Alcoholism symptoms

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

If you're a heavy drinker, it's likely that you have an 'alcohol problem'. So, I'd really like you to have a look at the alcoholism symptoms on this page.

I hope they'll help to take a deep breath just before you decide to have another glass, can or bottle. You just need a few seconds to stop yourself going into that trance state from which you'll wake up regretting you've 'done it again'.

The impact of an alcohol problem can be huge, with implications for your health and your relationships. 

One of the most telling signs that you're an alcoholic is that you continue to reach for your next drink despite the severity of your symptoms and your desperate desire to quit.

It will only result in...

  • your relationship or marriage is falling apart
  • greatly diminished job and career prospects
  • your feeling helpless and hopeless in the face of your increasing dependence, no matter how hard you try  

You're caught in an unrelenting cycle of distress and inability to give up.

I really don't want that for you! Like everyone else you're here to express your uniqueness in a way that contributes to the greater good and makes you happy. Think about it - there is no one in the world exactly like you - how special are you!

So, here's where you start in increasing your awareness and self-knowledge. I'm right behind you!

the effects of having an alcohol problem

List of alcoholism symptoms - the warning signs

Below is a list of the most common symptoms of alcoholism. Have a look through and see how many you recognise...

  • Weight reduction or weight gain
  • Low self-esteem/low self confidence
  • Needing to find reasons why you're drinking
  • Depression - nothing seems worthwhile anymore
  • Anxiety - that constant feeling that there's a tiger on your heels
  • Loneliness - your only 'real' friends are your drinking buddies who won't care if you're sick as long as they have someone to join them on their next binge
  • Obsession with drinking
  • Far too many days 'off sick' - in danger of losing your job
  • Paranoia - you don't trust a soul and everyone's out to get you
  • Denial - "I'm not an alcoholic"
  • Lying about drinking
  • Not wanting to lie about drinking any longer
  • Abandoned hobbies/interests
  • Failed relationships
  • Financial ruin - yours and that of your family
  • Living in squalor
  • Irresponsibility - poor decision making, leading to accidents, rape/allegations of rape etc. 
  • Impotence

Basic medical explanations for the physical effects of alcoholism symptoms

After a heavy drinking session or drinking binge, there are many effects of alcohol poisoning on your body:

  1. Your nervous system as directed by your brain is slowed down (Central Nervous System depression)
  2. Your blood vessels become wider, which causes your blood pressure to drop (vasodilation)
  3. Your body temperature drops (hypothermia)
  4. Your heartbeat increases beyond the normal - under 100 beats per minute for an adult (tachycardia)
  5. Your heart works less than optimally (myocardial depression)
  6. Your pupils constrict or widen abnormally (variable pupillary responses)
  7. Your breathing slows down leading to a reduced oxygen intake (respiratory depression)
  8. You urinate more, losing more fluids than you take in due to the alcohol's effect on hormones (diuresis)
  9. Your blood sugar levels drop (hypoglycemia)
  10. You're unable to make precise movements (loss of fine motor control)

As you can see from this list, all of the systems in your body are in a bad state after a binge. The stark reality is that alcoholics are doing untold damage to their bodies, and could easily cause their own death.

Whilst you may appear to recover (your hangover will disappear eventually) the damage to your body accumulates. There comes a point at which your body no longer has the capacity to heal itself.

Chronic alcohol exposure

Alcoholism can cause:

  1. Blood diseases (hematologic disorders)
  2. High blood pressure (hypertension)
  3. Heart disease
  4. Cancer
  5. Inflammation of the organ that helps to regulate your blood sugar (pancreatitis)
  6. Lack of vitamins and minerals that help your body to function normally (malnutrition)
  7. Extreme weight gain (obesity)
  8. Liver failure (hepatic dysfunction)
  9. Dependency on alcohol of your unborn child (fetal alcohol syndrome)
  10. Premature aging of your skin
  11. Addiction

For more information, have a look at: Alcoholism Stages and Alcohol and Depression.

A real life story

Join me in Part 2 for a compelling look at the Symptoms of Alcoholism from the perspective of an ex-alcoholic. He tells a very powerful story...

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

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Image courtesy of: Aisis35