Alcohol is a widely accepted and often celebrated substance, but it can also be addictive and harmful. If you are struggling with alcohol use, it may be difficult to recognize when it's time to seek help. However, acknowledging the problem and seeking treatment is the first step towards recovery. This article will explore the signs that indicate it's time to seek help for alcohol addiction and answer some common questions about alcohol addiction treatment.

Signs that it's time to seek treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

Inability to control or limit drinking

One of the earliest signs of alcohol addiction is the inability to control or limit drinking. You may have tried to cut back on your drinking, but find yourself unable to do so. This could lead to drinking more than you intended, or drinking in situations where you previously would not have.

If you find yourself drinking alone, hiding your drinking from others, or feeling guilty or ashamed about your drinking, these are all signs that it may be time to seek help.

Increased tolerance and need for more alcohol to feel the effects

As your body becomes more accustomed to alcohol, you may find that you need to drink more to feel the same effects. This increased tolerance can be dangerous as it can lead to excessive drinking, which can cause harm to your body.

If you find yourself drinking more than usual, or needing to drink more to achieve the same effects, it's a sign that your body is becoming dependent on alcohol. This can lead to a variety of negative consequences, including physical and mental health problems.

Withdrawal symptoms when not drinking

If you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking, it's a clear sign that your body has become physically dependent on alcohol. Symptoms can include shaking, sweating, nausea, anxiety, and even seizures.

Withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable and even dangerous, so it's important to seek medical help if you experience them. This can include going to an urgent care or emergency room, or seeking help from a medical professional who specializes in addiction medicine.

Neglecting responsibilities and obligations

If you are prioritizing drinking over your responsibilities and obligations, it's time to seek help. Alcohol addiction can cause you to neglect important aspects of your life, such as work, family, and social life.

If you find yourself missing work or social events due to drinking, or neglecting important responsibilities such as paying bills or caring for loved ones, it's a sign that your drinking is having a negative impact on your life. This can lead to feelings of guilt, shame, and hopelessness, which can make it even more difficult to seek help.

Interpersonal problems with loved ones or friends

Alcohol addiction can also lead to interpersonal problems with loved ones or friends. You may find yourself arguing more often, experiencing mood swings, or even isolating yourself from others.

If you find that your relationships with loved ones or friends are suffering as a result of your drinking, it's a sign that it's time to seek help. This can include reaching out to a therapist, joining a support group, or seeking help from a medical professional who specializes in addiction medicine.

Physical and mental health problems

Alcohol addiction can cause a wide range of physical and mental health problems, including liver damage, cardiovascular disease, depression, and anxiety.

If you are experiencing any physical or mental health problems as a result of your drinking, it's important to seek help. This can include seeking medical treatment, joining a support group, or working with a therapist who specializes in addiction medicine.

Legal issues related to alcohol use

If you find yourself facing legal issues related to your alcohol use, such as DUIs or public intoxication, it's time to seek help for alcohol addiction. Legal issues can have serious consequences, including fines, jail time, and a criminal record.

It's important to seek help to address the underlying issues that may have led to the legal issues in the first place. This can include working with a therapist or joining a support group to address the root causes of your drinking.

Financial problems due to spending on alcohol

Alcohol addiction can also lead to financial problems. If you find yourself spending a significant amount of money on alcohol, or neglecting other financial obligations in order to continue drinking, it's a sign that it's time to seek help.

Financial problems can cause significant stress and anxiety, which can exacerbate the problem of alcohol addiction. Seeking help can help you address these financial issues and create a plan for managing your finances in a healthy way.

Common questions around alcohol addiction treatment

What types of treatment options are available for alcohol addiction?

There are a variety of treatment options available for alcohol addiction, including outpatient programs, individual therapy, group therapy, and medication-assisted treatment.

Outpatient programs can provide structured support and education while allowing you to continue living at home. Individual therapy can provide personalized support and help you address the underlying issues that may have led to your addiction. Group therapy can provide a sense of community and support from others who are also struggling with addiction. Medication-assisted treatment can help alleviate withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. At the Coleman Institute for Addiction Medicine, we offer a 3-day outpatient alcohol detox supported by naltrexone therapy. Naltrexone is a non-addictive medicine that blocks the euphoric feeling of alcohol and opiates and so helps prevent relapse.

Will I have to stop drinking completely or can I learn to drink in moderation?

The goal of alcohol addiction treatment is ultimately to help you achieve sobriety, but the approach to achieving sobriety can vary depending on the individual. Some people may be able to learn to drink in moderation, while others may need to stop drinking completely.

It's important to work with a medical professional to determine the best approach for your individual needs. They can help you create a personalized treatment plan that takes into account your medical history, level of addiction, and personal goals.

What can I do to increase my chances of successful treatment?

There are a number of things you can do to increase your chances of successful treatment. First, it's important to be honest with yourself and others about your struggles with alcohol addiction. This can help you access the resources and support you need to succeed.

It's also important to create a support system, whether that's through therapy, support groups, or friends and family who understand and support your goals. Developing healthy coping mechanisms, such as exercise or mindfulness practices, can also help you manage the stress and anxiety that can come with recovery.

Finally, it's important to be patient and kind to yourself. Recovery is a journey, and it's not always easy. But with the right support and resources, it is possible to achieve sobriety and create a healthier, happier life.


Alcohol addiction is a serious problem that can have a negative impact on every aspect of your life. If you're struggling with alcohol addiction, it's important to recognize the signs that it's time to seek help and take action to get the support and resources you need. By working with medical professionals, developing healthy coping mechanisms, and creating a support system, you can overcome addiction and create a healthier, happier life. Remember, it's never too late to seek help and start your journey towards recovery.