Physical Signs of Alcoholism

Physical signs of alcoholism can include a range of symptoms, from slurred speech and impaired coordination to liver damage and malnutrition. Long-term alcohol abuse can also lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and an increased risk of certain types of cancer. Additionally, alcoholism can exacerbate pre-existing mental health conditions and increase the risk of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation.

physical signs of alcoholism

As a result, they eventually need to drink more to notice the same effects they once did. Alcohol use can factor into mental health symptoms that closely resemble those of other mental health conditions. Frequent drinking can increase your risk of developing mouth, throat, breast, esophagus, colon, or liver cancer. Chronic drinking can affect your heart and lungs, raising your risk of developing heart-related health issues.

Long-Term Physical Signs of Alcoholism

In late-stage alcoholism, there is a greater risk of having multiple disease factors coincide. Confusion is a red light that alcohol is causing damage to your brain. You may lose short-term memory or the ability to perform daily tasks. If you are in alcohol withdrawal, this can have a host of severe effects on the body, including persistent mental confusion as the body attempts to reclaim its chemical balance. Seeing the warning signs of alcohol abuse or alcoholism in a loved one can be terrifying. Of course, you don’t want them to hurt themselves, but you also don’t want to assume something that isn’t true.

The CDC defines binge drinking as drinking that brings your blood alcohol concentration to 0.08% or more. This is usually achieved if you consume five or more standard drinks on a single occasion for men or four or more drinks on a single occasion for women. In this guide, we’ll explore 15 short and long-term signs that you’re drinking too much, including symptoms physical signs of alcoholism that don’t necessarily involve a hangover. People with heart disease often lack energy because the heart muscle is under stress. You may experience physical symptoms, such as fatigue, pain, swelling, breathing problems and irregular heart rate. Alcoholics can become inattentive to personal hygiene and have a disheveled appearance when abusing substances.

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The side effects often only appear after the damage has happened. Over time, drinking can also damage your frontal lobe, the part of the brain responsible for executive functions, like abstract reasoning, decision making, social behavior, and performance. Alcohol-related liver disease is a potentially life threatening condition that leads to toxins and waste buildup in your body.

Drinking a lot over a long period of time, or in some cases too much on a single occasion, can lead to major heart problems. If you’ve noticed any of the above symptoms, you may consider going cold turkey to improve your health. Because alcohol is a potent diuretic, it can quickly dehydrate you, leading to the characteristic symptoms of a hangover, including a throbbing headache. Research reviews have also listed alcohol as a culprit for triggering migraine attacks. Alcohol is one possible culprit for heartburn because it may lead to increased production of stomach acid. It can also relax the muscles leading towards your stomach, increasing the likelihood of leaking stomach acid.

How Does Alcoholism Progress?

Mindful drinking offers that middle ground where you’ll proactively improve your drinking habits without any pressure to quit. It centers on being more conscious and thoughtful of how much, how often, and why you drink. As a result, you’ll enjoy better sleep, improved mood and energy, and fewer wellness issues. Some people may also experience night sweats due to alcohol withdrawal syndrome or alcohol intolerance. Hence, drinking alcohol makes it harder for your immune system to gear up and mount a defense response against invading pathogens and viruses. As a result, you may find yourself catching colds and infections more often.

A heavy drinking binge may even cause a life-threatening coma or death. This is of particular concern when you’re taking certain medications that also depress the brain’s function. It’s common for people with a mental health disorder such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder to have problems with alcohol or other substances. Alcohol withdrawal can occur when alcohol use has been heavy and prolonged and is then stopped or greatly reduced. Signs and symptoms include sweating, rapid heartbeat, hand tremors, problems sleeping, nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, restlessness and agitation, anxiety, and occasionally seizures. Symptoms can be severe enough to impair your ability to function at work or in social situations.

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