Are you regularly drinking more than you plan to when you go out for drinks with friends? Do you experience memory loss after a night of drinking? Do you start to feel anxiety, shakiness, or flu-like symptoms if you have gone too long without a drink? These are signs that you, or a person you love, may have alcohol use disorder. Alcohol use disorder (AUD), commonly called alcoholism, is a condition that is defined by a person’s inability to stop or control alcohol use. Someone with AUD will suffer many serious consequences due to their drinking but will continue to prioritize their alcohol consumption over important life commitments.
Alcohol Use Disorder Symptoms
Some of the common symptoms that a person might encounter when suffering from alcohol use disorder are:
- Difficulty limiting the amount of alcohol you consume
- Wanting to cut down on drinking but being unable to do so
- Cravings for alcohol
- Prioritizing alcohol use over important obligations
- Continuing alcohol use even though it negatively impacts your life
- Prioritizing alcohol use over hobbies and activities that once made you happy
- Developing an alcohol tolerance, meaning that you need more alcohol to achieve the desired effect
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms, such as shaking, nausea, or sweating, when you have not been able to consume alcohol
Alcohol Use Disorder Warning Signs
Due to the stigma surrounding alcohol use disorder, it may be difficult to admit that you need help to overcome alcohol use. Also, it can be unclear if your drinking is temporarily increased, or if your drinking is becoming an alcohol use disorder. If you suspect that your drinking could be developing into a serious problem we recommend talking to a professional who can give you unbiased advice.
If your friends and family are commenting that your drinking is causing problems, consider it a reliable warning sign that you may have developed AUD. Also, if you find yourself consistently drinking more than you had planned, then you might want to look into treatment for alcohol use. Often, people with AUD experience blackouts, which are periods of time that a person can not remember due to the effects of excessive alcohol use. If you regularly experience blackouts, it is an indication that you may benefit from treatment for alcohol use. Finally, if you start to experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms when you are unable to drink for an extended period of time, it is a sign that your body has become acclimated to the presence of alcohol in your system. This is a major sign of alcohol use disorder.
Symptoms Of AUD on the Brain and Body
Mental Signs Of Alcohol Misuse
Alcohol use can have a serious effect on a person’s brain and mental health. Because alcohol is a depressant, it can contribute to the development of depression. Alcohol use can also contribute to other mental health conditions, such as anxiety. Alcohol affects memory, meaning that heavy alcohol use can create problems with both short and long-term memory.
Alcohol makes it difficult for the brain’s communication pathways to work properly, meaning that all brain functions are affected by alcohol use. Areas such as speech and judgment are particularly affected by the impairment of neurons due to alcohol use.
Physical Signs of Alcohol Misuse
A person with alcohol use disorder can expect to experience a number of physical conditions resulting from alcohol misuse.
Liver disease is a common result of alcohol use disorder. Alcohol can cause increased fat buildup in the liver, leading to inflammation and scarring..
Digestive problems are commonly found in individuals with AUD. Individuals who consume alcohol in excess often experience inflammation of the stomach lining. Stomach ulcers are another symptom of heavy alcohol use. Alcohol can prevent your body from getting enough Vitamin B and other nutrients. Finally, AUD can lead to inflammation in a person’s pancreas.
The heart is another organ that can be significantly impacted by alcohol use disorder. People with AUD are at an increased risk for high blood pressure. Other heart-related conditions bought on by alcohol use are an enlarged heart, heart failure, or stroke.
Alcohol use can have a serious impact on a person’s blood sugar. Alcohol interferes with the release of insulin in a person’s body, increasing the likelihood of dangerously low blood sugar levels. This risk is increased if someone is diabetic and already on medications that lower blood sugar.
Alcohol can interfere with sexual function in men, making it difficult to maintain an erection. For women, increased alcohol use can cause issues related to menstrual cycles.
Bone loss is possible in those who misuse alcohol. This increases the likelihood of breaks and fractures. Alcohol can also damage bone marrow, leading to a decreased platelet count.
Alcohol misuse can negatively impact the body’s immune system, which will increase a person’s risk of contracting a serious illness. Pneumonia is a common illness contracted by those who suffer from alcohol use disorder.
- In the United States, nearly 15 million people over 12 years of age suffer from alcohol use disorder.
- 414,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 have alcohol use disorder.
- Under 8 percent of those who experience AUD received treatment in 2018.
- It is estimated that 95,000 people die from alcohol-related deaths every year.
- 35.9 percent of people with AUD fully recover. Many more are able to reduce their alcohol intake.
Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment
Recovering from Alcohol alone can be difficult. At Shadow Mountain, we provide treatment for alcohol use disorder that will help you take the first important steps in your recovery journey. At Shadow Mountain Recovery Centers we offer resources that can give you what you need to recover, such as a quality detox program that will help you through the initial stages of recovery, evidenced-based therapies that will treat the root cause of your alcohol use, and a supportive community that believes in you. Call us today at 800-203-8249 for more information on the recovery techniques that can help you find wellness.
FAQs About Signs Of Alcoholism
What Qualifies You As An Alcoholic?
A person with alcohol use disorder has extreme difficulty when it comes to ending or controlling their drinking. For someone with AUD, alcohol consumption will be a top priority, often forcing work responsibilities or important relationships to become less important concerns. Often, individuals who have alcohol use disorder have tried to quit or reduce alcohol use but have not been able to accomplish this goal.
What Are The Signs Of Drinking Too Much?
A person who drinks too much may often feel the unpleasant side effects of drinking, such as headaches caused by dehydration. If you frequently drink too much your body might adjust to the presence of alcohol, and you may have withdrawal symptoms such as shaking if you do not consume alcohol. Alcohol affects the way that the brain works, so increased alcohol use may leave you with decreased cognitive function. Alcohol can damage the immune system, causing you to get sick more often. Finally, long-term heavy alcohol use can cause disease in several vital organs.
What Happens To Your Body When You Drink Too Much?
Individuals who drink too much are likely to experience a number of unpleasant side effects related to their physical well-being. Some of these effects relate to mental wellness, with alcohol use causing or worsening a number of mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety. Alcohol use can cause a number of serious conditions in a person’s internal organs, such as liver disease or kidney failure.
What Happens When You Drink Alcohol Everyday?
Occasional drinking is not a health risk for most individuals. Many people enjoy a glass of wine in the evening or a beer at a backyard barbecue with no negative health effects. However, daily drinking, even at a moderate level, can cause a person to experience some negative side effects. You might notice unwelcome weight gain, or feel more tired or sluggish than you used to. You may also experience cravings if you do go too long without a drink, or if you encounter an especially stressful situation. You will also likely build up a tolerance for alcohol, which makes many people increase their moderate drinking to feel the same effects. Over time, a person who drinks every day can develop serious medical conditions that could be life-threatening, such as heart disease.