Spotting The Physical Signs Of Alcoholism

The physical signs of alcoholism are not quite how Hollywood portrays them. Not all people with a drinking problem are on a park bench, swigging cheap vodka from a brown paper bag.

Do you know what the signs to look for are?

Could you spot alcohol addiction in a loved one, or even in your own behavior?

Let’s dig a little deeper in today’s blog post:

The term “alcohol addiction” is an overused phrase. It is used to describe someone who can’t control the amount or frequency of their drinking. However, most professionals don’t use this phrase anymore, it’s too broad.

Nearly 8% percent of United States adults, roughly 18 million individuals, had a diagnosable alcohol use disorder.

Males have alcohol use disorders nearly twice as frequently as women. Of the estimated 18 million impacted adults, 12.2 million were males and 5.7 million were females.

Regardless of your gender. If you are worried the best thing you can do is take action with an online course or live quit drinking seminar.

signs of alcoholism
physical signs of alcoholism

Teenagers are not exempt.

In recent years, an approximated 855,000 youths between 12-17 years of age struggled with alcohol addiction.

Alcoholism is different for everyone, so doctors use a checklist of symptoms referred to as the DSM-5 manual, catchy right?

They use this checklist to identify an alcohol use disorder and its intensity level. Simply put, if an individual has experienced a minimum of 2 of the 11 variables in the past year. This would suggest the individual has an alcohol use disorder.

The presence of 2 or 3 boxes checked means there is low-level alcohol use disorder. While 4 to 5 signs are labeled medium/moderate, and 6 or more is considered serious.

Worried about your own drinking?

Consider just four of the indicators and compare the statements to your drinking:

  1. Intrusion with work, college, home, and/or other obligations due to alcohol use
  2. Carrying on drinking alcohol in spite of the adverse effect it is having on one’s relationships
  3. Participating in high-risk conduct after drinking alcohol, like fighting, driving a car, going for a swim, having unsafe sex, or operating heavy equipment
  4. Gradually, needing more alcohol to attain the desired envigorating impacts.

In general, the 11 variables deal with both the physical and emotional elements of alcohol use disorder.

The difference between physical dependency and emotional dependency is important to understand. Physical reliance on alcohol is a sign the body needs the drug, but you want not want it.

Simply put, an individual may be physically dependent on drinking or another substance of misuse. Without being emotionally dependent on it.

i am not a problem drinker

There are a couple of primary hallmarks of physical addiction.

Alcohol is poison and the body learns to survive despite it. As tolerance grows, an individual who drinks alcohol will demand a greater amount to get the same ‘buzz’.

Furthermore, you will experience withdrawal if consumption stops suddenly. Or if there is a considerable decrease in the normal quantity being used.

Often people drink purely to avoid the painful sensation of withdrawal.

People with alcohol use disorders will probably encounter the signs of the physical addiction in addition to emotional impacts.

Withdrawal symptoms include:

The emotional element of dependency does not relate to the impacts drinking has on someone’s frame of mind.

For instance, making bad choices and doing stupid things. Instead, it pertains to how the individual’s ideas and responses end up being tailored towards getting alcohol and consuming it. This happens even to the exception of essential obligations and duties.

quit drinking alcohol for good

The Physical Signs Of Alcoholism: Stage 1

In regards to the DSM-5, a brand-new patient might present up to 2 of the 11 symptoms. The problem is, we don’t get any warning that our social drinking will end in problem drinking. All people drinking alcohol are essentially playing a form of Russian Roulette.

In the early stages of alcoholic abuse, an individual will typically get an intro to various kinds of alcohol and explore drinking in several forms.

A lot of Stop Drinking Expert clients claim the tried many drinks over the years but most end up at Vodka. Why? Because it gets the job done, quick!

Usually, these exploring folks are either college students or adolescents, such as university students.

Alcohol consumption is normally a key element in establishing social standing with this young group. Therefore, they binge drink as a way of being accepted by the group. They might not be frequent drinkers, but binge alcohol consumption by itself still puts them in danger of establishing an alcohol use disorder.

Binge drinker
Binge drinker?

Binge Drinking

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Binge drinking takes place when, within a couple of hours, an individual gets to a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or greater.

