The assessment of whether or not you classify as someone who suffers from alcohol use disorder, also known as alcoholism, is a personal one. This can be a sensitive issue for both you and the people around you who are trying to encourage you to reach out for the help you are not sure you need. The line between an alcohol addiction and a temporary alcohol problem also is confusing. Either way, watching for these five common signs of increased alcohol dependency may help.

1. Your body craves it like food or water.

You need it so bad that it feels like you may die if you do not have it. This especially happens when you cross over into the late stages of addiction. All of the sudden, alcohol has become a necessity when it used to be an option. This occurs when you become chemically and not just psychologically dependent on the need for a continual supply of this controlled substance.

2. You frequently drink more than you plan.

Even one time could indicate a problem with drinking. However, you perhaps now can almost never say to yourself “I’m just going to have a couple” and actually mean it. For you, one drink turns into a dozen before you know it. You just cannot seem to stop drinking even if you know it would be best if you did.

3. You continue to drink in spite of the consequences.

It does not seem to faze you that your significant other left you because of your drinking. You also maybe just hit someone else’s car or have repeated fines for reckless driving while intoxicating. Maybe you even have been in jail because of your drinking or lost your job, but it does not seem to stop you. In addition, you might continue to drink even though you have participated in high-risk sexual activity.

4. Your tolerance continues to increase.

You used to feel the effects of alcohol after maybe two glasses of wine, but perhaps now you drink four or five before you begin to feel intoxicated. Even if you do not feel “drunk,” you keep consuming increased amounts to feel the pleasure it once gave you on just a few. The other issue with this is that you sometimes may have lost track of how many you drank, and this could be one reason you perhaps risk driving after having consumed alcohol.

5. You have become more withdrawn and drink alone.

Alcohol now has become your primary companion rather than your friends, co-workers or family. It’s almost as if now that you have what’s in your glass, can or bottle to comfort you, you need no one. However, you may not realize that the alcohol is making you even more depressed than you may have already felt before drinking it.

Seek Help, If Needed

The worst that could happen to you if you reach out for help is to find out you don’t really have a problem after all. We encourage you to seek an alcohol use evaluation just to be sure. You also can contact someone from an addiction recovery hotline to determine the best course of action in your case.