Signs you might have a drinking problem

The first step to getting help for a drinking problem is actually recognising that you have one. There are some signs that you might have a problem with alcohol, but it’s also worthwhile asking yourself a few questions about your reasons for drinking. Facing the facts can be pretty tough, but it’s courageous to step up and decide you need help to control your alcohol intake.

This can help if:

  • You're regularly binge drinking
  • You're having blackouts
  • You drink when you’re alone
  • Other people are worried about your drinking habits 
  • You have an increased tolerance to alcohol and drugs
silhouette of girl sipping drink

Signs of alcohol dependence

It's not always easy to tell when you have a drinking problem, particularly as binge drinking is a pretty common activity in Australia. You might not always notice when a couple of drinks has turned into too many. 

The fact that you’re thinking about whether you have a problem is a good start and there are some signs of alcohol dependence that you can look out for:

  • Worrying about when you’ll be able to have your next drink
  • Suffering from withdrawal symptoms like sweating, nausea or insomnia as a result of not drinking alcohol
  • Needing to drink more and more alcohol to get drunk
  • Drinking alcohol, or desiring to drink alcohol, when you wake up in the morning
  • Consuming alcohol regularly on your own, or trying to hide your alcohol consumption from those around you
  • Relationships with friends or family are being affected by your drinking

Ask yourself some questions

A couple of questions that people who work in the field of alcohol addiction often ask people include…

  • Do you drink because you have problems or to relax?
  • Do you drink when you get mad at other people, including your friends or parents?
  • Do you prefer to drink alone, rather than with other people?
  • Is your work or education suffering as a result of your drinking?
  • Have you ever tried to stop drinking or to drink less and found that you can’t?
  • Do you drink in the morning, before school or work?
  • Do you gulp your drinks?
  • Do you ever have loss of memory due to your drinking?
  • Do you lie about how much or how often you drink?
  • Do you ever get into trouble when you’re drinking?
  • Do you get drunk when you drink, even when you don't mean to?
  • Do other people comment about your drinking and think it’s a problem?

If you answer yes to any one of these questions, it’s possible that you have a problem with alcohol.

Facing the facts

Facing up to the fact that you might have a problem takes courage. Deciding to take control and get some help is a really brave move, and if you do feel you have a problem, getting help can be the best thing ever.

The easiest and quickest way to get help is to talk to someone about it, whether it’s a friend, family member, doctor or counsellor. The sooner you talk to someone about what you’re going through, the sooner things will start to feel a bit better. If talking to someone isn't your thing, there is other support and help out there. It can be hard to know where to find the right support you need. ReachOut NextStep is an anonymous online tool that recommends relevant support options based on what you want help with. Try ReachOut NextStep to learn about the support options available for you.

What can I do now?

Last reviewed: 02 March, 2016
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  • Lightuptheworld    (1174 days ago)

    Great point brend! It's important to work out what you as an individual want to do and not feel pressured into it just because all your friends/colleagues/family drinks. It's also perfectly okay to only have one or even to just have soft drink- everyone has limits and preferences and once you know what they are you can work with them. And as always, if things get too much to handle on your own then get help.

  • brend    (1177 days ago)

    talking about drinking is a great step forward - seeing drinking not as something that everyone just does, but as something you can choose not to do - and good luck.