Alcoholism: Definition, Symptoms, Traits, Causes, Treatment

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.

  • In addition, some alcoholic beverages, such as wine and beer, are high in calories, so regular consumption of these drinks can lead to weight gain.
  • Treatment options may include therapy, support groups, medication, and lifestyle changes.
  • While some medications and creams can help treat the condition, in the case of alcohol abuse, they’re a Band-Aid for the underlying trigger.
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  • Long after the acute effects of intoxication have faded, excessive alcohol consumption can continue to cause health risks.

Attempts to stop drinking can result in tremors or hallucinations, but therapy, detox, and rehab can help you get your life back. While the exact causes of alcoholism are not known, a number of factors can play a role. The condition is likely the result of a combination of genetic, social, psychological, and environmental factors. In order to be diagnosed with AUD, a person must experience any two of these symptoms within the same 12-month period.

Before alcohol misuse gets to that point, seek help — it’s OK if vanity leads you there.

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. Alcoholism often manifests through physical changes in individuals. Noticeable weight loss or weight gain, flushed skin, puffy face, and bloodshot eyes can be signs of excessive alcohol consumption. Additionally, poor personal hygiene, unkempt appearance, and neglecting overall health are common indicators of alcoholism.

  • In fact, it contributes to about 88,000 deaths annually in the U.S., making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
  • Combined with medications and behavioral treatment provided by health care professionals, mutual-support groups can offer a valuable added layer of support.
  • Our bodies also prioritize getting rid of alcohol as it is a toxin and can’t be stored like carbohydrates, proteins, or fats.
  • In darker-skinned people, it may be more noticeable in the whites of the eye.
  • That said, regular heavy drinking is an important warning sign for alcohol addiction, according to addiction experts at the
    National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Even when consumed infrequently, the feelings of nausea, upset stomach, and vomiting are far from comfortable. Frequent alcohol consumption comes with many dangers and puts your health physical signs of alcoholism at risk. While it causes unique illnesses, it also increases the risks of other serious illnesses. First and foremost, it’s important to go over the signs of alcohol abuse.

Support for Me and My Family

They’ll do a physical exam and ask you questions about your drinking habits. Symptoms of alcohol use disorder are based on the behaviors and physical outcomes that occur as a result of alcohol addiction. Severity is based on the number of criteria a person meets based on their symptoms—mild (2–3 criteria), moderate (4–5 criteria), or severe (6 or more criteria). The affects can range from dementia and intellectual functioning to debilitating conditions that require long-term care, even if a person has been sober for a period of time. Other early signs of alcoholism include blackout drinking or a drastic change in demeanor while drinking, such as consistently becoming angry or violent.

Rosacea is characterized by redness on the face, and sometimes the ears, back, and chest. Now a clinical psychologist who works with people with addictions, Utter knows alcohol-use disorder falls on a spectrum. While some people with it do look like those bar patrons, many look perfectly healthy. If you’re worried that you might have alcohol use disorder, don’t try to quit cold turkey on your own. I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LCMHC).

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