How to tell someone has been drinking

Physical Signs

When it comes to recognizing if someone has been drinking, there are a few physical signs that you can look for. These physical signs often indicate that an individual has been drinking alcohol and can range from slurred speech and bloodshot eyes to an odor of alcohol on their breath. It is important to be aware of these physical signs as they can be a strong indicator that someone has been drinking.

Slurred speech

Slurred speech is one of the most common physical signs of alcohol consumption. This can be attributed to how alcohol affects the part of the brain that controls speech coordination, causing a person to say words incorrectly or stammer. People who are heavily intoxicated may even demonstrate an inability to say any words at all. Slurred speech is an early indicator of intoxication, and it can vary in severity depending on how much and how fast a person drinks.

Other physical signs of excessive drinking may include:

  • Lack of coordination
  • Glazed, bloodshot eyes
  • Flushed skin
  • Unsteady gait or lack of balance
  • Impaired judgment
  • Breath that smells like alcohol
  • Inappropriate behavior or loud talking

Bloodshot eyes

Bloodshot eyes are a common sign of alcohol consumption and can indicate excessive drinking. Bloodshot eyes happen when the tiny vessels that supply blood to the whites of your eyes become enlarged due to pressure behind the eye caused by dehydration or drinking. Not all cases of red eyes are due to drinking, however, as sometimes people have red eyes simply due to a lack of sleep or allergies.

In addition to bloodshot eyes, there are other physical signs that can be indicative of heavy alcohol use including:

  • Skin blemishes such as red patches on the face, neck or chest.
  • Flushed cheeks.
  • Puffy eyelids.
  • Bloating around the stomach area.
  • A messy and disheveled appearance.
  • Even slurred speech.

When someone has been drinking heavily for an extended period of time, it can also become very difficult for them to stay under control and keep their balance. Other warning signs may include falls or difficulty walking in a straight line.

Loss of coordination

Alcohol can have a dramatic impact on the body, and if someone has been drinking heavily, it could be discerned through their physical movements. Loss of coordination is usually one of the first signs that a person has been drinking. This could range from difficulty walking in a straight line or stumbling over one’s own feet to having difficulty with activities such as picking something up from the floor or buttoning a shirt.

Though it is tempting to assume that this kind of clumsiness means someone is drunk, keep in mind that there are also many other potential causes ranging from dizziness to chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy. Consider this sign alongside other signs to draw your conclusions.

Behavioral Signs

There are a number of behavioral signs that can indicate whether or not someone has been drinking. These may include slurred speech, stumbling, impaired coordination, and an inability to concentrate. Other signs to look out for include an inability to remember things, an increase in irritability or aggression, and behavior that contradicts things they said before they started drinking.

Knowing these signs can help you make sure that people are drinking safely.

Aggressive behavior

When someone has been drinking alcohol, they may display aggressive behavior. This can be verbal and physical aggression towards other people or destruction of property. Warning signs that a person is displaying aggressive behavior can include:

  • Raised voice
  • Insults or name calling
  • Using threats
  • Inappropriate physical contact such as pushing or shoving
  • Breaking things around them
  • Engaging in risky behaviors, such as driving under the influence

It is important for family members and friends to intervene if they see someone displaying aggressive behavior due to alcohol use. The most appropriate action is to remove the person from any potentially dangerous situation and attempt to deescalate their anger. In some cases, it may be necessary to contact medical professionals in order to get the person professional help.

Loud and inappropriate behavior

Alcohol has a significant impact on how people think and act. Loss of inhibitions is usually the first sign that someone has been drinking, and can be followed by physical symptoms such as staggering, slurred speech and a flushed complexion. People also tend to be much louder than usual when under the influence of alcohol, making inappropriate comments or shouting without caring about the presence of other people.

Alcohol consumption can result in changes in behavior such as increased aggression, heightened risk-taking behavior, decreased coordination and impaired judgment. Many drinkers display intense emotions such as anger or extreme happiness while intoxicated, while others can become more withdrawn or distant from conversations with friends. In some cases, alcohol consumption may cause individuals to behave in ways they normally wouldn’t while sober – ranging from silly outbursts to engaging in arguments with strangers or public display of affection (PDA).

Signs that a person has been drinking excessively can include belligerence and disorientation – making them difficult to reason with. Furthermore, certain individuals may experience blackouts during which they are unable to remember what happened during their period of intoxication.

Excessive talking

One of the most common signs of alcohol consumption is excessive talking, also known as logorrhea. People under the influence of alcohol can talk more than normal, sound louder and be more animated. They have shorter attention spans and may regularly bring up topics that are unrelated to the conversation. Logorrhea is different from a lively conversation since it typically lacks coherence and structure.

Excessive talking can manifest in other behaviors including:

  • Impulsiveness
  • Outbursts
  • Inappropriate remarks

Those who consume large amounts of alcohol often engage in conversations they regret while they are sober. This form of behavior reflects a need for attention and is a direct result of alcohol consumption that affects brain activity, judgment, critical thinking skills and decision-making ability. Sober friends or family members should intervene to steer the individual away from any conversations that could be damaging or explosive in nature due to the effects of intoxication on poor impulse control.

