Alcoholism, commonly known as alcohol use disorder, is a condition that can completely control someone’s life if left untreated. Aside from the adverse health effects of alcohol, alcohol use disorder can cause issues in relationships and performance at work or school. Binge-drinking habits can quickly turn from a recreational activity to a necessity as alcohol use disorder begins forming. Symptoms of alcoholism will start to manifest.
Alcohol addiction isn’t unique to any specific region, background or current situation, as anyone can begin suffering from alcoholism when they start moving beyond moderate drinking. Drinking is one of the most common ways to celebrate occasions, and for many, this poses constant challenges to make the healthy choice and not consume excessive alcohol.
Being so closely linked to celebrations and parties, it’s become socially acceptable to abuse alcohol given the right reason. Unfortunately, these frequent nights of consumption start forming dependencies, and eventually an alcohol addiction is born. Heavy drinking becomes the norm, and health problems start happening more frequently.
Spotting Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Because alcohol addiction is so commonly portrayed in the media and seen in those we care about, it can be difficult to determine what behaviors should be considered to diagnose alcoholism. Buying another round at the end of a meal is one thing, but it’s another to keep drinking until you’re fully intoxicated.
Binge-drinking is a common sign of alcohol use disorder, and the impact it has on the body is significant. Signs of severe intoxication include:
- Slurred or slowed speech
- Loss of fine motor skills
- Trouble keeping your balance while walking or standing
- Vacant stares
- Aggravation, anxiety or depression
Alcohol Addiction Forms Quickly
The more often someone chooses to get drunk instead of drinking for the social aspect or simply for a slight buzz, the faster that person’s health begins to decline, both mentally and physically. Physical signs of alcohol abuse and alcoholism include liver damage, frequent infections and a red tone in the face due to enlarged blood vessels.
Alcohol abuse can also be identified by its short-term consequences. Nausea, blackouts, headaches and poor judgment are all common and well-known side effects of abusing alcohol, but more severe cases can be fatal, such as alcohol poisoning and shallow breathing.
The Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Use Disorder
If you’re still unsure, there are even more long-term side effects of alcohol abuse that put both physical and mental health in danger. Long-term symptoms of alcohol abuse may manifest as:
- High blood pressure
- Constant hand tremors and shakes
- Depression or anxiety disorders
- Brain damage
- Loss of sex drive
- Mouth and throat cancer
- Alcohol withdrawal and accompanying symptoms
What Are Withdrawal Symptoms?
Withdrawal is the time the body takes to completely remove and rebound from the presence of a substance within the body. During withdrawal, the mind and body are relearning how to function on their own again, which can lead to severe pain, discomfort and emotional irregularity.
Other Signs of Alcohol Abuse
Mental health and physical changes due to alcohol addiction are to be expected from such a damaging substance, but there are changes in the person’s life that point towards substance abuse and substance use disorder. Even a case of mild alcohol use disorder can be life-altering.
When considering if alcohol addiction is an issue, look for life changes such as:
- Financial stress
- Legal problems
- Strained social and personal relationships
- Having guilt about the extent of alcohol consumption
- Loss of employment
- Drinking even after it leads to problems
- Choosing to drink over other social or professional engagements
Those with mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder, ADHD and chronic anxiety are more prone to alcohol problems.
Signs of Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Help Stop Alcohol Addiction With Early Intervention
Alcohol abuse often starts at a young age, and those who start to drink alcohol in high school or earlier are at a much higher risk of forming an addiction. The combination of social pressures and a still-growing brain make developing alcohol addiction a rapid process. The dangers of underage heavy drinking include engaging in:
- Unprotected sex
- Drug abuse
- Drunk driving
Alcoholism can also stem from genetic factors and make a moderate disorder more severe by default. The warning signs of problem drinking are typically present early on, making providing at-risk teens and young adults with proper addiction treatment the key to ending alcoholism.
Finding Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism in Yourself
There’s no denying that discovering you may be suffering from alcoholism is a difficult time. Thankfully, it’s never too late to find help for excessive drinking, alcohol dependence and withdrawal symptoms.
Regularly spending time drinking is as much a public health concern as it is personal. As such, the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, has provided guidelines for moderating your consumption. Drinking is considered to be in excess when a male has had five or more drinks within an hour or a female has more than four drinks in the same amount of time.
If you’ve noticed a shift in your relationship with drinking, take a moment to step back and analyze what impact alcohol abuse has had on you and your loved ones. Even if it’s unintentional, those around you are affected by your decisions and risky behavior. It can be difficult to stop drinking, as the more alcohol you consume, the more of an increased risk you’re at for severe side effects during withdrawal.
Get Help From a Professional Rehab Center
Whether you’re one of the many college students engaging in excessive drinking or a victim of mental disorders that led you to alcohol, there are support groups and medical teams available to help you through a safe and comfortable recovery. Alcohol affects every part of a person’s life, making comprehensive treatment the smoothest road to success.
Alcoholism comes in all shapes and sizes, with treatment options being adjusted based on your specific needs. Much like drug dependence, treating alcoholism takes medical supervision and at least one mental health professional to address behavioral signs of alcohol use disorder.
Camelback Recovery provides personalized treatment programs for Arizona residents struggling with alcoholism. Contact us today or call (602) 466-9880 to learn more with a confidential consultation.