Alcoholism, which is also called alcohol abuse or alcohol addiction, is not something that occurs right away from drinking. It can be a gradual process that develops over time. Some people are at a higher risk due to genetic and environmental factors.
For example, someone who has parents who are alcoholics can be at a higher risk of alcoholism. A person could equally be at a higher risk for alcoholism if they are exposed to abusive environments at home or where alcohol is readily available.
How Does Alcohol Affect the Body and Mind in the Short Term?
The short-term effects of drinking will vary, depending on the amount of alcohol consumed. In general, consuming more than one alcoholic drink in a one-hour period will increase the effects of alcohol on the body and mind.
Some of the more common effects include:
- Slurred Speech
- Slowed Response Times
- A Feeling of Euphoria
- Lowered Anxiety/Stress
- A Numbed Sensation
- Reduced Inhibitions
- Reduced Critical Thinking
- Poor Coordination
- Elevated Blood Pressure
Some people also experience symptoms of sleepiness where they will eventually pass out. Others can experience nausea and vomiting as well.
Behavioral Signs of Alcoholism
With regular drinking, it is common that the person will consume more and more alcohol to achieve the desired short-term effects. Some of the common behavioral signs of alcoholism can include:
- Craving Alcohol at All Hours
- Feeling a Sense of Shame for Drinking
- Hiding Drinking from Friends and Family
- Experiencing Hallucinations
- Inability to Fall Asleep Naturally
- Participating in Risky Behaviors
- Feeling a Need to Drink to Avoid Withdrawal
- Inability to Stop Drinking Once Starting
- Binge Drinking
Keep in mind that not everyone will experience all these effects right away. Yet, with continued use and increased amounts of alcohol, these effects can develop gradually.
Physical Signs of Alcoholism
There are also several physical signs of alcoholism you need to be aware of that could indicate you have a drinking problem. These include:
- Uncontrolled Vomiting
- Reduced Appetite
- Reduced Libido
- The “Shakes”
- Memory Loss
- Unaccountable Injuries
- Illnesses and Infections from Risky Behaviors
- Increase in Accidents
- Redness in the Face, Cheeks, and Nose
- Stomach Cramps
- Muscle Soreness
- Body Aches and Pains
Continued drinking over a prolonged period can also lead to liver problems, the development of various cancers, and other health concerns like seizures.
Social Signs of Alcoholism
The behavior and physical signs of alcoholism can also lead to social signs. Some of the more common social signs are:
- Engaging regularly in risky behaviors like unsafe sex, sex with multiple partners, drug use, and driving.
- Inability to maintain normal routines like going to work or school.
- A loss of interest in activities one used to enjoy like exercising, playing video games, or taking the dog for a walk.
- Not wanting to spend time with family and friends who have concerns over one’s drinking.
- Hanging out with other people who like to drink while self-isolating from others who try to intervene.
- Becoming abusive toward others.
- Being arrested and charged with driving under the influence or other alcohol-related criminal offenses.
Getting Help with Alcoholism
Simply stopping drinking does not work most of the time. The person can experience severe withdrawal symptoms and will quickly return to drinking to alleviate those symptoms. This is why getting help at an alcohol rehabilitation center is essential.
The detox process can be carefully monitored so that it is successful. Afterward, the individual often needs to undergo outpatient or inpatient customized programs at an alcohol treatment center.
Treatment programs are designed to help the person re-learn how to eat healthfully, exercise, and rebuild damaged relationships. They also teach the person how to identify “triggers” and develop effective coping skills and mechanisms.
Recovery is a life-long process that is accomplished one day at a time. If you are noticing any of these signs of alcoholism, help is available at Adelante Recovery Center. Contact us today at (949) 427-9099 to learn more about our alcohol addiction rehab program and treatment options.