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Alcohol Addiction

Physical Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder

There are some warning signs to be aware of once alcohol consumption has become alcohol addiction. Being aware of the physical signs with alcoholism are important to recognize when there may be a problem.

It’s not always easy to tell when someone has become addicted to alcohol. Alcohol consumption is a common part of society. Whether it be happy hour after work or a social event, alcohol is prevalent at most functions. There are warning signs associated with alcohol addiction. For most adults, moderate alcohol use is relatively harmless. Moderate alcohol use is considered to be no more than two drinks a day for men and one for women1.

Alcoholism Stats

12 Physical Signs of Alcohol Addiction

  1. Flushed Skin / Redness on Face: Alcoholics can have redness on the face because alcohol can increase blood pressure. This causes veins to dilate and is very detrimental in the long term. When capillaries are repeatedly dilated, they lose their ability to contract. Broken blood vessels become more visible. This is why alcoholics often have redness on their face due to long-term alcohol abuse.

  2. Nausea / Vomiting: Excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning. Nausea and vomiting are common side effects. In addition, alcohol withdrawal2 can also lead to nausea. Often nausea can be a side effect of malnourishment.
  3. Slurred Speech: Slurred speech is a common sign of alcohol intoxication. Although alcoholics may have a high tolerance for alcohol, excessive consumption is not atypical. This is a common physical sign of alcoholism.
  4. Shakes or Trembling: Tremors are one of the first signs of alcohol withdrawal. Alcoholics can often times have shaky hands.
  5. Coordination Problems: Alcohol can often lead to impaired coordination. Inability to control one’s mobility that would otherwise be present.
  6. Seizures: Seizures can be a serious sign of alcoholism. In the event there is not a history of epilepsy, seizures are a common side effect of alcohol use disorder. 

  7. Jaundice: Jaundice occurs when there is yellowing of the skin. There also can be a tint to the whites of the eyes when this occurs. Often, this is a result of the individual also suffering from alcoholic hepatitis3. 

  8. Fingernails Curving: This can occur due to liver disease which is a symptom of alcoholism. Fingernails that begin to curve excessively – known as clubbing
  9. Blood in Vomit and Stools: This can be a side effect of liver cirrhosis4. Internal bleeding may occur which will result in blood in either stool or vomit. There may also be links to blood in your stool and cancer, as a result of alcohol use disorder5. 

  10. Bleeding and Bruising More Easily: Alcohol is a vasodilator6, which means it temporarily causes your blood vessels to relax and expand. For this reason, bleeding and bruising occurs more easily when alcohol is in the blood system.
  11. Abdomen Fluid Buildup: This is known as ascites, which involves the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity. This is a side effect of alcohol abuse.
  12. Edema: Edema is also known as swelling. Drinking alcohol can lead to edema when an abnormal amount of fluid collects in the tissues of your body. Commonly in hands or feet. If certain parts of the body stay swollen for several days this can be an indicator of a larger health problem.

In addition to the above signs, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence have provided a list of what parents should look out for.  This is also applicable to friends and family members of loved ones who are concerned about alcohol addiction.

If you or a loved one is considered about alcohol addiction, contact us HERE to speak with a professional.

l View Hide Sources:

  1. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/alcohol-disorders.aspx
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0047840/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3124878/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2701246/
  5. https://academic.oup.com/annonc/article/22/9/1958/210832
  6. https://www.medicinenet.com/vasodilators_drug_class_side_effects_list_of_names/article.htm
  7. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/215638.php
  8. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-use-disorders
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Alcoholism Stats

l View Hide Sources:

  1. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/alcohol-disorders.aspx
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0047840/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3124878/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2701246/
  5. https://academic.oup.com/annonc/article/22/9/1958/210832
  6. https://www.medicinenet.com/vasodilators_drug_class_side_effects_list_of_names/article.htm
  7. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/215638.php
  8. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-use-disorders