Menu Close

Rehab Blog

Providing Trusted, Evidence-Based
Treatment for Three Decades and Counting

If you or a loved one is experiencing addiction, we’re here to help.

Warning Signs of an Alcohol Use Problem

a person with an alcohol use problem holds their head in a sunlit hallway

Alcohol addiction doesn’t have to control your or a loved one’s life. Lots of people live long, healthy lives in recovery. You can join them. Learn the warning signs of an alcohol use problem so that you know how to respond when you recognize a loved one is struggling. By offering help or getting help for yourself, you can save a life.

Finding an alcohol rehab center that can provide support during the early stages of withdrawal and rehab can improve the chances of a successful recovery. Learn more about the signs of an alcohol use problem from the staff at Michael’s House in Palm Springs, California, by calling 760.548.4032 today.

Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction has several behavioral, genetic, and physical signs. Some of the most significant include the following:

Drinking Despite Consequences

For many people, drinking does not lead to an alcohol use problem or dependence. However, for millions of others, it does. Some people find that they continue to drink no matter the consequences and no matter how much they want to stop. This is one of the key signs of alcohol use disorder.

Families and the Genetic Warning Signs of a Drinking Problem

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) explains that genes are responsible for nearly half your risk of alcohol use disorder. If a parent, sibling, or other family member struggles with alcohol abuse or addiction, take it as a warning sign.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) explains that when one member of a family drinks too much, others may end up drinking too much as well. Drugs and alcohol may seem like a good way, or even the only way, to cope with the stress of the situation. However, more alcohol use isn’t the answer to any alcohol abuse situation. Treatment can help whole families begin to heal, no matter their past or present.

Physical Warnings Signs of Alcohol Use and Addiction

Alcohol abuse can cause some physical, visible effects, like a red face and nose.

Physical signs of alcohol use disorder, aside from withdrawal symptoms, can also include the following:

  • Broken capillaries on the nose and face
  • Yellowing of the eyes and skin indicating liver damage
  • Breath that smells of alcohol on a consistent basis
  • A marked decrease in attention to personal hygiene, like showering and dental care
  • Notable weight loss or weight gain
  • Dry skin
  • Brittle hair and fingernails
  • A flushed appearance

Alcohol damages the body, wears down organs, and diminishes overall health and appearance. Don’t ignore physical warning signs—they can be clear, obvious warnings of an alcohol use problem.

Behavioral Warning Signs of a Drinking Problem

Drinking is a socially accepted activity often encouraged by friends, family members, and the media. This sometimes makes it hard to spot drinking problems at first. However, changes in a person’s words, actions, and social interactions, can act as warning signs.

Some of the following thoughts, actions, and interactions can indicate a drinking problem:

  • Relationship issues – An alcohol use problem can lead to consequences in professional, personal, and romantic relationships.
  • Comments from others – Comments and concerns about your drinking can indicate an alcohol abuse problem. Rather than respond with frustration and irritation, seriously consider their words.
  • Opinions from medical professionals –. Doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, and psychologists know the signs of a substance use problem. Take their opinions and concerns seriously.
  • Cravings – Feeling like you “need” alcohol to feel good physically or feel good or relax mentally can be a sign of a developing problem.
  • Blackouts – A warning sign of a drinking problem is being unable to remember the previous night, sometimes even on nights when you claimed you were going to “take it easy” in regards to drinking.

When a person is abusing alcohol, they may have some problems meeting their responsibilities at work or at home. They may engage in risky behaviors, such as driving while intoxicated. They could also begin to have legal problems that are a result of their drinking, like getting arrested for driving drunk.

Alcohol Abuse vs. Dependence vs. Addiction

Alcohol dependence, abuse, and addiction aren’t the same thing. People who abuse alcohol will drink in excess, but they may not be physically dependent and may only display some signs of a problem. A person who is physically or psychologically dependent on alcohol may not yet be addicted. However, creating clear, distinct lines between these categories isn’t necessary—addiction treatment centers offer support for people struggling with alcohol at all levels.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Michael’s House

When you see alcohol use warning signs in yourself or a loved one, it’s time to get help. The sooner you speak up, the sooner you can avoid or reverse the consequences of alcohol abuse or addiction. It’s never too early or too late. Anyone can find recovery at any time. All it takes is noticing warning signs and reaching out to professional resources like Michael’s House in Palm Springs, California. Call 760.548.4032 or complete this confidential online form now.