Alcoholism is a pervasive and often underestimated issue. It manifests in numerous physical signs that can be easily overlooked. If you are worried that you or a loved one may be struggling with alcohol addiction, here are 15 physical signs to look out for.
Tremors and Shakes
One of the most common physical signs of alcoholism is tremors or shakes. This sign can be uncontrollable shaking in the hands, fingers, or other parts of the body. The tremors are often a result of withdrawal symptoms when an alcoholic tries to stop drinking.
Redness in the Face
Alcohol consumption has the effect of causing blood vessels to dilate, which leads to a flushed or red appearance on the face. This phenomenon, known as the alcohol flush reaction, occurs due to the body’s inability to metabolize alcohol efficiently. The dilation of blood vessels is particularly noticeable in individuals with fair skin.
Yellowing of the Skin and Eyes (Jaundice)
Jaundice is a condition that causes yellowing of the skin and eyes. It occurs when a person’s liver is unable to function correctly, often as a result of heavy alcohol consumption. Jaundice can be a sign of advanced liver damage and should not be ignored.
Unexplained Bruises or Cuts
People with alcoholism are at a higher risk of accidents and injuries due to impaired judgment and coordination. Alcohol affects cognitive abilities and physical coordination, making it harder to navigate daily activities safely. Unexplained bruises, cuts, or injuries may indicate an issue with alcohol dependency that needs attention.
Alcohol abuse can wreak havoc on the digestive system, leading to a variety of gastrointestinal problems. These issues may include stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation. If you find yourself experiencing frequent GI discomfort after drinking alcohol, it could be a sign that your body is struggling to process the substance.
Blackouts and Memory Loss
Many people with alcoholism struggle with blackouts and memory loss due to excessive drinking. Alcohol affects the brain’s ability to form new memories, leading to periods where a person may not remember what happened while they were intoxicated.
Weight Loss or Gain
Alcoholism can have a significant impact on a person’s weight, leading to either weight loss or gain. Alcohol contains empty calories that provide no nutritional value while still packing a caloric punch. Heavy drinkers may also struggle with poor eating habits or malnutrition, which can contribute to rapid weight loss.
Alcohol consumption can disrupt normal sleep patterns, leading to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Many people with alcoholism also struggle with insomnia and may rely on alcohol as a sleep aid, which only exacerbates the problem.
Frequent Nausea or Vomiting
Excessive alcohol consumption can irritate the delicate lining of the stomach, causing discomfort and triggering a cascade of unpleasant symptoms like persistent nausea and uncontrollable vomiting. These distressing effects are commonly observed in individuals who engage in binge drinking or indulge in heavy alcohol use.
Foul Breath (Halitosis)
Consuming large quantities of alcohol can create an acidic environment in the mouth, leading to dryness and bacterial overgrowth. This process can culminate in bad breath or halitosis, which is a common and often overlooked physical sign of alcoholism.
Alcohol consumption can make you sweat more because it causes your blood vessels to widen, increasing blood flow and triggering sweating. This problem is especially noticeable in people who drink alcohol often or in large amounts. Excessive sweating can be annoying and interfere with daily life and social interactions.
Drinking alcohol can impair vision temporarily, leading to blurry or distorted vision. Alcohol also affects eye-muscle coordination, making it more challenging to focus and track moving objects. This physical sign is particularly concerning because it can pose a significant risk when engaging in activities like driving.
Frequent Illness or Infections
Excessive alcohol intake can weaken immune function, making individuals more susceptible to recurrent illnesses or infections. This problem occurs because alcohol disrupts the body’s natural defense mechanisms, like producing immune cells and functioning antibodies.
Pale or Sallow Skin Tone
People with alcoholism may have a pale or sallow skin tone due to various underlying issues. Excessive drinking can cause dehydration, making the skin appear dull and dry. Alcohol also causes damage to blood vessels, leading to poor circulation and a lack of nutrients reaching the skin’s surface.
Muscle Weakness or Atrophy
Chronic alcohol consumption can lead to muscle weakness and atrophy, which is the loss of muscle mass and strength. This physical sign often manifests in individuals with long-term alcoholism who may also struggle with poor nutrition and vitamin deficiencies.
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This article was produced on Health Makes You.