Alcoholism today looks different than it did 25 years ago because of the drugs that have become so accessible in society in recent years. Those who have an obsessive-compulsive personality, find they can easily add street drugs to the alcohol they consume to produce the desired effect.

Thirty years ago, true alcoholics stuck strictly to their drink of choice, whether it was gin, vodka or whiskey. Alcohol alone doesn’t work as quickly as alcohol combined with street drugs, so combining the two has become popular. Just drinking alcohol often led the abusers to drink for decades before realizing they had hit their bottom with the signs of being a real alcoholic.

No one can say that drugs are good for the alcoholic, but because of their chemical composition and their accessibility, they do accelerate the alcoholism signs. Now, the drinker can see that they are going downhill at a much earlier age. If you can easily identify with two or more of these alcoholism signs no matter what your age, help is just a phone call away.

The 12 Signs of Alcoholism to Identify Alcoholism

Since drugs are being combined with drinking, many abusive drinkers are discovering that they have this obsessive disease of “more,” at a much younger age, and if treated and they are in recovery, they have their whole lives ahead of them. If not, unfortunately, extreme consequences such as jails, institutions, and death will be in their future. The consequences don’t stop until recovery takes over.

In 2012, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimated there were over 17 million people over the age of 18 who came to the conclusion that they had the diagnosable disorder of alcoholism. This disease is like other chronic diseases, except that unless it is treated, it will kill you. The user must be the one to diagnose themselves; no one but the drinker can diagnose you as an alcoholic!

Signs of alcoholism may be obvious for those people around the drinker, but for the drinker, they may be difficult to see. Here are the top 12 signs of alcoholism, which will guide you in deciding if you have alcoholism.

1) As the result of drinking, you have blackouts or can’t remember what happened when drinking.

2) You have had legal issues, such as being arrested for DUIs or shoplifting either when drinking or because of it.

3) Do you drink before or while driving a car thinking that you are not affected?

4) Close relationships get in the way of your drinking, and they are “not the same” as they used to be.

5) You postpone or give up completely other activities to drink more.

6) You find it impossible to quit drinking or control how much you drink at any one time.

7) Do your friends or family members comment on your drinking?

8) Have you found you are having more problems at work or school because of your drinking, including not being prepared, being late or not going at all?

9) You need to drink more or longer to get the same effect you used to get?

10) Do you continue to drink even when diagnosed with a serious health problem?

11) Do you get sick during or after drinking; this is a physical sign that your body is rejecting the alcohol being put into it.

12) Despite seeing negative characteristics, do you keep drinking as you watch your relationships and physical problems get worse?

Alcoholism signs may not look the same for everybody, but many people who spend a lot of time drinking and recovering from the drink can relate to most of the signs. Scientific studies show that if a drinker experiences two or more than two of these symptoms within a year, alcoholism is evident. No two individuals are the same though. Each person relates to the specific life experiences, but the diagnosis is still untreated alcoholism. Young people are equally as susceptible to the symptoms, and in 2012, there were almost 855,000 young people diagnosed with this disorder.

Identifying the Problem

Seeing the alcoholism signs in black and white may be what it takes to make you aware of the symptoms and that there might be a problem. It is not important to compare where you drink, the amount you drink or who you drink with because two people can go out drinking on a Saturday night. They drink equal amounts, and one gets “wasted” while the other one still appears in control. Individual tolerance varies, so drinkers have to only look at their own situations.

Some alcoholics are binge drinkers; they go for days or weeks in between drinking episodes, but when they do drink, they lose control and act with the same risky behavior that the everyday drinker exhibits. An alcoholic simply wants more and more alcohol, unable to stop showing little regard for the consequences. This is considered risky behavior, also, because the one drinking may act irresponsibly before, during and after drinking alcohol, presenting harm to themselves or others.

Here’s a thought: normal drinkers don’t ever worry about what they drink as they typically only have one or two and then stop. They have had enough – they do not want more. They rarely ask Why?

Making excuses or hiding your drinking is very common with alcoholics because they find that they feel guilty or their irresponsible behavior has gotten extreme. The physical toll that comes after years of abuse including weight loss or redness of the face is typical. If these alcoholism signs have made sense to you in your life, don’t worry. You don’t have to keep trying to pretend everything’s alright; there is a solution.