Alcohol Addiction Symptoms

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As one of the most widely used and culturally accepted "drugs," alcohol is still highly addictive and inherently dangerous when it is misused.

Alcohol addiction (alcoholism, alcohol abuse) affects millions of people worldwide, and it does not discriminate based on age, race, gender or socioeconomic status.

Signs of an alcohol problem will be varied from person to person, but here are some general things to look for:

Social consequences

Alcohol addiction often manifests in poor social consequences, like missing school or work because of drinking, drinking in risky situations, or having legal problems because of drinking.

A person may avoid social situations where alcohol is not present, and friends or family members might express concern over the individual's behavior.

Emotional problems

Excessive drinking usually results in mental health symptoms like depression or anxiety. Sometimes these symptoms are underlying before the alcohol abuse starts, and often they are exacerbated by drinking.

An alcohol addict might also suffer from low self-esteem, relationship issues, or difficulty developing a healthy self-care routine.

Dependence

One of the most telling signs of alcohol addiction is dependence - when an individual can't stop drinking or control how much they consume. Dependence also means that a person develops a tolerance, needing more and more alcohol to achieve the same effect. A person might also experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking, like sweating, nausea, shakiness and anxiety.

Physical symptoms

Alcohol addiction can also cause physical problems, like extreme weight loss or gain, yellowing of the skin (jaundice), rapid heart rate, panic attacks, liver or kidney complications, upset stomach (gastritis) or redness of the nose and cheeks.

Since symptoms of alcohol addiction may differ from one person to the next, it's important to consider the big picture of a person's health, relationships, social status and emotional state before drawing conclusions about a potential problem. If you're not sure if an addiction is present, see a physician or alcohol addiction specialist.

Source:NIMH

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