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Am I An Alcoholic? Signs You’re Addicted

Am I an alcoholic? According to Google Trends data, 384 Americans asked their search bar that question during the last 30 days. Certainly, many more asked inside their heads and hearts. In short, if you’re questioning your relationship with alcohol, you are not alone. Especially after the rise in drinking during COVID lockdowns, it seems like more Americans than ever are asking themselves if they really need to drink so much. But how do you know if you have a problem with substance abuse? What are the signs you’re addicted?

What is Alcoholism?

In 2016, then-Surgeon General described addiction this way: “It is not a moral failing, or evidence of a character flaw, but a chronic disease of the brain that deserves our compassion and care.” Indeed, although it hasn’t always been that way, doctors today generally accept that addiction — and alcohol abuse in particular — is a disease of the brain that can be treated. In fact, alcohol use disorder is listed in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — the standard guide that doctors use to diagnose mental illnesses. 

In the DSM-V, there is a list of symptoms typical among people with alcohol use disorder (the technical name for what we commonly call alcoholism). The number of signs of alcoholism exhibited by an individual, the more severe their problem with alcohol is. Click here to read the signs of alcoholism as described by the DSM-V.

Physical Signs of Alcoholism

More generally, there are signs that you can observe as a lay person. For example, alcohol abuse can take a toll on your body. If you’re suffering from weight gain, sweating, shakiness, liver problems, memory issues, or nausea, alcohol could be to blame. Of course, if a doctor tells you to cut back on your drinking, that’s a sign that it’s already gone too far.

Emotional Signs of Alcoholism

Alcohol has many negative emotional side effects, as well. Despite the way it has been marketed through the years, alcohol is a depressant that can make you feel lonely, ashamed, melancholy, guilty, or just plain sad. In some people, it also can trigger anxiety, aggression, paranoia, and impulsivity. If you have been suffering from any of these emotional issues, cutting back on drinking could help.

Mental Signs of Alcoholism

As a brain disease, alcoholism rewrites the pathways in your mind and causes a serious impact on the brain’s operations. Above all, alcohol use disorder causes a compulsion to drink more — even when you know it’s not good for you. Obsessing over your next drink is also a sign that the disease has taken root. 

Of course, one of the most common signs of alcoholism is denial. So, if you’re wondering if you have a problem — or if a loved one does — consider asking a trusted friend, advisor, or medical professional for their opinion.

How to Quit Drinking Safely 

If you call our caring admissions team, they will listen to your story and provide any information you may need on appropriate next steps. Entering residential addiction treatment is a big decision, and they’ll make sure it’s one you feel absolutely confident in making. If that’s not your final decision, we can provide recommendations for more flexible addiction treatment options like PHP and IOP, or even other facilities altogether. The important thing is that you start the path to recovery.