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Signs of Alcoholism

Signs of Alcoholism

According to SAMHSA, 10.1% of young adults in Ohio in 2019 were recorded having AUD, alcohol use disorder. The regular consumption of alcohol becomes an alcohol use disorder when your ability to stop or control your alcohol use is severely impaired, even if it negatively impacts your social or professional life. 

At SUN Behavioral Health Columbus, we want to see our community live the lives they desire. We understand the difficulties that come with stopping a substance use disorder and want to be there to offer support for both our patients and their families. We offer many methods to help our patients, starting as simple as the educational content we provide on our site, all the way to our treatment options, and helping patients once they leave our doors.

It can be hard, sometimes, to know exactly when alcohol use becomes a problem. You can look out for many things in yourself or a loved one, from the physical and mental side effects to behavior patterns and other things. Not all who drink have alcohol use disorder, nor does everyone who’s binge drank once or twice develop it either. Today we’re going to look at some of the symptoms and signs you can look out for when trying to help someone (including yourself) who might have AUD. 

Alcohol Use Disorder: What to Look Out For 

Not all regular alcohol consumption constitutes someone developing AUD, but there are certain factors that can leave someone at a higher risk of developing it. Here are some of the key things to note:

  • Drinking at an early age
  • A family history of alcohol problems
  • A frequent consumption of alcohol
  • Untreated mental health conditions 

Even if you have a few of these boxes ticked off for yourself, that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to have AUD nor does it mean it’s too late to seek out help to reduce your risk.

Warning Signs of Alcoholism

AUD can impact your life in more ways than you might realize. Here are some questions you should ask yourself if you think you might have AUD but aren’t certain.

  • Have you ever cut out activities that you enjoy in order to drink instead?
  • How often do you drink more than you intended?
  • How much time do you spend drinking or being affected by drinking? (Such as the time spent on hangovers or being sick afterward)
  • Have you ever continued drinking despite it being a source of conflict with people you care about?
  • Has your drinking increased in frequency? 
  • Have you ever craved a drink so badly that you couldn’t focus on anything else?

If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, it might be important to seek the advice of a medical professional. 

Symptoms of AUD on the Brain and Body

Long-term alcohol consumption does more than just impact your social life. Having alcohol in the body often can cause damage to some of your organs and impact the way your brain functions.  Many of these effects can be reversed over time once consumption has stopped. 

Not every symptom of alcohol use disorder is as noticeable as some others, so let’s take a look and see exactly how AUD can alter the mind and body.

Mental Signs of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol is a depressant. For those already suffering from depression, this can leave you more vulnerable to the side effects of depression. In addition, depression can develop over time for those who didn’t already have it but use alcohol on a long-term basis.

Other mental concerns that can arise from AUD include anxiety, irritability, and mood disturbances. Alcohol alters your brain when it’s consumed, affecting communication pathways, which can lead to changes in your mood or behavior that you might not have had or chosen to have while not under the influence.

Physical Signs of Alcohol Misuse

Alcohol can impact many different organs in your body, but the ones that are most impacted include the liver, pancreas, and heart. Long-term alcohol consumption can leave you at risk for “alcohol-associated cancer,” which is any cancer that develops due to heavy use of alcohol. 

Here are just some of the conditions that you can develop due to AUD:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat)
  • Stroke
  • Fibrosis
  • Steatosis
  • Alcoholic hepatitis
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiomyopathy (stretching and drooping of heart muscles) 

In addition, your immune system can be impacted by chronic drinking. This leaves you open to a higher risk of contracting illnesses. Those who have AUD are also more likely to contract diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis. 

SUN Columbus Treatment Options for Alcoholism

Here at SUN, we understand how unique everyone in our community is, which is why we offer a variety of alcohol addiction services to help you reach your goals in a way that suits you best. We can guide you through the alcohol detox process to make your withdrawal symptoms as manageable as possible. From there, we will help you determine what level of care will best fit your recovery journey. We offer on-site, inpatient, and outpatient services.

If you or a loved one is looking for help with alcohol use disorder, give us a call today at 614-706-2786 to get started.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the symptoms of alcoholism?

If you’re craving drinks to the point you can’t focus, not doing things you enjoy anymore in order to drink, or unable to stop drinking even if you want to – these are the symptoms of alcoholism. .

Are alcoholic treatment options covered by my insurance company?

Many insurance companies do cover detox and inpatient/outpatient treatments, but your coverage will vary from facility to facility. If you have any questions about your insurance and coverage options, give us a call today at 614-706-2786.

What are the warning signs that a loved one might be drinking too much?

If your loved one’s life is being impacted by alcohol, whether their behavior has changed, they’ve stopped doing things they enjoy just to drink, they find it hard not to drink even if they don’t want to, or have had many instances where drinking has impacted their social life - they’re probably at risk for developing Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). 

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