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Signs and Symptoms

Craving

Craving a is strong, obsessive desire to drink. This type of thinking tends to obstruct all other channels of an individual’s mental processes and is sought to be resolved by the onset of consumption. Depending on the person’s coping strategies and their effectiveness, the cravings can become more frequent and begin to trickle into a person’s daily life and routine activities. He or she may continue to consume alcohol despite knowing that continued substance use will cause significant physical, psychological or interpersonal problems.

Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal is identified by symptoms that develop after the cessation of drinking in cases of prolonged and heavy consumption, in most cases overnight or after 4 to 12 hours. Specific symptoms can range from hand tremors to momentary hallucinations and illusions. Unfortunately, this may also drive people to continue ingesting alcohol in order to avoid the side effects’ intense and unpleasant nature. In addition, the same explanation can largely contribute to relapse. When coupled with cravings, a destructive cycle of repetitive and excessive alcohol consumption can develop and rewire one’s entire lifestyle.

Tolerance

Tolerance is a phenomenon in various types of substance use and is characterized by a need for incrementally increased amounts of alcohol to achieve a satisfactory feeling of intoxication or a related, desired outcome. Conversely, it is also associated with a significantly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of alcohol. This symptom can be equally or even more destructive compared to a cycle of craving and withdrawal since the increased dosage will increase the chances of alcohol poisoning and death.

Altogether, the major symptoms of alcohol addiction and long-term alcoholism can impact a life in many undesirable ways. Most apparent, a person’s school and job performance may suffer either from direct instances of inebriation or the after effects of a binge. Child care or household responsibilities may also be neglected. Another related sign of alcohol abuse is physical injuries resulting from hazardous circumstances, such as swimming, operating machinery or driving an automobile while intoxicated. While every person’s experience with addiction and abuse is different, other common signs to look out for include:

  • A general loss of control, such as drinking much more than intended regardless of any restrictions set upon themselves
  • A desire to stop drinking with an inability to do so
  • An increase in interpersonal conflict, including domestic violence or child abuse
  • Noticing that drinking, thinking or recovering from alcohol’s effects is consuming a large portion of time
  • Severe physical symptoms, such as blackouts or liver disease
  • A weakened immune system and more frequent susceptibility to disease

It is also necessary to distinguish the telltale signs of long-term alcohol use disorder from a single instance of alcohol intoxication. Observing these associated features on a recurrent basis means an individual may be at risk for alcohol abuse, alcohol use disorder or long-term alcoholism. During intoxication, one or more of the following symptoms may occur:

  • Slurred speech
  • Uncoordinated or risky behavior
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Impaired concentration or attentiveness
  • Memory loss
  • Moderate physical symptoms, like nausea or vomiting
  • A comatose state

It is also important to spot and address these issues early, especially before a person causes real or imminent danger to his or her life. If you are observing any of these signs or symptoms in yourself or someone you love, it is absolutely vital to contact a local alcohol addiction helpline in order to receive the treatment and support that is necessary. At 24/7 Alcohol Addiction Help, we are here for you and we’re just a phone call away. Please call us at (866) 480-6873.