Emotional Signs

When someone has been drinking, they might exhibit certain emotional signs. They may become more talkative, more reactive, and more easily excitable, or they may become withdrawn and more introspective. Additionally, due to the effects of alcohol on the brain, their moods may become more depressed or anxious.

These signs can be a good indicator of whether or not someone has been drinking.


One of the most common emotional signs that someone has been drinking is irritability. When alcohol enters the bloodstream, it can act as a depressant, producing feelings of frustration and anxiousness which can manifest as increased irritability. It is also not uncommon for someone who has been drinking heavily to become argumentative or easily angered.

Other emotional signs of alcohol consumption include depression, abnormally high levels of energy, silliness or euphoria. These changes in emotional state may occur immediately following the onset of intoxication and can be present several hours after someone stops drinking. It is essential to note that emotional changes caused by alcohol can vary greatly among individuals based on various factors such as genetics, gender and body size.

Mood swings

Mood swings are one of the most common signs of excessive alcohol consumption, varying from irritability, depression, and aggressiveness to extreme happiness or hilarity. When someone has been drinking heavily, their emotions can change rapidly between these different states. They may laugh hysterically during moments that don’t warrant such a strong emotional reaction and then turn into angry outbursts at almost any provocation. This could also be followed by periods of extreme sadness or sullenness.

These reactions aren’t necessarily directed towards any particular person or event; they are just an indication that something serious is going on with your loved one’s health. If you notice more frequent changes in their moods, it’s time to investigate further into the cause for concern.

Poor judgment

Someone who has been drinking may show signs of poor judgment, making decisions that are either ill-conceived or not wise. They may make promises that they can’t keep, engage in risky behavior, or display aggressive tendencies such as overreacting to minor incidents or having unreasonable expectations of certain people in their life. They may find it difficult to control their emotions and often show signs of anger, aggression, or frustration that they cannot properly express the way they would if they were sober.

They might experience impaired coordination and have difficulty with physical activities such as walking, throwing a ball, or even carrying on a conversation. Their speech can be slurred and their movements might be unpredictable. The person may also struggle to comprehend simple tasks or instructions and take longer than usual to complete them.

It’s important for anyone spending time with someone who is drinking to be aware of these signs so they can provide them support if needed and help keep everyone safe.

Other Signs

While smelling alcohol on someone’s breath is a common indication that they have been drinking, there are other signs to look out for. Slurred speech, unsteady gait, and red eyes are just a few of the additional signs that someone has been drinking. Additionally, sometimes people may start to act differently or become more emotional when they’re under the influence.

Let’s take a look at all of the other signs that can indicate someone has been drinking:

  • Slurred speech
  • Unsteady gait
  • Red eyes
  • Lack of coordination
  • Impaired judgment
  • Mood swings
  • Memory lapses

Smell of alcohol on breath

If someone has been drinking, one of the most tell-tale signs is the smell of alcohol on their breath. You can usually detect a distinct odor of alcohol when you are close enough to the person. It is not uncommon for someone who has been drinking to try and cover up the smell by chewing mints or smelling salts, but these attempts are often unsuccessful.

Other physical signs that may indicate someone consumed alcohol can include:

  • Redness in their face
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom
  • Slurred speech
  • Stumbling or loss of balance

Unusual cravings for salty food

Unusual cravings for salty food may be a sign of a more serious issue, such as an imbalance of potassium in the body, low electrolytes, or mineral deficiency. Other physical and mental symptoms of underlying health issues that might manifest in cravings for salty food include:

  • Depression
  • Poor digestion
  • Edema
  • Indigestion
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Fatigue

In some cases, salt cravings can indicate that the body is not receiving enough salts through regular diet and may need additional supplementation to return to normal balance. When this is the case it’s important to ensure that any supplement added is of medical grade quality and taken with proper care. It’s also advisable to consult with your healthcare provider about your concerns regarding salt craving before beginning self-treatment or adding salt-rich additives to meals or drinks.

Unusual cravings for salty foods can also be a result of nutrient deficiencies like calcium or magnesium deficiency— deficiencies which could be addressed through dietary intervention. Eating a variety of healthy whole foods can help meet daily nutritional needs without relying on heavy use of additives like concentrated table salt. Some people may find dietary changes intimidating; however incorporating healthier options into meals over time is often found easier than abruptly changing everything at once.

Excessive thirst

Excessive thirst can be a telltale sign of drinking as alcohol has a diuretic effect on the body. This effect causes dehydration, making it difficult for the body to absorb and retain water, resulting in an increased need for drink. Furthermore, alcohol inhibits the production of an antidiuretic hormone (ADH), which is responsible for control of water balance. Without this hormone, large amounts of diluted urine may be produced resulting in general dehydration symptoms such as excessive thirst, dizziness and fatigue.

Other signs of excessive drinking that may be indicative of alcohol abuse include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired coordination and loss of coordination
  • Confusion, disorientation or blacking out suddenly
  • More rapid heartbeat