Signs of Alcoholism: Stages & Symptoms CBH

physical signs of alcoholism

Your doctor or healthcare provider can diagnose alcohol use disorder. They’ll do a physical exam and ask you questions about your drinking habits. Alcoholism has been known by a variety of terms, including alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. However, the physical signs of alcoholism go beyond mere appearance. Poor personal hygiene and an unkempt appearance are often indicative of an individual’s neglect of their overall health. Alcoholism can consume a person’s life to the point where they prioritize drinking over basic self-care routines such as showering, brushing teeth, or maintaining a tidy appearance.

  • People who binge drink (drink heavily over a short period of time) are more likely to behave recklessly and are at greater risk of being in an accident.
  • Heavy drinking in this population is four or more drinks a day or eight drinks a week.
  • It’s always best to connect with your doctor before quitting alcohol.

You Have Withdrawal

With these conditions, you’ll only notice symptoms during alcohol intoxication or withdrawal. That’s because drinking during pregnancy doesn’t just affect your health. Excessive drinking may affect your menstrual cycle and potentially increase your risk for infertility.

Severe Symptoms

They may also exhibit physical withdrawal symptoms, such as tremors, sweating, and nausea when attempting to stop or limit alcohol consumption. Additionally, strained relationships, legal issues, and deterioration in overall health are common in this stage. In addition to liver damage, alcoholism can also have detrimental effects on the cardiovascular system. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms, and an increased risk of heart disease. The toxic effects of alcohol on the heart can weaken the muscle and impair its ability to pump blood effectively, putting individuals at a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes. Unexplained bruises, frequent injuries, and diminished physical performance may also be signs of alcoholism.

  • In severe cases, a person maydevelop delirium tremens, a potentially life-threatening condition that causes hallucinations, confusion, seizures andpsychosis.
  • Some common signs and symptoms of cirrhosis include fatigue, itchy skin, weight loss, nausea, yellow eyes and skin, abdominal pain and swelling or bruising.
  • Your health care provider or counselor can suggest a support group.
  • Your doctor can see how well your liver is functioning by testing the levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanineaminotransferase (ALT).
  • Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than moderate drinkers.

Alcohol’s Effects on the Body

This page will outline the various signs and symptoms of AUD to help you recognise these in yourself or your loved ones. Tap into your social network to help support you through alcohol withdrawal. Find a supportive friend or family member to be with you while you withdraw and support your new non-drinking lifestyle. A rare but very serious syndrome called delirium tremens can occur during alcohol withdrawal. Also known as DTs, an estimated 2% of people with alcohol use disorder and less than 1% of the general population experience them. You don’t need to be diagnosed with alcohol use disorder in order to quit drinking.

Elevated Liver Enzymes

Others, like loss of consciousness or slurred speech, may develop after a few drinks. If you drink, you’ve probably had some experience with alcohol’s effects, from the warm buzz that kicks in quickly to the not-so-pleasant wine headache, or the hangover that shows up the next morning. Since those effects don’t last long, you might not worry much about them, especially if you don’t drink often. Maybe you’ve been concerned enough that you’ve already thought about or actually tried to cut down on your drinking — and it didn’t happen.

More on Substance Abuse and Addiction

physical signs of alcoholism

Alcohol addiction is a psychological disease defined as one’s inability to control alcohol consumption. MCV is the average concentration of hemoglobin in a red blood cell. Elevated MCV is found in approximately 50 to 60 percent of chronic heavy drinkers.

physical signs of alcoholism

Is there a cure for alcohol use disorder?

Studies show most people can reduce how much they drink or stop drinking entirely. Needing a drink first thing in the morning — or even in the middle of the night — to stave off nausea or stop the shakesare signs of dependence and withdrawal. Typicalalcohol withdrawal symptoms include sweating, shaking, nausea, anxiety and insomnia. In severe cases, a person maydevelop delirium tremens, physical characteristics of alcoholics a potentially life-threatening condition that causes hallucinations, confusion, seizures andpsychosis. Recognizing the signs of alcoholism is essential for individuals and their loved ones to seek professional help and support. If you suspect someone may be struggling with alcohol addiction, encourage them to reach out to a healthcare provider, addiction specialist, or support group.

Alcohol Use Disorder Outlook and Treatment

physical signs of alcoholism

Alcohol abuse can exacerbate existing mental health conditions or contribute to the development of new ones. Alcohol is a depressant that can intensify symptoms of depression and anxiety, leading to a vicious cycle of self-medication with alcohol. Individuals struggling with alcoholism may experience memory loss, cognitive impairment, and a decline in overall mental functioning. Alcoholism can have a detrimental effect on an individual’s professional and personal relationships. Frequent absences from work, decreased productivity, and poor performance are common signs of alcoholism.