Physical Signs and Other Symptoms of Alcoholism & Alcohol Abuse

One sign of AUD is engaging in certain behaviors during or after drinking that may have harmful effects. For example, a person may engage in activities that risk unwanted or harmful consequences while drinking alcohol. Alcoholism is a treatable disease, with many treatment programs and approaches available to support alcoholics who have decided to get help.

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. Maybe you’ve been concerned enough that you’ve already thought about or actually tried to cut down on alcoholic ketoacidosis wikipedia your drinking — and it didn’t happen. Alcohol masks unhappy emotions, so those feelings may come back when you quit drinking, making it harder to stick to your goal. If you try to abstain, but then obsess over alcohol or switch to another drug or behavior, that’s a red flag.

  1. With excessive alcohol consumption, this important organ can’t metabolize Vitamin D, which could develop into a deficiency.
  2. People who have AUD may continue to use alcohol even though they know it is causing social, health, economic, and possibly even legal problems in their life.
  3. Because alcoholism rewires the brain and affects a person’s mood, thinking and behaviors, it’s classified as a mental illness.

Family and friends can also fail to see the warning signs. Alcoholics Anonymous is available almost everywhere and provides a place to openly and non-judgmentally discuss alcohol problems with others who have alcohol use disorder. Milder cases may only be problematic for a period of time. If you’re worried that you might have alcohol use disorder, don’t try to quit cold turkey on your own.

Finding Detox and Treatment

People may want a drink so much that it is all they think about. In other instances, they may spend time recovering from excess drinking. A person who misuses alcohol may think or say they will have one drink of alcohol but then go on to have several. The article below discusses each of these criteria, treatment, and where to find support. Hosted 6 signs alcohol is hurting your relationship by Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares strategies for coping with alcohol cravings and other addictions, featuring addiction specialist John Umhau, MD. For more information about alcohol and cancer, please visit the National Cancer Institute’s webpage “Alcohol and Cancer Risk” (last accessed October 21, 2021).

Alcohol Use Disorder

This process, however, can bring about the unpleasant and potentially serious symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. These include increased heart rate, sweating, anxiety, tremors, nausea and vomiting, heart palpitations, and insomnia. In more severe cases, people may also have seizures or hallucinations.

A 2021 study found that AUD may disrupt social events and cause financial difficulties in families.

Pain avoidance in alcohol use disorders

Peer support may also help in coping with emotions that may have led to alcohol misuse. Another sign of AUD is someone drinking alcohol even though it may affect an existing health condition. People with AUD may continue to drink alcohol despite it causing them to feel anxious or depressed or to experience a memory blackout. It may also lead to increased psychological distress among the partners and children of individuals with AUD. People with the disorder may recognize these issues are present but continue to drink alcohol. Other early signs of alcoholism include blackout drinking or a drastic change in demeanor while drinking, such as consistently becoming angry or violent.

Elevated MCV is found in approximately 50 to 60 percent of chronic heavy drinkers. When people quit drinking, their MCV levels typically return to normal within two to four months. The combination of increased MCV levels and elevated GGT levels has a 90 percent sensitivity for detecting alcohol abuse, according to a study published in Current Psychiatry. It’s also called alcohol dependence, alcohol addiction or alcohol abuse. If you feel that you sometimes drink too much alcohol, or your drinking is causing problems, or if your family is concerned about your drinking, talk with your health care provider.

Excessive alcohol consumption can damage the brain and other organs, and it also increases the chances of developing sleep problems, depression, and other mental health problems. Alcohol can interfere with a person’s ability to care for their other medical conditions or make other medical conditions worse. Although you may still hear people talking about “alcoholism” or “alcohol abuse,” the official term is alcohol use disorder (AUD). It’s a condition that ranges from mild to moderate to severe.

Getting help before your problem drinking progresses to severe alcohol use disorder can save your life. If your pattern of drinking results in repeated significant distress and problems functioning in your daily life, you likely have alcohol use disorder. However, even a mild disorder can escalate and lead to serious problems, so early treatment is important.

Heavy drinking in conjunction with other behaviors can also signal a problem. If you’ve had two or three of those symptoms in the past year, that’s a mild alcohol use disorder. Genetic, psychological, social and environmental factors can impact how drinking alcohol affects your body and behavior. Theories suggest that for certain people drinking has a different and stronger impact that can lead to alcohol use disorder.