Sober living

A Guide To Understanding The Physical Symptoms Of Alcoholism

These symptoms are not always visible to others and someone could experience alcoholism without showing any of the signs listed. For those concerned themselves or their loved one may be abusing alcohol, there are some noticeable physical signs of alcohol abuse. An estimated 14.4 million adults in the United States struggle with alcoholism, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Some people who drink eventually develop a tolerance to alcohol. As a result, they eventually need to drink more to notice the same effects they once did. Chronic drinking can affect your heart and lungs, raising your risk of developing heart-related health issues. Dr. Kevin Wandler of Advanced Recovery physical signs of alcoholism Systems describes how tolerance and withdrawal symptoms are indicators of alcohol dependence. When alcoholism is severe, an individual may develop a physical dependence on the drug. Alcoholics are prone to accidents and injuries due to impaired body systems that regulate movement and coordination.

physical signs of alcoholism

This is when a professional drug and alcohol counselor comes to your home and helps the family convince the problem drinker to go to rehab. Interventions can be a very useful tool for families with loved ones who are refusing treatment. They may be embarrassed or ashamed, so they resort to secrecy.

In general, heavy drinking for men is considered to be more than four drinks in a day or more than 14 drinks per week. Heavy drinking for women is considered to be more than three drinks a day or more than seven drinks per week. It’s a disease of brain function and requires medical and psychological treatments to control it.

Behavioral Signs Of Alcoholism

Rapid heart beats and fevers may be experienced along with nausea and vomiting. With long-term abuse, alcoholism can result in brain damage and/or liver failure. Many people are surprised to learn that cardiovascular disorders are also related to alcoholism, as heavy drinking puts a toll on the heart.

  • A family education program can prove invaluable in helping you realize how you can start healing from the harm that addiction has done to the life of your family.
  • Our clients are encouraged to work through the underlying problems that are often the catalysts for their addictions, including depression, anxiety, and social disorders.
  • Experts recommend avoiding excessive amounts of alcohol if you have diabetes or hypoglycemia.
  • And while people who binge drink may not meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder, they can suffer the same short- and long-term consequences of alcoholics.

The diagnosis is made when drinking interferes with your life or affects your health. Have mental health issues, such as grief, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder.

What Are Common Symptoms Of Alcohol Abuse?

Even if you feel like you’ve sobered up, you may still have alcohol in your system that can affect your reaction time. That’s because drinking during pregnancy doesn’t just affect your health. It can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature delivery. Over time, alcohol can cause damage to your central nervous system. You might notice numbness and tingling in your feet and hands.

physical signs of alcoholism

You may experience physical symptoms, such as fatigue, pain, swelling, breathing problems and irregular heart rate. Learn more about Clean Recovery Center’s unique Three-Phase Approach and see what a basic timeline of recovery treatment and services looks like for most of our clients. Excessive drinking can affect your nervous system, causing numbness and pain in your hands and feet, disordered thinking, dementia, and short-term memory loss.

Increased Mental Illness

Many people will consume heavy amounts of alcohol for a decade or longer without ever realizing that they’re actually alcoholics. As a result, these people will also go a decade or longer without realizing the effect that abusing alcohol has had on their bodies. On the spectrum of alcoholism, dependency usually reveals more substantial markers or more intense physical signs of alcoholism. Long-term alcohol addiction can wreak havoc on one’s emotional and physical health. From impairments in work performance to financial difficulties to strained relationships, alcohol addiction can be an insidious- but destructive- force in overall functioning. At this stage, drinking becomes everything in your life, even at the expense of your livelihood, your health and your relationships.

From there, the physical effects get progressively worse with Stage 2 and Stage 3 symptoms. Remember, even though alcohol is legal for buy for people over 18, it is still a dangerous and potentially fatal substance to abuse. If you drink more alcohol than that, consider cutting back or quitting. Finally, covering up for the transgressions of a loved one or misleading others about a friend or family member’s alcoholism tends to strain relationships, especially over a long period.

Gastrointestinal bleeding, a symptom some alcoholics experience, can also cause anemia, as can iron deficiency. Alcoholism can be difficult to detect from the outside, particularly early in the course of the disease. But as it progresses, the disease has an array of effects on the body, and a number of physical signs may become apparent. Treatment for addiction takes many forms and depends on the needs of the individual.

  • While the exact causes of alcoholism are not known, a number of factors can play a role.
  • Recovery takes time, dedication, and persistence, not to mention support, professional help, and a safe environment.
  • Alcoholism may regularly be undermined by addictions that seem more “serious,” but the reality is that all addictions are serious.
  • The physical and emotional damage that alcoholism can cause is well documented and backed up by a tremendous amount of evidence.

