Early Signs of Being an Alcoholic

There are a range of early symptoms of alcoholism. This disease is quite common in the United States. In America, 17.6 million people drink an excess of alcohol or are dependent on alcohol; this is 1 in 12 adults, notes the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcoholism has serious health consequences. The Centers for Disease Control reports in America abusing alcohol is the third leading cause of death due to lifestyle decisions.

Craving Alcohol

Craving alcohol all the time and making excuses to find ways to drink is an early sign of alcoholism. If the craving to acquire alcohol comes before important activities such as work and relationships, it is an indication of a drinking problem.

Loss of Control

Another early sign of alcoholism is a loss of control once drinking begins. Being unable to stop drinking is often a sign that alcoholism is going to be a life problem.


Guilt over drinking is another clue to alcoholism. If you have guilt over drinking, you know the drinking you are doing is damaging and yet it continues.


Getting angry at people who criticize the amount or frequency of your drinking is another sign of alcoholism. When you get defensive at comments about your drinking, especially if you drink while ill or pregnant, it is a sign that drinking habits are becoming dangerous.

Drinking Alone or Before Social Events

Drinking alone or drinking before social events are another early sign of alcoholism. Using alcohol as a tool to get through the day or an event is dangerous behavior.

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking, especially if done to the point of blackout, is an early warning sign of alcoholism. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism considers binge drinking that which results in a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 or higher. Consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short time period is very detrimental to the health.

Behavioral Changes

Strong behavioral changes while drinking show an early hint of alcoholism. If violence occurs while drunk, this behavior is an indicator of the start of alcoholism.

Drinking Upon Rising

Starting the day with a drink, planning the day around drinking and being secretive about alcohol use are all early signs of alcoholism.

About this Author

Julia Bodeeb started online writing in 2007. She also worked on staff in medical publishing for more than a decade as a reporter, managing editor and in book acquisitions. She won a Pulitzer Center Global Issues/Citizen Voices Award in 2008. Bodeeb has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Monmouth University and postgraduate credits in psychology and law.