The Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism by Rehab Recovery Centers

The signs and symptoms of alcoholism will vary from one person to the next. Knowing what to look for can help you identify a drinking problem early on and intervene appropriately.

Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder, is a serious form of a drinking problem that affects millions of people worldwide. This disease is considered progressive, meaning the effects of drinking alcohol will become increasingly worse over time. Unfortunately, many individuals with alcohol addiction began drinking in a “normal fashion”. After some time, these individuals will begin to progress in their alcohol abuse, leading to dependency, tolerance, and eventually, full-blown alcoholism.

Signs of Alcohol Abuse

By definition, alcohol abuse is any pattern of drinking that causes negative consequences for the user. This includes health effects such as bad hangovers and alcohol-induced accidents. On the other hand, some individuals abusing alcohol experience social effects, such as doing or saying regrettable things while intoxicated. However, just because an individual abuses alcohol, they aren’t necessarily dependent or addicted to alcohol. Although, these issues will appear down the line if the individual continues their alcohol abuse.

Alcoholism typically begins in an individual’s teen years or early ’20s and is characterized by heavy, frequent drinking. When an individual drinks in a problematic way, they will eventually develop a tolerance and dependence on alcohol. This will lead to negative social, emotional, mental, and health effects. Being able to identify the signs and symptoms of alcoholism may help you determine whether a friend or loved one is in need of professional alcohol rehab.

The signs of alcohol intoxication may include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Lack of coordination
  • Rambling or nonsensical statements
  • Difficulty balancing, standing up, or walking
  • Disorientation
  • Agitation or anxiety
  • Glazed eyes or blank stares

What are the Dangers of Alcohol Abuse?

Because of the acceptance and popularity of alcohol in our society, many individuals fail to realize the damaging effects it can have. Long-term abuse of alcohol takes a serious toll on an individual’s mind and body. Unfortunately, every organ may eventually be affected by long-term alcohol abuse, especially the brain and liver.

The short-term effects of alcohol abuse include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Impaired judgment
  • Headaches
  • Blackouts
  • Nausea
  • Distorted vision and hearing

As previously mentioned, the long-term effects of alcohol have a serious tone, including the possibility of irreversible damage or death. Some of the common long-term effects of alcohol abuse include:

  • Depression or anxiety disorders
  • Neurological impairment or permanent brain damage
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Psoriasis
  • Nerve damage
  • Hand tremors
  • Compromised immune system
  • High blood pressure
  • Sexual problems
  • Malnutrition and vitamin B1 deficiency
  • Gastritis
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Cancer of the mouth and throat

Fortunately, sobriety has positive effects on the body, and can often reverse or improve many physical side effects of alcohol abuse.

What are the Non-Medical Symptoms of Alcoholism?

While alcohol abuse leads to a number of concerning medical risks, there are non-medical symptoms and side effects associated with alcoholism as well. Unfortunately, many of these effects are considered to be even more detrimental than the health consequences people face.

The non-medical consequences of alcohol abuse include:

  • Legal issues such as DUIs or alcohol-related crimes
  • Relationship issues with family, friends, and significant others
  • Financial issues due to spending too much money on alcohol
  • Feeling guilt or shame about drinking and your associated behavior
  • Needing alcohol to cope with emotions
  • Issues at work such as tardiness, skipping work, and decrease in productivity
  • Spending too much time on drinking-related activities
  • Isolating to hide the amount of alcohol you drink
  • Being unable to control alcohol intake
  • Continuing to drink even when legal, social, or economic problems develop
  • Losing interest in previously beloved social, professional, or recreational activities because of alcohol abuse
  • Cravings or obsessive thoughts about drinking
  • Lapses in memory due to frequent blackouts or memory fog
  • Intentional injuries such as firearm injuries, sexual assault, and domestic violence
  • Unintentional injuries such as car crashes or falls

Unfortunately, according to research, sexual assault and domestic violence become more prevalent when alcohol abuse is involved. If you or a loved one are dealing with the effects of alcohol abuse and sexual assault, contact local authorities or a trusted healthcare specialist for help.

Recognizing the Signs of Alcoholism

Alcoholism is diagnosed on a spectrum, as each person suffers from alcohol abuse in a different manner. There are 11 diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder, with different levels of severity based upon the number of criteria that apply.

Unfortunately, the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that 15.1 million adults ages 18 and older met the criteria for alcoholism.

According to the DSM-V, the following includes the 11 criteria used by professionals to diagnose alcoholism:

  • Drinking alcohol in larger amounts or for longer than you’re meant to.
  • Desiring to cut down or stop using alcohol but not being able to.
  • Focusing most of your time on getting, using, or recovering from the use of alcohol.
  • Uncontrollable cravings and urges to use alcohol.
  • Not managing to do what you should at work, home, or school because of alcohol use.
  • Continuing to use alcohol, even when it leads to negative consequences.
  • Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities to have more time to use alcohol.
  • Using alcohol repeatedly, even when it puts you in danger.
  • Continuing to use, even when you know you have a physical or psychological problem that could have been caused or made worse by alcohol.
  • Developing a tolerance to alcohol.
  • The development of withdrawal symptoms when you do not consume alcohol.

Alcohol use disorders, or alcoholism, range from mild, to moderate, and severe. If an individual only meets two or three of the criteria for alcoholism, they may suffer from a mild alcohol use disorder. However, individuals who identify with a significant amount of the criteria suffer from a severe form of alcoholism that requires alcohol rehab.

Finding an Alcohol Rehab Near You

If you or someone you know is showing symptoms of alcoholism, Rehab Recovery Centers is here to help. Oftentimes, finding an alcohol rehab that is best suited to your individual needs becomes difficult. We take this into consideration by offering resources and guidance to people who need help finding a rehab in their state. Contact us today to speak with an experienced addiction specialist and get started at an alcohol rehab program.

Get Help Today

Don’t go through the process of recovery alone. There are people who can help you with the struggle you’re facing. Get in touch with one today.