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There are many alcohol addiction symptoms and signs. Part of the problem with alcohol is that it is a legal drug, so many people don’t consider it to be something you can get addicted to. Being an alcoholic, or being dependent on alcohol is also seen as less serious than being addicted to an illegal drug in some people’s eyes. Addiction is addiction. It doesn’t matter if you are using alcohol or another drug. Yes, alcohol is a drug. A drug is anything that has a psychological effect when entered into the body. So then, what is addiction?

What is Alcohol Addiction? Social Drinking vs Being Dependent on Alcohol

In simplest form, addiction means to be dependent on something and crave or feel a hunger for it when you don’t have it. If you are addicted to alcohol, then you may find yourself:

  • drinking more than you want to
  • not being able to stop even after negative affects on your life and health occur
  • feeling ill if it’s been a while since you had your last drink

Why is Alcohol Addiction a Big Deal?Alcohol Abuse is as Destructive as Any Other Drug

Alcohol abuse causes damage to health, self-esteem, employment, family and relationships – just like any other drug. The very fact that alcohol is not seen as serious as cocaine or fentanyl for example, makes it easier for the addict to deny or hide that there is a problem.

In other words, because alcohol is socially acceptable, it can be hard to determine if someone is socially drinking or has a dependency. Let’s take a look at the difference between social drinking and compulsive, binge or over-drinking on a regular basis.

Alcohol Addiction Symptoms – Social Drinking vs Dependency

Secret Drinking - Hiding Vodka in a Water Bottle

Secret Drinking – Hiding Vodka in a Water Bottle

Social drinking may include having a few drinks when out with friends and then discontinuing, even after arriving home. Having a beer on a hot day while working outside, having a few while watching a game with friends or having a couple drinks with a meal are not a causes for concern – unless there is an urge to keep drinking, especially after the person no longer wishes to.

Secret drinking, drinking with friends to the point of getting drunk more often than not, frequent hangovers, blackouts and lost days, feeling the urge to drink even when alone and drinking with each activity you do are all indications that something is wrong and that you either have an addiction or are developing one.

List of Alcohol Addiction Symptoms

Drinking alone or in secret to avoid recrimination / having "stash places"

Drinking alone or in secret to avoid recrimination / having “stash places”

Dependence or addiction to alcohol is not always as evident as another drug addiction. This list may help you come to terms with your own drinking habits, or raise concern for someone you know. There are of course many other negative affects. This list is only meant to help you identify a possible problem.

  • Missing work due to being hungover
  • Loss of control: drinking more than intended
  • Blacking out or forgetting what occurs when consuming alcohol
  • Problems at work including performance issues or being fired due to excessive absence
  • Emotional changes when drinking including violoent rages or depression
  • Neglecting other activities and avoiding or withdrawing friends and loved ones
  • Drinking alone or in secret to avoid recrimination / having “stash places”
  • Disappearing unexpectedly, possibly unexplained injuries
  • Lack of personal hygiene, weight changes
  • Drunk driving and trouble with the law

Canada’s Drinking Amount Guidelines for Men and Women

Anyone exceeding the suggested guidelines may be causing themselves long-term damage. Canada’s guidelines for safe levels of consumption can still have serious health consequences as well as indicate dependence or addiction. The guidelines for Canada’s drinking limits are as follows:

  • 10 drinks a week for women, with no more than 2 drinks a day most days
  • 15 drinks a week for men, with no more than 3 drinks a day most days

We Can Help – Understanding and Coming to Terms With Alcohol Addiction Symptoms and Signs

Being aware of the alcohol addiction signs and symptoms is the first step in helping you to identify a possible drinking problem, be it yours or someone that you know. Suffering from addiction is very common and is a treatable disease. Addiction permanently changes the way a person we can help. We assist people with the process of healing and getting on with their lives. Help is only a click or call away. It could save a life. 1-800-801-8354.

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