Am I an Alcoholic? 10 Signs You May Have a Substance Abuse Problem

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Alcohol is a common thing in our lives. We drink it to relax, de-stress, or to celebrate.

But if you find yourself asking “am I an alcoholic,” then you might have a bad relationship with alcohol. Most people can drink alcohol responsibly, but a small percentage of the population doesn’t know when to stop.

If any of the following points apply to you, then you might have a problem with drinking.

1. You’ve Had Trouble with the Law

When drinking starts to become a problem, many people have issues with the law. Maybe you’ve been arrested for a DWI. Or maybe you’ve been arrested for public intoxication.

Getting in trouble with the law once or twice while you’re drinking isn’t all that uncommon, especially during your college years. But if you keep having problems with the law well into your adult life, it could indicate you have a drinking problem that needs addressing.

2. Lying to Others

If you find that you need to tell lies to other people in your life to cover up your drinking habits, it suggests you have a problem. Addicts often lie to justify and get away with their behavior.

The lies will start small, so catch yourself in the act before it’s too late. For example, if you lie about how many drinks you’ve had, it could indicate that you’re developing drinking issues.

3. Drinking Alone

It’s one thing to drink a case of beer with your friends, but it’s another to drink a whole case of beer to yourself. It’s rare for someone who doesn’t have a drinking problem to get intoxicated alone.

When you drink alone at home, it means your habits will become harder to control. The boundary between your drinking and home life gets weaker, and it gets easier for your drinking to spiral out of control.

4. A High Tolerance

Do you find you can drink a lot more than you used to without getting drunk? When you start to build up a higher tolerance, it means you’re drinking so much that your body doesn’t get the chance to revert back to a normal level of tolerance.

Of course, you’ll gain a tolerance as you grow older, but a lot of that’s down to psychological tolerance. Physiologically, your tolerance goes down as you age. So if you can drink a six-pack of beer and not get drunk, you might have a problem.

5. Drinking Every Day

This might sound like an obvious one, but a lot of people who start drinking every day don’t seem to realize that this makes you an alcoholic. If you have a healthy relationship with alcohol, you’d almost never drink multiple days in a row. Even if you’re having a beer or two, feeling the urge to drink every day suggests you might have a problem with alcohol.

6. Not Knowing When to Stop

When you have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, you might not be able to stop yourself once you start drinking. Everyone gets too drunk every now and then, but if drinking to the point that blacking out is the norm, you’re taking things too far.

For many alcoholics, it’s not possible to drink in moderation; every time you start, it gets out of hand. Not only is this bad for your physical wellbeing, but it could also land you in some serious trouble. Those who are in control of their drinking have the ability to set limits for themselves and not exceed them.

7. Frequent Blackouts

Most people don’t suffer from alcohol blackouts very often. For many, they’ll have one or two blackouts in their college years and then they’ll stop getting drunk to that point.

For non-alcoholics, blackouts can be an intense and scary experience. For alcoholics, on the other hand, blackouts become a mundane part of their everyday life. If you find yourself thinking blackouts are not that big of a deal, it’s a pretty clear indicator that your drinking has gone too far.

8. Taking Risks

When you have a drinking problem, your sense of risk can be greatly impaired. For example, you might choose to drink and drive.

Quite often, drinkers experience changes to their personality both while they’re drunk and while they’re hungover. If you choose to drive home drunk, you should take that as a warning sign that you need to reevaluate your drinking habits.

Perhaps this time you were lucky enough not to cause an accident. But when you keep drinking and driving, it’s only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.

9. Your Appearance Has Changed

When someone’s drinking gets out of control, it often becomes apparent in their physical appearance. Heavy drinkers might have bags under their eyes and they might be consistently unshaven and unkempt.

If you find you’re shocked by your physical appearance when you look in the mirror, it could be an indicator that you have a problem with alcohol.

10. Shame

When your drinking gets out of control, you’re likely to feel a sense of shame about your drinking. You might try to tell yourself that everyone has this kind of relationship with alcohol, but this isn’t true.

Most people can enjoy a night out without feeling a sense of shame and regret the following morning. If you feel this way, it suggests you need to reevaluate your drinking habits.

So, Am I an Alcoholic?

If you’ve asked yourself “am I an alcoholic” and you feel like some of these points apply to you, you need to strongly consider getting help. If you’re seriously addicted to alcohol, you might need to withdraw from it under medical supervision. Unlike other drugs, alcohol withdrawals can sometimes be so serious that they’re fatal.

If you’ve been seriously drinking for a while, then we highly recommended you enroll in an inpatient detox program. By taking this first step in recovery, you can regain control over your life. We also recommend medication assisted treatment to help you with alcohol cravings.

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