  • For females, depending on body mass, this typically needs 4 alcoholic beverages.
  • In males, it requires 5 alcoholic beverages in 2 hours.

Nevertheless, lots of binge drinkers will go over the 4 or 5 drink mark and experience greater levels of BAC in addition to a multitude of incapacitating physical and psychological adverse effects.

Not every one that experiments with alcohol in college will end up having a problem with alcohol. People who do continue to consume alcohol heavily or on a regular basis might do this because they are environmentally or genetically inclined to do so.

Children of Alcoholics

For example, if you grew up with an alcoholic parent you are at a much bigger risk of drinking problems. Even more, analysis indicates that specific aspects of a youngster’s home life can lead them to alcoholism.

For example, observing a mom or dad misuse alcohol or other drugs. Or having been subjected to a parent’s anxiety or alcohol-fueled temper in the family home.

A lot of drinkers already have health problems that they try to treat with alcohol. They can easily move from safe drinking to alcohol abuse because it appears to help them cope.

Natural and hereditary aspects apart, the high amount of drinks people use in a given time period can put them in danger of establishing an alcohol use disorder.

  • Women who have a day-to-day consumption of greater than 3 drinks, or greater than 7 weekly, are considered at risk.
  • Men, because of their larger body mass, are in danger if they take part in greater than 4 alcoholic beverages a day or greater than 14 weekly.
quit drinking month
Quit drinking month

The Physical Signs Of Alcoholism: Stage 2

Modest use of alcohol is linked both with the regularity of use in addition to the intent around drinking alcohol. An individual who has a mental or emotional attachment to alcohol consumption might be at a greater risk for forming an alcohol use disorder.

This compared to someone who just has a glass of wine each evening with their meal.

Typically, alcoholism means not being able to control when, where and how much you drink. Or showing signs that drinking is making life miserable. In such a case, the individual would start to reveal more physical signs of alcoholism.

At this phase, an individual might be physically reliant on drinking, but not always. Simply put, at stage 2 you run the risk of stopping drinking and experiencing some mild withdrawal manifestations.

People start to need alcohol rather than want it, like relying on it to “have a good time,”. By this point, they might form some bad habits around drinking and ultimately cultivate an AUD. If alcoholism sets in, it will likely be harder to quit drinking due to the existence of withdrawal.

Quitting Drinking On Your Own

Most dependency experts admit that home detoxification or “going cold turkey” is never recommended. The most reliable strategy would be to chat with a substance addiction therapist or mental health specialist about safer alternatives to detoxifying from drinking.

This does not apply to people who are not physically addicted to alcohol. Nearly 90% of the drinkers who turn to the Stop Drinking Expert online course or live seminars do not have this issue. They are problem drinkers only, which means they have got into a bad loop with their drinking and need a little guidance to stop.

Symptoms of alcoholism
Symptoms of alcoholism

The Physical Signs Of Alcoholism: Stage 3

To be diagnosed with Stage 3 alcoholism you would need to meet 6 of the 11 symptoms. Having 6 or more of the alcohol use disorder signs would suggest the requirement for a serious intervention.

Before talking about the unfavourable results connected with drinking. Such as its potentially destructive consequences on a person’s life. Including bad health, problems in relationships, debt and money problems, and failing at work. Think about the group of problem drinkers referred to as a “high functioning alcoholic.”

All appears normal

A highly functioning individual who misuses alcohol may have the ability to work each day. The can even surpass requirements, and satisfy all needed economic responsibilities.

Around twenty percent of people who misuse alcohol might be categorized as high functioning. Continued alcohol consumption, nevertheless, is like a mousetrap. It’s primed and waiting to go off. In regards to the adverse after-effects connected with substantial heavy drinking.

High functioning drinkers may look ‘normal’ but they are not getting away with it.

Physical Signs Of Alcoholism

Health Problems

The advancement of health problems is a significant worry for all drinkers. Health problems may vary in intensity. However, the following health problems and illness may materialize because of persistent, substantial alcoholism:

Sometimes, alcoholism might intensify problems but not create them outright.

Everything Get’s Worse With Alcohol

In other situations, drinking might be a background reason for an ailment. Then ongoing alcohol use will cause the condition to flare up. For example, alcoholism could be a peripheral source of gout pain and intensify the disorder.

