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Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances and can have devastating effects on the mind, body and relationships. Indeed, if alcohol were invented today, it would probably be classed as an illegal Class A drug. If you are concerned that you or someone you know is addicted to alcohol, there are many signs to look out for.
Signs of alcohol addiction

If you experience any of these, you may have a dependency on alcohol:
  • A strong desire or sense of compulsion to drink
  • Difficulties in controlling drinking behaviour in terms of its onset, termination or levels of use
  • A physiological withdrawal state when alcohol use is stopped or reduced (see our section on alcohol withdrawal symptoms)
  • Blackouts
  •  Evidence of tolerance, such as increased levels of drinking being required in order to achieve effects originally produced by lower levels of alcohol
  • Progressive neglect of alternative pleasures or interests because of drinking, increased amount of time necessary to obtain or take alcohol, or to recover from its effects
  • Persisting with drinking despite clear evidence of overtly harmful consequences, such as damageto the liver, depressive mood states or impairment of cognitive functioning 
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms

If you are alcohol dependent, you may start to develop withdrawal symptoms between 3 and 8 hours after your last drink. Withdrawal symptoms include tremors and shaking, feeling sick, nausea and vomiting, anxiety, restlessness, mood swings and cravings for alcohol.
Physical signs of alcohol addiction
  • Broken capillaries and puffiness in the facial area
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea or consipation
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Loss of libido 

Physiological signs of alcohol addiction

  • Memory problems and inability to concentrate
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Moodiness and irritability
  • Feeling unable to cope and overwhelmed
  • Loneliness
  • Low self-esteem
  • No motivation
  • Decreased appetite
  • Isolation from others
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and socialising
  • Procrastination and neglect of responsibilities 
Warning signs that someone you know is addicted to alcohol

If you’re worried that someone close to you has an alcohol dependency, look out for the following signs:
  • Smell of alcohol on breath, body or clothes
  • Hiding alcohol in the house/car/workplace
  • Changing routines
  • Avoiding old friends, and making new friends who are heavy drinkers
  • Opting out of social events or family occasions
  • Disappearing for long periods of time
  • Precious items or money going missing

If you’re concerned that you or someone close to you is addicted to alcohol, contact us on 0800 44 88 688 for confidential help and all the support you need. 

0800 44 88 688