There are factors that pop up again and again when determining who might have an issue with alcoholism. The first factor is the age at which a person has his or her first drink ; the other factors are genetics and environment. If you’re in the “at-risk” population, it doesn’t take much to become dependent on alcohol or other drugs. Alcohol withdrawal can be difficult and, in some cases, life threatening.


There is no exact formula or science when it comes to determining whether a person is an alcoholic. At a certain point, the individual struggling with alcoholism may make a vow to other individuals or themselves that they will reduce their drinking. Unfortunately, when some people make this promise, they aren’t truly ready to keep it. It’s extremely difficult to stop drinking once they have arrived at a particular place.

The distinction between psychological addiction and physical dependence is a pivotal difference to understand. Help your loved one by contacting a treatment provider today. If you’re ready to live a healthy, sober lifestyle, help is available. With alcohol advertisements plastered in the media, many teens think drinking is acceptable. Some teens have the mindset that they’ll gain more friends by drinking. Unfortunately, experimenting with alcohol rarely stops after one occasion – it’s usually a snowball effect that becomes unmanageable. Rather than taking part in a hobby, some adolescents try alcohol.

Click for more information about PACE’s COVID-19 protocols and residential treatment options during COVID-19. Drinking frequently or in excess, which may include blackouts when drinking. Continuing to drink regardless of the negative physical or psychological difficulties. Becoming anxious or stressed if a social gathering does not include alcohol. Continuing to drink despite health, financial and family problems. Screening tests are available to help you assess your drinking habits and relationship with alcohol.

physical signs of alcoholism

If you find yourself regularly thinking about your next drink, or if you’ve tried to cut back on drinking and never quite succeeded, you may have an alcohol addiction. In addition to these dangerous and potentially life-threatening medical problems, untreated alcoholism will almost always affect an individual socially and professionally. Showing up to work drunk or hungover will eventually become apparent to employers and will often result in termination. The euphoric feeling often enables drinkers to feel more outgoing and social.

How Can I Prevent Alcohol Use Disorder?

Additionally, according to Healthline, alcoholism can increase the risk of viral and bacterial infections, heart disease, and hardening of the liver, also known as cirrhosis. It can be challenging to distinguish the difference between recreational drinking and problematic drinking. Because alcoholism can be such a shame-based disease, you may not recognize if someone you know is struggling. Alcoholism was identified in 1956 as an illness by the American Medical Association . It’s a disease—an altering of the brain that controls a person’s motivation and ability to make healthy choices. Once it takes hold, it can be hard to shake loose—without the right help. Virtual Outpatient Addiction Treatment Learn more about Hazelden Betty Ford’s multiple levels of virtual outpatient addiction treatment.

They isolate themselves from others to hide their drinking habit or to avoid questions and accusations. Drinking and driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery, sometimes even after being charged with a DUI or other crime involving alcohol use. Go to great lengths to be secretive, such as buying alcohol from different stores to avoid making people around them suspicious. Displaying anger when questioned about one’s drinking patterns. Needing greater quantities of alcohol to achieve the desired effects or to function “normally.”

We offer a structured environment in which our clients feel safe and secure. Our clients are encouraged to work through the underlying problems that are often the catalysts for their addictions, including depression, anxiety, and social disorders. We recognize the importance of diagnosing and treating these problems to facilitate recovery. The regular abuse of alcohol will generally evolve into a full addiction when it’s treated within a short period of time.

Contributing to nearly 90,000 deaths per year, alcohol is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. As someone begins the shift from the early stages of alcohol dependence to alcohol addiction, obtaining and drinking alcohol will become the driving force behind the majority of their decisions. Someone with an alcohol use disorder cannot control their consumption, and the chronic use and abuse of alcohol will make it so going even a few hours without drinking can cause withdrawal. Obviously, no one intends to become dependent on alcohol when they start drinking.

Your loved one’s addiction has left you struggling with the negative physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and mental impacts of their addiction. A family education program can prove invaluable in helping you realize how you can start healing from the harm that addiction has done to the life of your family. Studies have shown that moderate to long-term stays in residential rehabilitation facilities give individuals the best chance to recover from their addictions.

What Is The Outlook For People With Alcohol Use Disorder?

Some people may find that they frequently end up drinking more than they intend to, or they’re constantly thinking about the next time they get to drink. Others may rely on alcohol to cope with stressful situations, or use it habitually after getting home from work each day. To highlight alcohol awareness month and help you identify the signs of alcoholism and alcohol abuse in loved ones, let’s take a look at the signs of a drinking problem. It involves heavy or frequent alcohol drinking even when it causes problems, emotional distress or physical harm.

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