We know that continued heavy drinking causes some particularly nasty conditions. Such as cancer and organ failure.

In the unlucky event that a severe drinker forms a severe health problem or condition. The patient’s doctor can clarify whether drinking was an explicit trigger or a peripheral reason. The attending doctor may also detail how ongoing alcohol consumption may affect the particular ailment.

physical signs of alcoholism
Physical signs of alcoholism

The Physical Signs Of Alcoholism: Stage 4

In the end, alcohol use changes from living to drink to drinking to stay alive.

At this moment, people have completely lost the capacity to prevent themselves from drinking alcohol. After a long enough duration of heavy drinking. Withdrawal might be so unpleasant that the individual needs to constantly consume alcohol simply to avoid them.

At this moment, a person might form a major condition, like cirrhosis.  Cirrhosis of the liver arises from many years of liver harm. As people constantly drink alcohol, their liver creates scar tissue rather than fresh healthy cells. In time, the scar tissue in the liver organ blocks blood flow.

The existence of scar tissue also hinders the system’s capacity to cleanse poisons from the bloodstream. It means the liver can’t control diseases, process nutrition, and assimilate cholesterol. Along with severe health conditions and problems.

Individuals in the final phase of alcoholic abuse might start to fall over and hurt themselves often, because of balance and control issues.


Usually, when drinkers die after a tumble, it is as a result of bleeding in the brain and not the fall itself. An individual in the end phase of alcoholism abuse is also in danger of deliberate self-harm.

Alcoholics can feel helpless and hopeless at this stage of the disease. Withdrawal, as mentioned, maybe agonizing and the outlook bleak. So, one can understand why some start to consider ending their own life.

Sobriety Rocks
Sobriety Rocks

Putting The Brakes On!

The fact that you are here reading about the physical signs of alcoholism means something significant. You are either worried about someone you love or perhaps even yourself.

There is a reason to be optimistic. Alcoholism is a slow killer, there is always a good point to quit drinking and give your body half a chance of reversing the damage.

If you are non-functioning in life and are physically addicted to alcohol you will probably need inpatient medical care. This site is not a replacement for medical advice, so always consult your doctor.

If you believe you are just in a bad loop with your drinking then you may be able to deal with this 100% online. The Stop Drinking Expert ‘How To Stop Drinking Course‘ is highly rated and respected around the world. Over 100,000 people just like you have quit drinking easily as a result.

For more information click here to join our free daily quit drinking webinar.

Or for dates and ticket booking click here to find out more about our live quit drinking seminars.

About the Author Stop Drinking Expert

Craig Beck ABNLP. ABHYP. DhP. is an internationally renowned, specialist alcohol cessation coach and quit drinking mentor. Using his experience as a former problem drinker, combined with professionals qualifications, accreditations and practice as an addiction therapist, ICF licensed coach, master practitioner of NLP and master hypnotherapist. Independently respected and rated.

Not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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  1. Alcoholics are the scum of the earth. Like DJ AM said before he overdosed and died, “Alcoholism/(addiction) is the SELF-CENTERED disease of MADNESS.” Addicts care about NOTHING but themselves and those things and people they can USE in anyway to feed their NARCISSISM. They won’t think twice about using you and then discarding you when your usefulness exists no longer in their mind. They are cruel and hurtful aholes.

    1. What a ridiculously over the top comment. Most alcoholics drink to numb the painful emotions they feel:- self medication. Not to be selfish. I don’t know anyone that would choose to drink day after day after day, while their health deteriorated in front of their eyes, and they lost all their relationships, and self worth or self esteem. Most never had any esteem prior to the first drink. I started age 12 because I was seeking escape from my family life and a way to numb my feelings. I can tell from your angry comment, that you’ve been on the receiving end of hurt by an alcohol dependence man or woman. Please, Remember not everyone that drinks, is drinking because he or she is selfish. Mostly it’s a form of aesthetic. And as Mr Beck says. No one wakes up after an operation and says “I feel great”! We’re not all the same. Best wishes. L

  2. Your tips on how you should be wary if your alcoholic friend starts displaying signs of intense stress while ignoring their duties are very helpful. I noticed that my friend has been posting negativity all over social media recently, and it's starting to make me worry. I'll keep your suggestion in mind and help him find a counselor if this persists.

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