Physical Signs of Long-Term Alcohol Abuse Addiction Treatment

One of the more serious effects of alcoholism is the damage it causes your liver. Cirrhosis of the liver happens when your liver is scarred and permanently damaged by the alcohol you consume. The scar tissue replaces the healthy liver tissue, preventing your liver from working as it should. Alcohol will cause the small blood vessels in your skin to widen, which allows more blood to flow closer to the surface.

  • They typically have stomach pain, itchy skin, dark urine, swelling in the legs, nausea and lethargy.
  • Physical dependency means that the alcoholic cannot break free from addiction even though he or she recognizes its negative consequences.
  • Alcoholics are prone to accidents and injuries due to impaired body systems that regulate movement and coordination.
  • Learn about alcoholism support options and find otherresources to start on your recovery plan today.

Obviously, no one intends to become dependent on alcohol when they start drinking. Generally, they are just drinking for fun or as a way to cope with the everyday stress of life.


Individuals may not realize they are sliding further into the disease of alcoholism, but people close to them see marked differences in behaviors and physical health. While it’s legal and common to drink alcohol, addiction to alcohol may be among the deadliest drug addictions there is. Its potential for abuse, withdrawal, and long-term health consequences means you have every reason to present your concerns to your loved one physical signs of alcoholism and offer to get them help. Alcohol abuse changes and damages many areas of the brain, such as the dopamine receptors (or feel-good chemicals). It can cause damage to such an extent that the children of an alcoholic are more likely to suffer from alcoholism. Inheriting a likelihood to become an alcoholic from a parent decreases with each generation. This shows how harmful the irreversible effects of alcohol addiction are.

  • Carol’s past experience in the medical field has led to a deep knowledge of the struggles those with a substance use disorder face.
  • To ensure that we do this, all of our substance abuse counselors are certified and all of our mental health therapists are licensed.
  • One symptom may snowball into another, fueling additional problems down the road.
  • There are a number of signs of alcoholism that aren’t necessarily obvious and, likephysical symptoms, may overlap with symptoms for other issues—this can include memory loss and impaired thinking.
  • An alcoholic will spend a lot of time and effort thinking about alcohol and finding ways to access it.

As a former journalist and a registered nurse, Amy draws on her clinical experience, compassion and storytelling skills to provide insight into the disease of addiction and treatment options. She previously participated in Moffitt Cancer Center’s patient and family advisory program and was a speaker at the Institute of Patient-and Family-Centered Care’s 2015 national conference. Your doctor can see how well your liver is functioning by testing the levels of aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase . Eighty percent of patients with alcoholic liver disease have elevated liver functions and an AST that is double their ALT level. Elevated levels of gamma-glutamyltransferase can also indicate excessive alcohol consumption.

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These effects might not last very long, but that doesn’t make them insignificant. Some of these effects, like a relaxed mood or lowered inhibitions, might show up quickly after just one drink. Others, like loss of consciousness or slurred speech, may develop after a few drinks. Since those effects don’t last long, you might not worry much about them, especially if you don’t drink often.

  • It centers on being more conscious and thoughtful of how much, how often, and why you drink.
  • Acting as if drinking is more important than one’s friends and family; isolating oneself from one’s social support system.
  • Seeing the warning signs of alcohol abuse or alcoholism in a loved one can be terrifying.
  • Alcohol suppresses rapid eye movement, or REM sleep, which is an essential restorative stage of sleep your body requires.

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