Alcoholism is a disease that can seriously hinder your ability to function. It can also have significant physical repercussions, including liver damage, weight gain, cancer, diabetes, and other serious illnesses. Every year, more than 88,000 people die from alcoholism.

Fortunately, the disease can be shifted into remission if it’s caught and properly treated. You have to take the situation as seriously as it warrants, and work toward achieving wellness.

And the way to start is by recognizing the basic signs that you might be an alcoholic.

1. You spend a lot of time drinking alone

Drinking is often a social activity, and it should be. There’s safety in numbers: You’re less likely to drink to excess when others are around.

If you’d rather go to a bar alone rather than with a group of friends, that’s a strong indicator of alcoholism. Captain Michael Morse, a retired firefighter from Tennessee, shared his experience with American Addiction Centers.

“My drinking was my problem, and the people who didn’t accept that had a choice, my way, or the highway.... All by myself I drank.... And I liked it. With just me and the booze, life was simple. There was no nagging, no sneaking, lying, or pretending I wasn’t drunk. It was good, clean, honest suicide.”

Like Captain Morse, you might find a derive a sense of security from drinking when there’s no one watching.

2. You think about alcohol most of the day

If you spend a lot of your time at work thinking about how soon you can get a drink, or even slip in a sip of beer over your lunch break, that’s a problem. “People who are alcoholic often will spend a great deal of their time drinking, making sure they can get alcohol, and recovering from alcohol’s effects, often at the expense of other activities and responsibilities,” according to an article from Addict Help.

When you’re largely focused on getting your next drink, it won’t be long before the drinking habit seriously interferes with your ability to function adequately in your workplace. It will consume your life, and you’ll find it difficult to maintain personal relationships as well as your job.

3. You experience withdrawal symptoms when you go a day or more without alcohol

Most alcoholics figure out how to get a drink no matter where they are. But if you don’t have access to alcohol for an extended period of time, you might experience extreme mood swings, irritability, shaking hands, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, loss of appetite, and other adverse effects.

In extreme cases, you might develop a fever, confusion, hallucinations, seizures, or extreme agitation. If alcoholism is left untreated for too long, you’ll experience these symptoms after just a few hours of not having a drink.

Many alcoholics need a drink in the morning to steady the shakes after eight hours of not imbibing. Once you start seeing these kinds of negative effects, it’s crucial to get help as soon as possible.

4. Friends and family members have expressed concern about your drinking

You may not recognize your dire behavior as quickly as your friends and family will. If they’ve mentioned that they think you should cut back, it might be time to heed their words.

You may find yourself in denial, and respond that they’re exaggerating the problem. At some point, however, you’ll have to face the facts as they’ve presented them. If you don’t want to stop drinking for yourself, do it for your family.

“You can’t escape the effects that alcoholism and alcohol abuse have on your personal relationships. Drinking problems put an enormous strain on the people closest to you,” explains an article from Help Guide, a publication devoted to educating on mental health.

“Alcoholics and alcohol abusers are much more likely to get divorced, have problems with domestic violence, struggle with unemployment, and live in poverty,” the article continues. “Often, family members and close friends feel obligated to cover for the person with the drinking problem.... Children are especially sensitive and can suffer long-lasting emotional trauma when a parent or caretaker is an alcoholic or heavy drinker.”

For the sake of your personal relationships and the people you love, it’s vital for you to recognize the detrimental effects of your alcohol addiction and get some help.

5. You start taking risks or run into legal problems

Alcoholics are substantially more likely to take risks while they’re intoxicated, including driving under the influence, mixing alcohol with medications, or participating in high-risk physical activities. If you’ve started putting your life or the lives of others in danger, then you should recognize that something’s wrong.

If you want to protect yourself and those around you, it’s critical for you to get help for your alcohol addiction. Risk taking can get out of hand very fast, especially when you’re intoxicated.

Recognizing the signs is the first step. From there, you can seek the help of a qualified addiction center and ensure a higher level of safety for yourself, family, and friends.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Jessica and I am an independent journalist, freelance blogger, and technology junkie with a passion for music, arts, and the outdoors. One of my greatest passions and joy is assisting communities and business owners. My utmost desire is to help people and business owners to succeed and prosper in their personal and business affairs. I share, comment, write and edit popular news stories.