest with yourself. Have you been drinking more than usual over the past year? Do you experience cravings for alcohol? Alcohol-related issues with employment, relationships, and school, as well as personal relationships, are signs of alcoholism in adults. 

Warning Signs of Alcoholism in A Spouse

What are the warning signs of alcoholism in a spouse? An increase in relationship problems often occurs with alcoholism, and many of the responsibilities the spouse carries are left undone. Alcoholism can hurt finances, spurn infidelity, and affect parenting duties. Family members who are unsure how to cope with the problem may enable the spouse to continue drinking without understanding the ramifications. 

Warning Signs of Alcoholism in Teens and Young Adults

What are the warning signs of alcoholism in teens and young adults? A high percentage of youth 12 to 20 drink 3.2% of all alcohol consumed in the United States, according to The National Insitute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

In 2020, binge drinking took place 5 or more days in 646,000 youth ages 12-20. Stress, peer pressure, and newly found independence are reasons for teen drinking. Changes in eating and sleeping habits, a change in friends, extreme emotional responses, and an increase in feeling unwell are signs to look for. 

The Effects of Severe Alcoholism

Typically, severe alcoholism renders an individual unable to have healthy relationships, maintain independence in lifestyle, and have many physical problems. Cognitive and memory deficiencies are extreme. Health conditions like liver and kidney disease can occur. Families and friends may need to intervene and support the loved one with an intervention to propose addiction treatment. 


Professional medical detox is the first step to rid the body of alcohol. Detoxification from alcohol abuse is a serious process that needs constant medical supervision and, in some cases, medication-assisted treatment. Gender-specific sober living for men and women is an excellent option after detox and treatment. 

Don’t Ignore the Warning Signs of Alcoholism in Your Loved One 

It is a challenging problem to address when a loved one is displaying the signs and symptoms of an alcohol use disorder. The Ascension House in Texas understands how difficult it is for individuals to experience sobriety after detoxing from alcohol. Having a plan for the future helps prevent relapse, and providing a sober living environment is an added protective measure.

Contact The Ascension House today to hear more about their sober living options.