How Do I Know If I Have A Drinking Problem?

Are you drinking too much? Are you worried about alcohol abuse or alcoholism? Here are the signs of problem drinking.

Are you drinking too much?  Are you worried about alcohol abuse or alcoholism? Here are the signs of problem drinking.It's a common question. How do you know if you have a drinking problem? Drinking alcohol is a problem if it causes trouble in your relationships, at work or in school, in social activities, or in how you think and feel.

The signs of alcohol abuse

  1. The need to drink before confronting certain situations
  2. Frequent intoxication
  3. A steady increase in the amount of alcohol consumed
  4. Solitary drinking
  5. Early morning drinking
  6. Denial of drinking
  7. Family disruptions over drinking
  8. Blackouts or temporary amnesia
  9. Continuing to drink despite adverse consequences from drinking

If you're still not sure if you have a problem with drinking alcohol, take this alcohol screening test. And check this out if you're interested in learning how to cut down on your drinking.

What is the difference between alcohol abuse and alcoholism?

Alcohol abuse differs from alcoholism in that it does not include an extremely strong craving for alcohol, loss of control, or physical dependence. In addition, alcohol abuse is less likely than alcoholism to include tolerance (the need for increasing amounts of alcohol to get high).

Problem drinking can be successfully treated with brief intervention by primary care physicians. Alcohol addiction is a lifelong disease with a relapsing, remitting course.

Alcoholism is an addictive dependency on alcohol characterized by:

  1. craving (a strong need to drink)
  2. loss of control (being unable to stop drinking)
  3. physical dependence and alcohol withdrawal symptoms
  4. tolerance (increasing difficulty of becoming drunk)

Alcoholism is a type of drug dependence. There is both physical and psychological dependence on alcohol. Alcoholism is a primary, chronic, progressive, and sometimes fatal disease due to the habitual use of alcohol; often described as any "harmful use" of alcohol--meaning the alcoholic continues to drink despite recurrent social, personal, physical, or legal consequences as a result of their alcohol use.


  • DSM IV - American Psychiatric Association
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • American Family Physician (Feb. 1, 2002 issue)


APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2009, January 2). How Do I Know If I Have A Drinking Problem?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Last Updated: January 14, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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