Symptoms, Signs, & Effects of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol use disorder, which is also known as alcohol addiction or alcoholism, is characterized by a preoccupation with drinking alcohol and the inability to control alcohol consumption. As described by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), a person who suffers from alcohol use disorder can get stuck in an unhealthy cycle of addiction that can severely impact their life if left untreated. 

While the effects of alcohol addiction can be detrimental, there is help available. At Maple Heights Behavioral Health, located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, we offer highly effective care for adults and seniors who are battling alcohol addictions 

Signs & Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction signs and symptoms can depend on many different factors, such as a person’s age and how long they’ve been struggling with alcohol use disorder. While symptoms of alcohol addiction vary from one person to another, there are certain common warning signs that can suggest a person needs professional help. 

Signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction may include: 

  • Loss of motivation or interest in once-enjoyed activities  
  • Overwhelming urges to drink alcohol  
  • Consuming alcohol in dangerous situations, including while driving  
  • Inability to drink in moderation  
  • Failure to stop drinking despite multiple attempts  
  • Needing to consume more alcohol to get the same effect as before  
  • Consuming alcohol to avoid feeling sick and shaky  

If you are exhibiting any of these warning signs, please seek the help of a professional. With appropriate care, you can learn how to live a healthier life in recovery. 

Receiving care at an alcohol addiction treatment center can help you learn invaluable coping skills for managing alcohol cravings. With the guidance of experts, you can decrease your chances of experiencing future difficulties by exploring potential underlying causes of alcohol addiction and identifying how to correct unhealthy behavior patterns moving forward.  

Common Causes of & Risk Factors for Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction is a chronic disease that can impact people of all ages, ethnicities, genders, and backgrounds. Causes of alcohol addiction can include a combination of environmental, behavioral, psychological, and social factors. 

While there is no formula to predict a person’s likelihood of developing alcohol use disorder, there are factors that can put someone at higher risk for developing an addiction to alcohol. Common risk factors for alcohol use disorder include: 

  • Starting to drink alcohol at an early age 
  • Peer pressure 
  • Family history of alcohol addiction 
  • Low self-esteem  
  • Experiencing high levels of stress 
  • Binge drinking 
  • Co-occurring mental health concerns

Alcohol Addiction Statistics

The following alcohol use statistics were provided by the World Health Organization (WHO):  

  • The dangerous use of alcohol results in a staggering 3 million deaths around the world every year. 
  • Alcohol use is a factor in the development of more than 200 diseases and injuries. 
  • Alcohol consumption can lead to early death or disability, and in individuals ages 20-39, roughly 13.5% of deaths are due to the harmful use of alcohol. 

Potential Effects of Alcohol Addiction

An alcohol addiction can lead to serious consequences for a person’s overall health and well-being. Potential effects of an alcohol addiction can include:  

  • Injury, accident, or poisoning due to excessive drinking 
  • Damaged relationships with loved ones 
  • Job loss and financial hardship 
  • Legal problems  
  • Onset of mental health concerns 
  • Lowered self-confidence and self-esteem 
  • Damage to organs, including the liver, heart, and pancreas 
  • Cognitive decline  
  • Feelings of intense loneliness  
  • Social isolation 
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions 

The first step toward getting help is reaching out to a qualified provider. At Maple Heights Behavioral Health, our team of experts can help you find a path to lasting recovery. With our support, you can end your unhealthy relationship with alcohol and begin to regain control of your life. 

Alcohol Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms

When a person who has an alcohol addiction attempts to stop drinking, they may experience a variety of unsettling symptoms. This condition is known as alcohol withdrawal, and it includes signs such as:   

  • Tremors or shakiness 
  • Intense headaches 
  • Insomnia  
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Anxiety 
  • Racing heart rate  
  • Seizures  
  • Agitation  
  • Disorientation  

The distressing symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can make it extremely difficult for a person to stop drinking without the help of a professional, and detoxification can be a vital component of care for many people who are battling alcohol addictions. We offer detox services that can help you complete the withdrawal process comfortably in a calm, safe environment.  

What Happens if Alcohol Addiction Symptoms Return?

During your time at Maple Heights Behavioral Health, you can learn how to identify triggers so that you can develop healthy response strategies when difficult situations arise. You can also learn about alcohol addiction relapse prevention and how to move forward if you experience setbacks.  

Experiencing a return of alcohol addiction symptoms does not mean you have failed, but it is something you should address quickly so that you can continue moving forward in a positive direction. If your symptoms return, you can seek help by attending group meetings, reaching out to a loved one for support, or scheduling an appointment to talk to a professional. 

Common Underlying or Co-Occurring Disorders

There are many mental health concerns that can co-occur with an alcohol addiction, which may make it even harder for a person to function in their daily life. If you are experiencing overwhelming symptoms, please reach out to our team. During your initial assessment, we will evaluate your presenting symptoms and recommend appropriate care for any underlying conditions.  

If you can benefit from our services, do not hesitate to contact us today. Alcohol use disorder is a treatable condition, and our compassionate staff can help get you on a path to a brighter, more fulfilling future. 

This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at Maple Heights Behavioral Health.