Consuming alcohol is a common occurrence in American culture and people drink for many different reasons. Many people drink too much alcohol and they are not aware that they have an alcohol use disorder. Often these people are in denial, and they do not realize how alcohol use is causing problems in their life. There are signs and symptoms of alcohol use disorder that can help a person identify if they, or a loved one, have a problem. Alcohol use disorder can be rated as mild, moderate or severe depending on how many symptoms a person experiences. Here is a list of signs and symptoms of alcohol use disorder:
- A person spends much of their time obtaining, drinking and recovering from alcohol use.
- Having strong cravings to drink alcohol.
- Not being able to stop drinking or limiting the amount they drink.
- Using alcohol in unsafe situations such as driving a vehicle, running machinery, swimming, climbing etc.
- Not being able to fulfill life obligations regarding family, work, school etc.
- Having built up a tolerance to alcohol so that they have to drink more to gain the same effect as before.
- Continuing to drink alcohol even when the person knows that it is causing problems with their health, family, job, schoolwork etc.
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, nausea and shaking when not drinking.
- Isolating oneself from family and friends, and avoiding activities they once enjoyed.
- Drinking to de-stress.
- Having alcohol related legal problems.
- Experiencing blackouts and not remembering what happened during the blackout.
- Having a change in behavior such as becoming aggressive, agitated, compulsive, self-destructive or taking risks.
- Experiencing fear, delirium, anxiety, guilt, euphoria, sadness, loneliness, discontent and suicidal thoughts.
- Appearing intoxicated, having slurred speech and smelling of alcohol.
- Experiencing injuries, bruises, falls and other accidents.
- Starts to drink early in the morning and continues to be inebriated throughout the day.
- Prefers to drink alone and hides his drinking from others. Also makes excuses for his drinking.
The continuation of alcohol use disorder warning signs and symptoms are a clue that damage is being done to the person physically, mentally, socially, legally, financially, etc. By not addressing the problem immediately, the drinker is at risk of becoming an alcoholic. Once this happens he may no longer have any control over his life. He could begin to spiral down toward estrangement from his family and friends, become homeless, commit a crime leading to incarceration, develop disease as his body fails and experience a fatal toxic overdose.
Risks of Alcohol Use
There are approximately 88,000 deaths attributed to excessive alcohol use in the U.S. annually. Long-term excessive alcohol use can lead to chronic diseases, neurological impairment and social problems including dementia, stroke, weakened immune system, neuropathy, myocardial infarction, atrial fibrillation, cardiomyopathy, hypertension, fatty liver disease, hepatitis or cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, gastritis and cancers of the liver, mouth, throat, larynx and esophagus. It can also cause memory and learning problems, blackouts, schizophrenia, psychosis, panic disorder, epilepsy and impairment in speech, judgment and movement.
Withdrawing from alcohol can be painful, severe and life-threatening. It is recommended that an individual enter an alcohol rehabilitation facility to undergo a medically supervised detox from alcohol. Withdrawal symptoms usually begin about two hours after the last drink and can rapidly worsen over time. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, nausea, vomiting, headache, insomnia, sweating, hand tremors, hallucinations, extreme confusion, numbness, a rise in blood pressure, fever, dehydration and heart failure. Complications of detox, such as seizures and delirium tremens (DTs), can lead to death if not medically treated.
A medically supervised detox will continually monitor and assess the patient’s withdrawal progress and address any problems or complications that may arise. Medications are available to help ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of seizures and DT’s. If you, or a loved one, are experiencing symptoms of alcohol use disorder and need help, call an alcohol rehabilitation facility. They are well equipped and able to help you achieve sobriety and live a healthy, productive life.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.